Ailen (Nani) Arreaza
North Carolina Program Director and Chief Question Writer
I am mami to two handsome and rambunctious boys. When I was pregnant with my first, I read everything I could get my hands on about birthing and raising a child. I was disheartened to find that the U.S. lags behind the rest of the world when it comes to issues like parental leave and childcare. I believe in ParentsTogether because I know that parents can be an unstoppable force for change. Together we can raise the standard of support for all families and children in our country.
I have ten years of experience in City Government, where I worked to promote and enforce equal opportunity in some of Charlotte’s most marginalized communities. I am also a regular contributor to Creative Loafing Charlotte, where I often write about issues affecting parents and families. I am originally from Cuba and speak Spanish at home.
Co-Founder & Chief Innovation Officer
One of the best things I did as a new parent was to join a local group of moms who have kids the same age as mine. Four years later, these eight amazing women have been my on-call support system, my go-to resource guide, and my confidantes. Turns out – being part of a supportive community makes the parenting load a whole lot lighter.
I believe in ParentsTogether because I know there are so many ways we can support one another through the joyful highs and occasional lows of raising our children, and I’m committed to helping strengthen communities of parents around the country.
I’ve worked as a social entrepreneur for 15 years, after starting my career as a student teacher in Detroit Public Schools and then working with the National Head Start Association and DC-based College Bound. In 2001, I launched the I Do Foundation – a national nonprofit that has helped hundreds of thousands of couples use their weddings as an opportunity to raise money for charity.
A Michigan native, I live in Washington, DC, with my partner and two kids under five. We live in an apartment building with several dear friends and family members who treat our kids like their own–which keeps me both sane and eternally grateful.
Co-Founder and Executive Director
This past Halloween, my five-year-old daughter dressed as a zombie-fairie-princess.
It struck me that her costume captured the essence of being a parent—it feels magical, beautiful, scary, and, occasionally, like something’s trying to eat your brain.
Parenting is not for the faint of heart. But one thing I’ve learned is that things always go better when I have help. And that I, in turn, can lighten the load for others. That’s what ParentsTogether is about.
I’ve also found that lending a hand to other families–on our own block or around the world–is the best way I know to show my kids what it means to be human. That’s another reason I’m so excited to be part of this effort.
Before ParentsTogether, I worked on issues like economic inequality, health care reform, climate change, and peace as the director of the national progressive group MoveOn.org. I began my work as an organizer with GreenCorps, did environmental justice work in California’s Central Valley, and was a union organizer in my hometown of New Haven, Connecticut.
My partner, Autumn, and I are blessed to be raising two generally amazing, occasionally infuriating kids, and two often-infuriating, occasionally amazing dogs, in Brooklyn, NY.