We began our work together with five Working Groups focused on identified challenges faced by women with low incomes in Brookline. They each have co-created significant programming or activities geared to address the highest needs. Some of these women with financial challenges co-lead the groups, each of which includes a mix of local organizations, businesses, and agencies, interested citizens, and women facing financial difficulties. Each group works together to deepen needs and assets assessment as appropriate, develop plans for expansion or improvement of existing services and opportunities, and develop innovative, cross-sector prototype resources, services, and activities. The evolving Working Groups are:
Access and Information Sharing
Still a very active group, maintains and promotes The Brookline Thrive Guide, an invaluable resource for the town of Brookline, and uses a variety of methods to share needed information about and for Women Thriving in the community. Members of the group also publish Thriving!, a periodic newsletter.
Education, Training, and Employment
Designed and supported the hugely successful “Women Moving Forward” video project, as well as the “Preparing for Employment” and “Manage Your Money” workshop series. Plans are temporarily on hold (but still in the wings!) for creation of a multi-faceted Women’s Employment Network, including an expanded web presence, plus networking with local employers, and speaker series.
Expressive and Healing Arts
Designed and supported several arts-related workshop series, including the popular “Art Journey to Healing” held at the Brookline Arts Center as well as the “Reading and Writing Poetry” workshop series. This group is also currently on hold, but has a number of ideas under consideration, as well as a grant from the Brookline Commission for the Arts, for a digital storytelling workshop series.
Plans and carries out periodic fundraising activities (collaborating with Brookline Open Studios artists, enjoying music from the Clark Page Project band, enjoying social and learning times at the home of Chobee Hoy, and savoring the food, drink, and atmosphere at Legal Sea Foods). These raise money, increase Thriving’s visibility, educate and collaborate with the community, and provide opportunities for Thrivers to share their stories.
Healthy Food and Lifestyle
Supports the “Thriving Together Garden” Project, Listening and Learning dinners, “Healthy Eating and Cooking” workshop series, two community gardens, and fitness, dance, and QiGong classes in public housing.
Safety and Healthy Relationships
Developed and distributes our Brookline safety resource materials and oversaw development of the “Safe and Healthy Relationships” workshop series for teen girls. The Working Group is currently incorporated into Brookline’s Domestic Violence Round Table.