Adelante Mujeres: From Farmer’s Market Food Booth to Force Social Change

One of the biggest barriers all women face in entering and staying in the job market was, is, and will continue to be access to affordable childcare. How do you attend school to earn a GED or college degree without it? Adult Ed classes, job training, and participating in the work force all depend on safe, accessible, affordable childcare. Enter Adelante Mujeres.

It is difficult to capture the spirit of the word Adelante.
It means move forward, go ahead, rise up and flourish.
Mujeres means women.

One of the biggest barriers all women face in entering and staying in the job market was, is, and will continue to be access to affordable childcare. How do you attend school to earn a GED or college degree without it? Adult Ed classes, job training, and participating in the work force all depend on safe, accessible, affordable childcare. Enter Adelante Mujeres.

If you’ve ever been to the Forest Grove or Cornelius Farmer’s Market and grabbed a plate of delicious homemade pupusas, you’ve probably come across the women of Adelante Mujeres. The food stall / business development program is just one piece of this thriving organization that serves over 9,000 Latinas and their families today.

Adelante Mujeres began in 2002 thanks to Bridget Cooke and Sister Barbara Raymond, two remarkable ESL teachers who saw a pattern among their Latina students: they were struggling to attend class due to their lack of access to affordable childcare. With a group of volunteers, the women began providing free childcare for every class and program offered. As they worked more closely with their students, they also began to understand more about the institutional challenges particular to Latinas such as language and cultural barriers, and generations of poverty, racism, sexism, and isolation. With this more holistic understanding, the now non-profit started building more opportunities for women’s empowerment and education. Adelante Mujeres began to flourish. And so did the women they served.

Today Adelante Mujeres is dedicated to building a more just society by empowering Latinas to lead. The program offers several programs and classes ranging from Adult Education to Early Child Development to business, leadership development, political activism and public speaking. The CHICAS Youth Development Program is a highly successful after-school program for girls in grades 3-12 offering everything from group counseling to college and career resources and support. In other words, Adelante Mujeres is a thriving force for community good in Oregon.

COVID-19 has affected certain aspects of service and delivery: less time for the community garden, more Zoom classes and meetings. And while Farmer’s Markets have been happening with strict social distancing, masks and other public health measures in place, they’ve also stepped up direct services such as food vouchers for free produce and home delivery of food boxes with added meat, eggs and produce.

The 2020 Burger Breaks campaign started with feeding essential workers and evolved to giving back to organizations that are supporting people on the front lines: the people who grow our food, run small businesses, and keep our communities strong and resilient. Burgerville is proud to support the work of Adelante Mujeres as they continue to empower Latinas of all ages in our community. Special thanks to Corporate Engagement Officer Melissa Erickson for taking the time to speak with us!

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