MAMA Program graduates four

Holding its first graduation since it began, MAMA (Mothers in Arizona Moving Ahead Program) celebrated four graduates and one participant on Aug. 14 in Pinetop-Lakeside. In the front from left are adult graduates Rozlyn Kimmel and Samantha Lindsay. In the back row from left are graduates Khelsea Callahan and Kendra Hook, participant Aleah Keno and facilitator Heather Watford.

PINETOP-LAKESIDE — The Mothers in Arizona Moving Ahead Program, more commonly known as MAMA, held its first graduation on Saturday, Aug. 14. Four women completed the program which focuses on “improving health outcomes and financial stability for low-income mothers and their children.

Khelsea Callahan, Kendra Hook, Rozlyn Kimmel and Samantha Lindsay were the first graduates from the 50 hour plus curriculum — “Getting Ahead in a Just Gettin’ By World. Aleah Keno was also a participant in the program.

According to Program Coordinator Molly McGavock, all these young women engaged, collaborated and gave feedback on topics such as the theory of change; hidden rules of economic classes; the importance of language; causes of poverty; and how to make SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time specific) goals for themselves.

Jill Navarro, owner of The Gym in Pinetop, taught a Healthy Vision Workshop for the moms on how to create a healthy lifestyle for themselves and their families.

“The moms in our program worked hard and accomplished a lot in eighteen weeks. Three of our moms are now in housing, three of our moms are currently employed, one received a promotion at work, one got her kids enrolled in a local Head Start Program, and one gained back custody of her kids,” said McGavock.

Not only will the moms continue working on the goals they set in the program, but they will now begin phase two of the program where they will work with a mentor. Phase two is called Circles of Care. A mentor will be assigned to each mom to ensure their success in carrying out those goals.

McGavock stated that the success of the program is largely in part because of community partners who came together over the last eight months and offered their help. She said a special thanks goes out to all those who made the graduation ceremony for the moms and their kids so amazing.

The Church in Pinetop allocated their 2020 Christmas gift contributions to the MAMA Program so they could begin seeking enrollment for the 2021 year. Classes were held at the RE:center.

The MAMA program will be offered again in 2022. They plan to expand the program and offer the curriculum to not one, but two groups. Anyone who would like to be a participant in the program, or a partner or a mentor can email the program at molly@rcaz.us. More information about the program can also be found on their MAMA Program Facebook page.

Reach the reporter at bbruce@wmicentral.com

Barbara Bruce is a reporter for the White Mountain Independent, covering arts and entertainment on the Mountain and the Pinetop-Lakeside town government.

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