Alicia, a long time participant in the YMCA community center activities as well as an IMPACT Network Guide, is one of the core team members who helped to birth the group. She also secured the space to hold the weekly sessions. She has a passion for cooking, hosting and encouraging others to better take care of each other.
Emeiye, an original Neighbor Corps member and key partner with Alicia and Victoria in facilitating the women's circle sessions, is always ready to meet someone new and learn their story. Often the only non-English speaker in the circle, she is working with Victoria to offer the group a basic computer training that women will rotate taking while not practicing on a sewing machine. She led similar female empowerment groups in her native Ethiopia and is excited to apply all she's learned to Long Branch.
Victoria, who along with Emeiye and Alicia helped birth the original women's circle, regularly facilitates mutual support as well as following up with members on specific requests and offers they've made. She is an original Neighbor Corps member and current Network Guide and is leading the way right now in having the women set up a table to present their goods at the monthly Clifton Park Neighbors Care Project.
Angelina, from Honduras, learned of the circle from Victoria while sitting next to each other at the TESS Center. She has already brought her famous home-made bread to a couple meetings and has promised to soon give a baking workshop to the group.
Edelsa, from Guatemala, is the infamous teacher of the course. With a degree in tailoring from Guatemala, as well as about 30 years of professional experience, she has been crucial to the group's progress. She currently works part-time at an alterations shop in Langley park called La Bouche. Alicia and I initially knocked on her door by chance a couple months ago...what a pleasant surprise!
Hayde, co-worker of Edelsa at La Bouche, she has similar tailoring experience as Edelsa as well as a fierce entrepreneurial spirit. She has joined the group as a member/teacher after hearing Edelsa rave about it day after day. She's excited to make some new friends as well as experiment with creative ways to use her amazing skill toward making some desperately needed income.
Vanessa, a long time network member and 'graduate' of the Parent Educator Program, brings amazing leadership and visioning capacity to the team. Well acquainted with IMPACT's tools of mutual support and check ins, she often helps facilitate keeping the conversation going and making sure everyone's feeling included.
Yolanda, active in the New Hampshire Estates Elementary School morning coffees, is a Jack-ie of all trades. She bakes bread, makes tamales, embroiders and makes paper crafts...and manages to sell quite a bit of it as well! She is excited to team up with a couple ladies from the group to start cooking and selling food together to maximize efficiency.
Zebanay, also a graduate of Parent Educator, has licenses in commercial cooking and childcare, but is interested in picking up sewing as well. As a single mother she seeks general support from the group and is happy to offer her business know how.
The whole group together. There were about six women not able to make it this past Wednesday so be sure to check back in for more profiles of these amazing women changing the face of Long Branch!