Voices of the Movement: Ilene Garcia

You know the story. A teen mom drops out of high school. Gives in to depression. Gives up on life.

Thanks to Youth Policy Institute (YPI), that’s not my story.

When I held my son for the first time, I felt pride, joy, but most of all terror. I was raised by a single mom struggling to make ends meet, so I knew: It doesn’t matter how hard you work, how long you study, or how much you love your child. The next day, you may be in the streets.

Like you, I wanted the best future for my child, but I needed a little help. That’s when I found YPI. They showed me the tools I needed to go to college, find a job, and fight for a better life. Now, there’s one thing that keeps me moving no matter how many days I go without sleep: hope.

You can help the next teen mom find hope, too. It’s simple. Share my video and encourage your friends and family to join the movement to end child poverty in California. The End Child Poverty in California campaign is working with organizations like YPI to help young moms and children in poverty across our state change their story.

We can pass hope on one person at a time—and let the world know that together, we’ll end child poverty in California.


Ilene Garcia
Working mom and UCLA student