The following is by Tiffany Jones, a Getting Ahead graduate from Pima County, Arizona.

In 2018 I was presented with the opportunity to attend a community health certification course coordinated by the MAMA (Mothers in Arizona Moving Ahead) project.

I reluctantly agreed to attend the course, which turned out to be one of the best decisions I’ve made. The course was accelerated, which meant lots of reading and writing, but I loved every bit of it.

The course helped me open my eyes to how in need our community was of knowledgeable primadonas. I realized I was provided with all the tools I needed to advocate for my community. Essentially, this course helped me find my voice.

In 2019, after personal and public adversities, I earned my certificate as a community health worker.

That same year I was offered a job with for the Pima County Health Department. I jumped at this opportunity, and I have continued to grow and excel.

Currently, I am a program support specialist for Pima County One-Stop, and I love what I do.

Four of my six children are now students in high school, and the two oldest are in college studying business and biochemistry.

I will forever be grateful to everyone involved in the Getting Ahead efforts, as well as everyone working with the moms’ group. And a special thanks to Vera, Flor, Cheryl, Janice, and Bonnie for always believing in me and keeping me encouraged and uplifted.

The MAMA (Mothers in Arizona Moving Ahead) project is a collaboration between Community & Workforce Development and the Pima County Health Department to address the health and financial concerns of mothers in poverty.

The aha! Process Getting Ahead program engages investigators (participants) in exploring the realities of poverty in their communities and how those realities impact them. They also explore the causes of poverty, the “hidden rules” of economic class, and ways to develop resources and build stable lives. Getting Ahead graduates build relationships across class lines and often join the decision-making tables in their communities.