We aim to provide our fellows with an intimate and strong network of supporters. We want to ensure that there is a community they can turn to when they have questions, need help filling out an application, or are experiencing a challenge in their personal lives.
Each participant is assigned to a 1-on-1 partner who works with them to identify career goals, create a career plan, and connect her with employers or educational programs. Additionally, 1-on-1 volunteers work to foster a sense of community and togetherness among themselves and the fellows by organizing holiday events, bonding activities, and celebrations to mark milestones throughout the fellowship.
Ultimately, our 1-on-1 support program focuses on giving women the skills and confidence they need to determine their interests and recognize pathways to unlocking long-term economic stability and fulfillment.
Organizing with alums and current fellows
Real transformation of our society will only be brought through the organized efforts of people within communities that are most impacted by systems of injustice.
Our 6-month fellowship program is built upon the understanding that finding stable, living wage employment is a fundamental first step towards reaching economic stability and exiting generational cycles of poverty, but for this to be deeply meaningful we have to think of employment as just that: a first step. We want more than just employment for our communities. We want their long-term, holistic health and wellbeing. We want racial justice and healing. We want our communities to have limitless opportunities to find fulfillment and joy. And we know that those most affected by injustice carry the answers for how to make these conditions possible.
That’s why we started the Havenly Collective. Each week, we meet to build community, discuss the biggest challenges and injustices that our people are facing, and strategize how to confront these injustices together and create lasting change. Currently our base consists mostly of alums of our Fellowship (nearly 100% of our alums attend our meetings on a consistent basis), but we envision our base expanding over time. Our current priority is to fight for decent, dignified housing for our community.
Building Employment Partnerships
We form partnerships with employers that we know pay a living wage, have systems of accountability in place to respect workers’ rights, and will offer our fellows supportive work environments with opportunities for continued leadership development and learning.
Our partnerships ensure that A) fellows have the support they need as they transition into their new jobs, and b.) employment sites begin to work towards building a more inclusive culture of hiring within the workplace. Ultimately, our goal is to promote greater employment equity for refugees and immigrants across sectors.
So far we have piloted an employment partnership program with Sodexo at the University of New Haven (UNH). The partnership began with a graduate, Hala, from our first cohort, who transitioned into a job as a baker at UNH after graduating from our program. After a year of working with her and UNH’s dining services hiring manager, Juan Dominguez, Hala was promoted into the role of ambassador to help pave the way for other women in her community to access jobs there. Since then, three more fellows from Havenly have been placed in jobs at UNH, where they occupy unionized positions, gain an average income of $19.50 per hour, and have the flexibility to choose work hours that fit their schedules.
Community Care in our Café
As a public space, we want to utilize the physical space of our cafe to promote the holistic health and wellness of our surrounding community. To that end, we envision hosting a range of events and services from free yoga and dance classes, to multilingual Know Your Rights and other political education workshops, to back-to-school drives that will be open to all.
Of course, many of these plans have to be put on hold until it is safe to gather in person again. But we have been able to practice community care in our café in the following ways:
- For the 2020 tax season, Havenly participated as a VITA tax site VITA is a national program that provides free tax preparation services to low-to-moderate-income individuals and families earning less than $57,000 a year. We partnered with Connecticut Association of Human Services and Stacy Downer of the New Haven Financial Empowerment Center to make this possible. So far we have processed over 90 returns at our site, operating once a week since February as one of the only sites in Connecticut doing traditional, in person returns this year.
- From April of 2020 until present, Havenly has prepared tens of thousands of meals for food relief efforts across New Haven.