Staff, Young Mothers Program Manager
Gina Josette works with the Young Mother’s program at Roca. She wears a lot of hats as a Program Coordinator, Youth Worker and Educational Development team member. Right now, she spends a good deal of her days putting out fires, helping participants in Roca’s High Risk Young Mothers Program to address situations in their lives that make long term stability difficult for themselves and their children. When she is not firefighting, Gina is constantly coming up with and implementing ideas of how to prevent crisis, how she can help to create programming that mitigate risks for the young women she works with.
Gina said “I want to be the person I wish I had when I was young, I think I saw that graffiti on a wall or something but it is true, I always think about that.” She considers her role at Roca to be someone the participants will know is there for them without judgment. She thinks it’s important to not just be a mentor but to help be a translator to a world a lot of the young women didn’t even know existed before Roca, a translator to a life without violence and poverty, a translator to an education they might not have thought possible before and a translator to a better life.
Originally, Gina got a degree in finance and worked on Wall Street. In her spare time, she would volunteer doing outreach, but her career was very different to the one she has now. She moved a few times and ultimately came to Roca after hearing about it while she lived in Colorado. She moved to Massachusetts and joined the Roca team.
A motivating factor for Gina is working with the large Latina population of young mothers in the program. “Representation is very important to me. I didn’t read a book by any Latina woman until I was in college…. I think you have to see people at times that look like you in positions of power.” She especially desires to empower these young mothers, to break down stereotypes and help them to succeed.
Since coming to Roca, Gina has done tremendous work for the program. When designing programming, Gina brings in the knowledge that her job is to design education and training that make these young mothers feel smart, that adjusts to their specific needs while raising the bar so they can rise with it.
“I want to be the person I wish I had when I was young, I think I saw that graffiti on a wall or something but it is true, I always think about that.”
— Gina Josette