About the Founder
Ms. Coles is the Founder and Executive Director of the Alex House Project in Red Hook, Brooklyn. Currently functioning in a volunteer capacity. In 2006, while employed by a local neighborhood based non-profit, Red Hook resident, Samora Coles was asked to identify a need in her neighborhood and build a program for it.
Having been a young mother herself, Ms. Coles easily recognized that many of the young mothers around the local housing projects had little guidance and support. Ms. Coles felt a desire to provide these young moms with support, knowledge, and skills. In February 2013, Coles’ vision became a reality. The Alex House Project launched as its own nonprofit to provide support for young mothers in the Red Hook Houses and surrounding communities.
Under her leadership this grassroots organization has transformed young mothers and their children by developing structured programs that specifically deal with creating a new self perception and a new atmosphere for re-parenting. Though this holistic approach young mothers create and disseminate and are leaders of the programs. In early 2015, young dads in the Red Hook community approached Ms. Coles seeking nurturing and guidance. The request for her to assist young dads was something never thought about until that day.
Summer of 2015
Ms. Coles surveyed young fathers in Red Hook to find out what is the need for them. The response was unanimous. Because most young dads do not live with their children, most are given weekend and holiday visit, the concern of having quality time with their children is crucial. With that in mind, Ms Coles quickly developed a young dad component in which dads are provided “no heat” cooking workshops so that they can teach and eat healthy with their children during their weekend/holiday visit. Ms. Coles dedication and commitment to young families is astounding.
Ms. Coles has over 12 years of direct youth work experience and has worked in the area of women’s health for the last 10 years. Formerly, the Reproductive Health Coordinator at the Red Hook Initiative, teaching young girls and women reproductive health as well as training young girls how to teach reproductive health to their peers. Ms. Coles also spent time working at Harlem Children’s Zone developing educational materials and related curriculum tools and resources on reproductive health, staff development and training as well as supportive reproductive health counseling to adolescents.
Ms. Coles worked at Women’s Prison Association as the Upstate Manager at BedFord Hills Correctional Center; providing young women in prison transitional services and reproductive health education. 2011, Ms. Coles presented at the Rise for Social Change in which she spoke on issues for young mothers to ACS workers, Social Workers, and others who support young mothers. 2010, Ms Coles provided NARAL commentary to the topic of reproductive health care and New York Women’s Foundation Critical Intersections Reproductive and Economic Justice Conference. Ms. Coles was awarded a community dedication award for passionately supporting the health and well-being of young mothers, youth and families. Ms. Coles is a current member of We Are All Brooklyn, a former member of the Community Advisory Board at Planned Parenthood, Community Board Six, and Addabo Health Centers