“COFI is a door opening… When you step in the door, you don’t want to come back out.”

Rosalva Nava is the mother of four children and a genuine leader in POWER-PAC’s work to create justice for low-income families and communities.  She has traveled to D.C. to testify on the power of restorative justice in the schools and helped pass legislation that allow low-income families to save money for their children’s college and future without the risk of losing public benefits.

However, Rosalva didn’t always believe that she had the power to make change. 15 years ago, hopeless and frightened as a victim of brutal domestic violence, she was moments away from taking her own life.  Her young daughter walked in on her, and asked, “Whatcha doing, Mami?”  In that moment, Rosalva was reminded that she had something – someone – to live for.  That very day, she saw a flyer her daughter had brought home from school about a parent leadership training course, and she decided to attend.

At the training, sponsored by a COFI-partner organization in her area, Rosalva shared her story and connected with a team of other women – some who had been in her very same shoes.  She started to see how her life could have real meaning.  She could make a difference for her children and family and for other children and families. She began to see herself as so much more than just a survivor.

Now, Rosalva organizes other parents and is a peer trainer in COFI’s leadership development program.  She serves as a Parent Peacemaker, leading circles where youth can express how they feel, and she is working to bring Children’s Savings Accounts to Illinois.

In 2014, she was a Chicago Foundation for Women keynote speaker and was named a Cesar Chavez Day hero.


Support the work of Rosalva and other parents leading change today.