Meet Jocelyn, a first year Chicas participant, as we take a peak at this week's Chicas topic: Nutrition!

The bell rang to signal the end of another school day and the hallways filled with backpacked kids quickly making their way out of the building. But for a group of young Latina girls, this bell signals the start of something exciting -- their weekly Chicas session.

The girls anxiously run to their seats while Araceli, their Chicas Youth Facilitator, takes attendance. Araceli has been working in the Chicas Program for the past five months. “They are so willing to learn new things, experience new places, and share their culture,” says Araceli.

Araceli Mendez, A Chicas Facilitator, begins the session.

Araceli Mendez, A Chicas Facilitator, begins the session.

The Chicas Youth Development Program has been a part of Adelante Mujeres since 2008, beginning at three school sites. The program has now grown to twenty school sites, serving over five hundred girls.


Today, the Adelante staff has whipped up a tasty session: Nutrition. Araceli is joined by Mayra and Kaely, who run Adelante’s Nourish the Community Program. Mayra starts the session off by passing a stuffed carrot around the room having each girl share their name and their favorite fruit or vegetable.

Mayra Hernandez (left), Sustainable Agriculture & Nutrition Coordinator, and Kaely Summers (right), Forest Grove Farmers Market Manager, begin their nutirion session with the Chicas.

Mayra Hernandez (left), Sustainable Agriculture & Nutrition Coordinator, and Kaely Summers (right), Forest Grove Farmers Market Manager, begin their nutirion session with the Chicas.

Kaely explains, “The Nourish the Community Initiative through Adelante Mujeres started in 2012 as a response to growing diet-related health concerns, the diabetes and obesity epidemic that we were not only hearing about on the national news, but also observing with families in our Adelante community.”

Because Latinos are disproportionately impacted by this problem, and our staff consistently heard parents saying, “my child won’t eat veggies,” Nourish the Community merged with Chicas to provide fun, interactive nutrition classes.


“When Mayra and I come into the Early Childhood Education classrooms with a potted beet and show the children how beets grow, they get to touch the leaves, put their hands in the dirt, and paint with beet juice. Then they are more willing to also taste the beets and beet greens and they like them,” Kaely says.


Mayra holds up a bunch of fresh kale while talking to the girls about its nutritional benefits. When reflecting on her own experience growing up, she says, "I think the support of Chicas would have provided me with the opportunity to know how to care for myself and live a healthy, safe and secure life as a strong Latina woman."


The girls break off into smaller groups and rotate different activities like fruit and vegetable bingo and making their own smoothies using kale, apples, bananas, and almond milk. The classroom is filled with energy and laughter as the girls chop up their fresh produce. Excited to try their own concoctions, the girls decide to cheers first. They each sip their smoothies and, with some surprise, exclaim “It’s good!”.


The Chicas Program provides holistic support to low-income Latina girls. In addition to nutrition, Chicas facilitators cover a vast array of topics to ensure the girls gain knowledge and confidence in every aspect of their lives. So far this school year, Araceli and the girls have covered topics such as cultural and self-identity, cultural and personal values, communication in healthy relationships, conflict resolution, and goal-setting.


Jocelyn, a bright-eyed fifth grader with a vibrant smile glued to her face says this is the first year Chicas was offered in her school, and so far she loves it. She says that she has struggled with making friends in school, but all that has changed since starting Chicas.

Jocelyn, a fifth grader, is a first-year Chicas particicpant.

Jocelyn, a fifth grader, is a first-year Chicas particicpant.

Araceli explains that in the beginning Jocelyn sometimes lacked self-awareness about the effect her actions might have on others. But as time passed, she became more compassionate and considerate of how others might feel. Jocelyn says the most important thing she has learned through Chicas so far is that friends have to be respectful and fair. Now, she says she has lots of great friends that she met through Chicas.


At the end of the session, Araceli rounds up the girls and guides them out of the classroom. “I would’ve loved to have had a group of girls my age I could talk to about being Latina and know that they understood me", says Araceli. "I never truly appreciated my cultural background until I left for college. With a program like Chicas, I think I would’ve been more proud of my story and embraced the struggles it took for me to get to college”.


Araceli continued, “Chicas is a vital part of the community because the girls meet other Latinas with similar backgrounds and obstacles, and they bond with mentors that look like them and speak like they do. I can’t think of a more powerful way to give these girls a voice and teach them solidarity at the same time.”


As the last school buses pull up to shuttle the Chicas home, Jocelyn and her group of friends rush up and ask, “Can you take one more picture of us?” and they all pile in around Jocelyn for one giant hug. A lack of friends seems to be a thing of the past for these Chicas.




Top 10 Reasons 2017 Rocked for Adelante Mujeres

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Because of supporters like you, there have been too many accomplishments and success stories to count this year. But we've boiled down our biggest and most exciting moments of 2017 for you.




The Chicas Program began its 10th year by implementing their services at 20 school sites serving more than 500 girls (Chicas began in 2008 at 3 school sites). This year, 100% of seniors in the program graduated high school and enrolled in college!



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Empresas completed its "Cocinemos" Food Business Course, a pilot project, with the support of the City of Hillsboro. This 11-week course, providing training for entrepreneurs in the food industry, will continue for another year because of the success of the pilot program!




100% of children in our Preschool classes demonstrated kindergarten readiness per the Phonologoical Awareness Assessment Literacy Screening.  




Because of your amazing support, we moved into our new home on Main Street in Forest Grove. Best of all, we are HALF-WAY to our $3 million goal for our Capital Campaign! Thanks to you we are one giant step closer to starting renovations on our new building. Our plans include new classrooms, a Chicas makerspace, a commercial kitchen and more!



Our Forest Grove Farmers Market and CSA had the best year to date -- over 4 thousand farmers market visitors and 200 CSA members -- providing more locally-grown produce from Latino farmers to our communities than ever before.




100% of our ESPERE (the School of Forgiveness and Reconciliation) participants showed positive behavior changes.




Together we marched for issues that matter to us and made our voices heard!



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This year's Fiesta of Hope and Dia de los Muertos events were more vibrant and successful than ever before!




We spoke at conferences across the country on topics such as Latino small business development, sustainable agriculture, and our Produce RX program.



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YOU. Because everything that Adelante has accomplished this year, wouldn't have been possible without your generous donations and volunteer hours. Thank you! ¡Gracias!

Jaime Finds Peace at ESPERE

Jaime moved to the U.S. from Mexico fifteen years ago, and for those fifteen years he has lived with his long-time partner, who is now his wife. They now have a four-year-old daughter together. Like most relationships of ten years or more, things haven't been easy for Jaime and his wife. Conversations escalated into fighting and yelling, making life at home increasingly unpleasant for the whole family. Jaime explains that in Mexico it's not common for men to say "I'm sorry," so those weren't words that often succeeded an argument in their home.


Jaime and his wife both agreed that they would try every avenue possible before separating or divorcing, and that's when they heard about our ESPERE workshop and decided to enroll together.

ESPERE, the Schools of Forgiveness and Reconciliation (Escuelas de Perdón y Reconciliación), is a workshop where participants learn how to manage conflict and process trauma, and learn the power of forgiveness. The ESPERE workshop is an integral component of Adelante's Adult Education program.


Gina Bell, ESPERE Manager, co-facilitates the weekly sessions along with Norma Hernandez. "I am constantly inspired by the grit and determination of the ESPERE participants," explains Gina. "Those who are willing to show up, weighed down by trauma and fear, sadness and hurt; they arrive hopeful and willing to go deep, work hard, and turn inward." Whether someone has suffered severe trauma or they just want to improve their emotional intelligence, ESPERE is for everyone.


Jaime didn't buy into ESPERE right away. He was the only man in the class, as not many husbands attend this workshop. "It's intimidating being in a room with all women." He honestly explains, "I came to the first two classes mad. I was the only man, why do I have to go? Second week, here again, what time is it?" But he stuck with it.

As the eight-week workshop progressed, Jaime and the other participants learned communication skills, told their personal stories in small trust groups, and did a lot of listening to each other. Jaime explains, "I learned many things from the women in the class. Something that really stuck with me was listening to my partners in my trust group when we exchanged experiences. Every woman tells her experience and that made me feel something special because I've never listened to stories like that in my life. Everyone has lived something different and I learn from everybody."

Norma Hernandez, ESPERE co-facilitator, checks in with everyone as they break off into trust groups.

Norma Hernandez, ESPERE co-facilitator, checks in with everyone as they break off into trust groups.

Jaime says in the third week he started thinking that this workshop wasn't too bad. "Today is the last class, and now I feel like I'm going to miss everyone." He and his wife have decided to stay together. He says that now when they start to fight, they relax and remember "ESPERE," and he immediately feels more at peace. "We think about the class and the teachers and we stop. Now we have something that supports us." Jaime now hopes that more husbands will think about attending the workshop as well.


It's graduation day in the ESPERE classroom and the space is filled with laughter and tears. The participants break off into their small trust groups for the last time, sharing tearful stories and long, embracing hugs. At the end of the class, one by one, the participants come to the front to receive their certificates of completion from Gina, followed by a celebratory meal of tamales, beans, coffee, and cake.


Jaime takes a few more photos of himself and the other participants to remember the special day. "It changed my life and all of the people that live around family, my community, everybody. It's important that everyone knows that ESPERE exists. I feel good now because I practice this in my life and try to be a better person. And when you look at the result, well, it's good. Because you did something positive for your life. The expectation is to make a better world."

Feed the soil, and the soil will feed the plant.


Álvaro has been farming since he was a child in Mexico. For as long as he can remember, growing vegetables has been his true passion. He and his wife, Edna, immigrated to the U.S. over 20 years ago in search of a better life and more opportunities. They now own a small, sustainable farming operation on land that they lease in Beaverton, Oregon. Álvaro grows a beautiful array of vibrant, organic vegetables. He's especially known for his beets, carrots, cilantro, lettuce, and bell peppers.

When they first began successfully growing produce, they gave away all of their harvests to local churches. Although bringing in extra money for his family would be helpful, Álvaro began this venture simply because he loves doing it. But when they got the opportunity to sell their produce through our CSA and Distributor program, they realized that farming could not only be an enjoyable experience, but it could help support their family.

On Mondays, Álvaro and Edna carry large tubs of their freshly harvested produce into our CSA space. Álvaro gently sets down a few buckets of lush basil and a mouth-watering aroma fills the entire room. Edna peeks into the first tub to find perfect stalks of crispy kale. From here, the fresh herbs and vegetables will be distributed across Portland and Washington County communities. Some of the produce ends up in schools, restaurants, or small food businesses, while others get delivered to the doorsteps of our individual CSA members. It doesn't get more local than that.


Liliana Morgan, our Distributor Sales and Marketing Coordinator, starts weighing vibrantly green tomatillos and plump lemon cucumbers. By connecting with local restaurants, schools, and CSA members in our community, Liliana ensures food grown by Latino-owned, sustainable farms gets out into the community.


Liliana explains why she loves working at Adelante. "I love seeing how proud our participants are to be providing healthy food to members of the community, especially knowing that we focus on reaching low-income clients. For many of the farmers we work with, growing food and working with plants is not only a means of supporting themselves financially, but a healing practice through which they find great joy."


Álvaro didn't always know the intricacies of sustainable agriculture, which can be complex and sometimes overwhelming when starting out. He knew he wanted to grow pesticide-free produce, but since the farming techniques he learned in Mexico involved using chemical treatments, he was struggling to keep pests off of his plants without using pesticides.

Then he heard about our Sustainable Agriculture class and he immediately signed up. Since Álvaro only speaks limited English, he says having the class be conducted in Spanish was a tremendous help.


Alejandro Tecum runs our Sustainable Agriculture program where he teaches a 14-week class to local Latinos who aspire to own a sustainable farming business, or who would just like to start a vegetable garden in their back yard. In the class, he covers everything from how to maintain proper soil to how to market their final product. Alejandro explains, "In Sustainable Agriculture, soil is the most important component in the food production. Our motto is "feed the soil, the soil feeds the plant."


"Sustainable Agriculture is important because through it we teach and show people how to grow healthy, delicious, and fresh vegetables. So while they are providing food for their families and high quality produce for their customers (if they have a farm business), they are also taking care of the environment." says Alejandro.


Instead of using chemicals to keep pests away, Álvaro now plants flowers nearby that deter the pesky insects. Although his operation is small, he has his sights set on someday saving up enough money to buy his own farmland and turning his passion of sustainable farming into a full-time career.

The education Álvaro received in our Sustainable Farming class enabled him to take his love of gardening and turn that into the ability to help feed his own community, as well as support his family, all while using farming techniques that are kind to the earth. Much like taking the time to cultivate nutrient-rich soil in a garden, education will always be an invaluable investment in the future for budding entrepreneurs like Álvaro.

Meet Yanet and See How Produce RX Changed Her Life

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For many Latina women and their families, Produce RX, a program we offer in partnership with Virginia Garcia, is changing what they eat and the way they think about food. For Yanet (pictured below), this couldn't be more true. When Yanet's daughter passed away, she dealt with her grief by turning to unhealthy food. During this difficult time in her life, her weight went up to over 200 pounds. Instead of cooking healthy meals at home, her family ate takeout food about two to three times a week. Emotional eating had taken over Yanet's life. So when she heard about our Produce RX program, she jumped at the opportunity to get her family's health back on track.

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Latinos are disproportionately at risk for diet related diseases such as diabetes and obesity, and Produce RX is working to change that. Through cooking classes and vouchers for fresh produce at our Farmers Market, Produce RX is making healthy diets more accessible to low-income Latino communities in Oregon.

Like many Latina women, Yanet was worried that her family wouldn't be interested in eating a diet heavy in vegetables, and she wasn't sure how to cook them. But since taking the Produce RX cooking classes, she has gained the confidence to cook a healthy, balanced diet. And her husband and three daughters are excited about it as well. Her husband now brings mixed vegetables to work for lunch instead of fried meat. 

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Since Yanet's family lives on her husband's income, she says money can be tight. The vouchers for produce at our Farmers Market gives her the ability to buy local, organic produce. Now, her whole family enjoys trips to the weekly market. She says her family feels better now and they have more energy. They even have fewer trips to the doctor since they don't get sick as often. Yanet says she now has the tools necessary to battle emotional eating and keep her whole family's diet as healthy as possible. 

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119 individuals and 21 families have benefitted from the Produce RX program. Our qualitative research shows that the program has greatly reduced health care spending for participants. Thanks to supporters like you, programs like Produce RX are changing lives.

For Yolanda, School Wasn't Always Easy (VIDEO)

When Yolanda was a young girl, her first language was Spanish. So when she entered Kindergarten and everyone spoke English, everything from learning to making friends was a struggle. But she was determined to do well in school so that she can make a difference in the world. She dreamed of doing big things with her life, including having a professional career, so she couldn't let her obstacles stop her. Watch our newest video to see Yolanda's amazing journey. 

Click here to support our life-changing Chicas Youth Development program. 

Feeding families & strengthening bonds with our Adelante Mujeres CSA

Feeding families & strengthening bonds with our Adelante Mujeres CSA

For Brian and Harper, CSA membership was so much more than just the food. 

When Brian found himself temporarily unemployed, he worried about how to provide healthy food for his 4-year-old daughter, Harper, on a limited budget.

Then he saw an advertisement for our Adelante Mujeres Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program. Our CSA allows community members to buy fruits and vegetables directly from local farmers by paying in advance to receive a weekly share of produce throughout the growing season.

Although he had tried CSA once before, he did not think he would able to afford it this year. 

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Ocean sound engineer inspires Chicas at OMSI's Designing Our World

Ocean sound engineer inspires Chicas at OMSI's Designing Our World

Written by Raquel Stewart, OMSI

One of the most important part of our Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) Designing Our World program is giving the young girls we interact with a chance to meet female role models who can have a positive impact, no matter how big or how small, in their lives.

Throughout our program, we have invited women in the field of engineering to share their stories and help guide the Chicas students through various engaging engineering activities.

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Building a business, building confidence

Building a business, building confidence

Growing up, Angelica dreamed of following in her father's footsteps to become an entrepreneur. 

But when her husband Salud began to develop a chorizo business, she was content to simply support him from the sidelines. After all, in her culture, women are taught to be humble.

Read Angelica's inspiring story to see how she found the strength to rise up as a leader in her family business and make a donation to empower more women like her to reach for their dreams.

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OMSI’s Designing Our World opens doors to engineering for Chicas students

OMSI’s Designing Our World opens doors to engineering for Chicas students

Written by Raquel Stewart, OMSI

Designing Our World (DOW for short) began as a way to bridge the gap between young girls and engineering. It was a project funded by the National Science Foundation and born out of the need for more female engineers in our world; a project that sought to make this line of work one that felt more attainable and relatable to girls who will soon face the beginning of many career-related life decisions.

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We can't do this alone!

We can't do this alone!

On January 9th, our staff, participants, and other community members packed City Hall and stood in solidarity to urge the Forest Grove City Council to designate Forest Grove a Sanctuary City.

Despite our strong advocacy efforts and overwhelming community support, the Forest Grove City Council turned down the Sanctuary City Resolution drafted by Mayor Truax with a 3-3 vote.

This means that we need your help now more than ever.

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We made our voices heard! But we can do more!

We made our voices heard! But we can do more!

Thank you to all who joined us as we stood up for the rights of immigrants, Latinos, and women to be treated as equals in our community! 

Seeing so many allies gathered together peacefully gave us hope for the future!

The march was a great success, and it sent a message to the nation that we will not stand for hatred and injustice against women, immigrants, minorities, or any other marginalized community. 

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