BOSTON - Nov. 11, 2009 - In her parenting blog on FamilyEducation, Talia Rivera has for the past year shared her unique perspectives on parenting, describing her gritty, real-life experiences as a reformed drug dealer, teenage mother, street worker and urban youth pastor. Now the Boston native has been honored for her outstanding contributions to advancing the well being of girls with the Germaine Lawrence Women of Excellence 2009 "Rising Star" award. Germaine Lawrence is a residential treatment center in New England for troubled adolescent girls.
Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley presented Rivera with the award on Nov. 5 at a special breakfast in Boston. The honor recognizes her work as network coordinator for the Black Ministerial Alliance and co-founder and executive director of Villages Without Walls. Rivera, who has worked with young people for the past 10 years, is considered an expert on youth violence, gang interventions and street work in Boston. She is a community organizer, mobilizing neighborhood and faith-based organizations around issues affecting youth and urban neighborhoods, and coordinates a network of more than 120 agencies to strengthen the system of services for high-risk youth.
As reflected in her FamilyEducation blog, Rivera's path to this honor was a difficult one. The 33-year-old mother of a teenage daughter and an eight-year-old son was raised by a crack-addicted mother, became a teenage parent herself and served time in prison before she changed her life to become a better mother to her daughter and a role model in the Boston community.
Rivera's blog is very different from others featured on FamilyEducation. Most bloggers discuss traditional parenting topics such as crafts and activities, recipes and the challenges of juggling family life, but Rivera delves into topics ranging from gang violence and religion to addiction and poverty.
"Talia Rivera is, without question, a rising star in our community and, as a blogger, around the country and the world," said Jess M. Brallier, publisher, Family Education Network. "It is inspiring to witness Talia as she refuses to allow her past to compromise her present and as she struggles with the tension between being ?of the streets' and having moved ?beyond the streets.' Having arrived without a proper role model, it can be both charming and exhausting to watch her invent, for the first time, mothering and marriage."
He continued, "Yet, I think she knows more about and thinks more about motherhood than any other blogger I've read, and she has the gift of voice. Her perspective, her struggles, her triumphs and her failures are all heard in her blog. There is no better place for her journey to be shared than on the parenting blogs of FamilyEducation."
Recent posts on Rivera's FamilyEducation blog explore her childhood with a crackhead mother and absent father, and how that has shaped the woman she is today. She reflects on the fact that her 15-year-old daughter was class valedictorian at a Boston charter school and currently looking at Ivy League colleges, and talks frankly about how that makes her both proud and jealous at the same time.
FamilyEducation is the leading online publisher of practical parenting guidance, expert family advice, printables, skill-building exercises and activities for children. FamilyEducation.com is dedicated to educating parents and parents-to-be so they can raise healthy, educated and well-rounded children.
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