Altrichia Cook Wilcox is a wife, mother, bestselling author, motivational speaker, and mentor who founded the organization M.A.M.A. Inc. which stands for Mentoring Agency for Maternal Adolescents. As a nonprofit leader, she prides herself in encouraging young women to focus on their goals before having children, yet she embraces every mother, no matter what stage they are in.
What is the mission and vision of your non-profit organization, M.A.M.A. Inc.?
I have a true passion to inspire not just teen moms, but all those that I meet. I’m just as passionate to empower teen mothers to know, “Even though you dropped the ball, you can pick it up and keep moving.” I’m just as passionate to empower young girls as a teen pregnancy prevention advocate, especially with May being Teen Pregnancy Prevention Awareness Month.
M.A.M.A. Inc. is to help empower young moms but my goal is to also do the same for those that aren’t pregnant. [I want] to prevent them from stepping into this territory to become a statistic, such as myself and other teen mothers like Justin Bieber’s mother, Selena Gomez’s mother, Shaquille O’Neal’s mother, Savannah James, the wife of LeBron James, and even the founder and CEO of Amazon, Jeff Bezos’ mother. Even though we have empowering stories where we defy the odds, it’s very hard as a young mother to move forward and navigate life. Again, my goal and our goal here with M.A.M.A. Inc. is to also empower young girls to wait. It’s great to wait, find a hobby, and hone in on that hobby to become successful. I’m teaching “no babies,” but I’m also teaching and empowering those that have already had a baby.
We can’t change the past, but what we can do is move forward and change the trajectory of our lives by being positive and furthering our education. I believe that I’m one of those people to help people figure it out.
What would you say to a young mother who doesn’t know which direction to take?
I just want to tell her, “At this point before your baby came, you probably selfishly just had yourself to think about, [but] now you have a baby to think about, someone who is depending on you to be successful. You have to decide and choose that because that will be your only option. You have to move forward and get a mentor to help you push through those moments because if it’s not hard yet, it’s going to be hard.
“We’ve all had those moments that are tough, but we need people to help us, we need a village to support and lift us and remind us that we’re capable to achieve success. Baby, listen, if you’re watching this, and you’re a young mother in high school or college, keep going. Keep going so that your 21- or 22-year-old self will thank you for the passion to push for what you did today. Your future self and your baby’s going to be so proud of you, just keep going and don’t you ever give up.”