A TVHC Success Story: How Maria Ibarra-Navarrette went from
Teen Mom to TVHC Dental Supervisor
“You’re thinking, how am I going to do this? What am I going to do after high school? Whatever you’re going through right now, it’s temporary — you’re not alone,” said TVHC Dental Assistant Supervisor Maria Ibarra Navarrette while presenting to a classroom of teen moms at Tennyson High School in Hayward. “I know how it feels.”
Maria grew up as a teen mom — having had her first child at 14 and her second at 16, Maria first was introduced to TVHC services after becoming a client of our Family Support Services (FSS) Teen Parenting Program.
During her time as a student at Crossroads High School in Newark, Maria was connected to a TVHC case manager. Here, she gained access to counseling and educational services, received help graduating from high school, and earned a scholarship from TVHC, which she would use towards her certification in Dental Assisting.
“Everything that she did, it was all Maria,” said Kimberly Beckham, a former TVHC Case Manager who played a pivotal role in Maria’s life. “She was resilient, and everyone has these things within them. TVHC Family Support Services is a great program.”
Having started 13 years ago as a TVHC Dental Assistant while working on her bachelor’s degree from San Jose State University, Maria is now a Dental Assistant Supervisor. Her dedication, passion, and journey make her the true embodiment of TVHC’s values of being resilient, high-performing, and learning-it-all.
During her presentation for the TVHC Teens and Babies Oral Health Presentation at Tennyson High School, Maria shared her own experiences as a teen mom to the room. As someone who has personally gone through the TVHC Teen Parenting Program, the students held on to Maria’s words about TVHC resources and how FSS case managers can help lead them to new horizons after graduation.
“I’m happy to be here,” said Maria. “Working at TVHC has been a humbling experience. We’re the last stop for patients. Knowing that we can help and be a part of that makes me proud and reflects a lot of who I am today.”
As a Dental Assistant Supervisor, Maria takes pride in her role. She’s passionate about supporting and advocating for her team and being a part of the bigger picture of TVHC increasing access to care in the community. In her role, Maria trains Dental Assistants, assists and oversees the setting up of procedures, team evaluations, and the training of Dental students from Chabot College.
Maria hopes that with her presentation, the students will leave the event knowing that TVHC can help them navigate their way through and after high school.
She says that by being in the room and sharing her own experience with teen moms, she hopes their takeaway is, “whatever you’re dealing with, there are resources to help you — it’s normal to feel isolated. But there are resources available to help you on your journey.”
Maria credits a lot of her journey to her former FSS Case Manager, Kimberly Beckham — who helped Maria plan a different future. Her time as a client of TVHC became a turning point in Maria’s life by showing her a path toward education that blossomed into her career with TVHC today.
“Typically, teen moms don’t talk to us about college or going to a 4-year institution. It’s always about how to make ends meet,” said Maria. “But I am here to let them see it’s never too late for someone to go for what they want.”