story by Tamera Trimuel
illustration by Vy Nguyen
Gabrielle Caverl-McNeal became a mom at the age young age of seventeen, and then again at twenty one. It was not easy being a young mom for Gaby, yet she is beyond grateful for her experience. Being a young mom of two children allows Gaby to know first hand the struggles that the women she aids go through. Her experience with being a young mom allows her to be more passionate about the work she does.
Gaby began her career with women at the age of thirty, working at the YWCA as an economic empowerment coach. As the empowerment coach for women, she was responsible for teaching women about financial literacy. Not only did she teach women about finance, she also was a counselor for women who had been domestically abused, while providing career coaching. In this position, Gaby really learned what it meant to be involved in a workforce program. Her mission is to provide women with the utmost respect and care they need for not only themselves, but their children also.
Gaby now leads a Workforce Development Team with New Moms, a social service agency on the west side of Chicago that provides housing, job training, and family support. She has over a decade of experience operating in career coaching, job development, and training roles. In 1983, Ellen Kogstad Thomas founded New Moms, noticing a consistent issue within her neighborhood: teen moms never had anyone to call, and they had no way of paying for the needs of their children. Because of this, she began distributing diapers and formulas to young moms out of the trunk of her car. Thanks to Ellen, women now have the option of transitional living for their family in the city of Chicago.
With New Moms celebrating their thirty-fifth year of providing transitional living for women and children, Gaby plans on continuing to better this establishment. Her and her team plan on incorporating a two generational learning approach that benefits the women and their children also. This approach will allow the children to receive knowledge that they could apply to their future. It allows the women and children to grow, preparing them for a brighter and better tomorrow.
Gaby has hosted and developed state-of-the-art trainings that deal with leadership, career readiness, women’s economic empowerment, and career advancement that have streamed throughout the Chicagoland, Great Lakes, and New England regions of the country.
Gaby continues to a be a thriving individual working and caring for the needs of women. She might not always see the product of her work, but she knows she has laid and will continue to lay the foundation for many young women to provide a better lifestyle for their family.