Since the beginning, we have been focused on building a community that prioritizes the elevation of women.
Jessica, the first of our weavers to have mastered the process, moved to Holyoke from San Juan Puerto Rico three years ago and her story helps bring our community impact into focus. She moved here because her son was born with a birth defect and needed better health care than she could access in Puerto Rico. She left a stable job and living situation to come here, and with her lack of English skills, she was unable to find work or plug into many community structures. She struggled to get by, experiencing isolation and depression, and felt she didn’t belong in her new home.
When she connected with us, she was able to be a part of a supportive community that widened her access to resources and opportunities. She is now an active member of her community and acquired part-time work at an after school program in her neighborhood. She leads the other women in our weaving workshop showcasing her skills and design sense, and the money she earns from the sales of her work provide much needed supplemental income. In her own words, Jessica says she feels ‘useful’ again.