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Forest Grove nonprofit celebrates program space expansion, finishing up this July.

PMG PHOTO: OLIVIA SINGER - The local nonprofit was granted money to continue efforts supporting underprivileged youth, specifically through its after-school program for girls.Adelante Mujeres, the Forest Grove-based nonprofit known for making a difference in Washington County, is celebrating this upcoming summer with its extended programming space, set to be completed in July in the heart of downtown on Main Street.

Out of the $3 million it aims to raise for its capital campaign to fund the renovation, the group has reached $2.5 million and is still actively looking for donors.

Adelante Mujeres aims to empower Latina women and children in Washington County. When it began in 2002, it served 12 women and their young ones. Seventeen years later, the organization offers 12 individual programs across the county and serves about 8,000 participants, expanding its reach significantly since its early days.

Hence the need for more space, which means the group can continue to serve a growing number of women and children with more early childhood education classrooms, a playground, two adult education spaces, a commercial kitchen, a community room and a makerspace for the Chicas Youth Development program, among others, said the organization's marketing director, Anna Yeager.

COURTESY PHOTO: ADELANTE MUJERES - Adelante Mujeres holds countless programs for women and children in Washington County, and its offerings keep growing. Local companies like First Tech Credit Union have chipped in, earning the naming rights to the Chicas Makerspace, according to Adelante Mujeres' website.

"The construction is in the final stages, and we are planning to move back into the building in August, which is really exciting," she said.

To ring in the next chapter for Adelante Mujeres, the nonprofit will hold its annual gala, "Fiesta of Hope," celebrating with live music. This year's event is sold out, but the community can anticipate getting a sneak peek of the additions when Adelante Mujeres hosts an open house later this summer after settling back in, Yeager said.

"That would be a great opportunity for people to check out what has been created," she said. "We still need to fundraise to make sure we cover all the costs, so if people want to get involved by either naming a room or being a part of the donor wall, we are still looking for that."

The group is responsible for programs like the adult education program, which gives low-income women the opportunity to complete their secondary education by attending classes five days a week.

The team is excited for what is to come. Until now, many Adelante Mujeres programs have been held off-site around the county, Yeager said.

"We've been waiting a long time for this," she said. "We think this will have a good energy to have community members in the space where we are working."

It's been a big year for Adelante Mujeres so far. Yeager's short film, "Why I Fight," showcased four young Latina women, each a member of the nonprofit's Chicas Youth FILE PHOTO - Adelante Mujeres first began in 2002 with 12 people using its resources, and now serves over 8,000 people in Washington County.Development program, sharing their stories of immigration. It showed at several film festivals around the country this year, including Coachella, Calif., and New York City, a feat Yeager said received a major positive response.

"We had great feedback from it," she said. "We were screened alongside another film that was nominated for an Oscar this year and that was a cool experience to have."

The group also won a national award earlier this year from The Atlantic news magazine and was one of five recipients — out of 9,000 applicants — to win the Renewal Award from Allstate Insurance. Alongside the award was a $20,000 grant, which went on to help fund Adelante Mujeres programming.

This summer

As the weather warms up, the Chicas Youth Development program connects with local PMG PHOTO: OLIVIA SINGER - STEM classes through summer camps by Adelante Mujeres encourage young female students to learn more about possible fields of study for their future. girls for its annual summer camps in July.

This year, students have opportunities such as visiting the Tillamook Forest Center to look forward to, said the youth camp's project coordinator, Carina Quintanilla. She is always looking for new things for the girls to try to keep the camps fresh year after year, she said.

One of the weeks is focused on STEM to introduce young women and girls, particularly from minority backgrounds, to careers that involve science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

"We want Latina girls to gain awareness and increase interest in those fields, and want them to feel like they belong in STEM, and that they can do it," Quintanilla said. "We try to get community members to teach workshops that are women and people of color to be more inspired by them, and so the girls can picture them being in a position like that later on in life."

To learn more about enrolling the summer camps or how to contribute to Adelante Mujeres, visit adelantemujeres.org.



By Janae Easlon
Features Editor
Forest Grove News-Times and Hillsboro Tribune
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