By Celina Colby

Since March, the 501(c)3 non-profit Women Thriving has taken their community work online to continue supporting low-income women in Brookline and beyond during COVID-19. Women Thriving provides learning and leadership development programs and a strong, supportive community to women of diverse backgrounds and economic positions around Brookline. Now they need your help to continue providing these essential services.

“Women with low income are facing many, many challenges,” says Ann Brackett, president and co-founder of Women Thriving. “Housing needs, food insecurity, depression, anxiety, knowing where the resources are. The biggest piece that comes up over and over in all the research is about isolation, and of course, we’re all experiencing the tough aspects of isolation now.”

The Women Thriving programs address many of these issues. Workshops help mothers who are learning English as a second language to navigate the Brookline school system, teaching resiliency skills that are essential for handling the emotional burdens of the pandemic and coaching women on money management, networking, and public speaking.

The programs also establish a community. Latinas Unidas, a group led by Latinas in the Women Thriving leadership corps, plans monthly activities and discussions for the Latina populations in Brookline. Women Thriving is also working to create programming and groups for Asian-American women in town. Workshops on poetry reading and writing, meditation, and art as a healing tool provide important creative outlets for women.

Right now Women Thriving is organizing a Zoom version of their annual holiday dinner, Festival of Lights. Held in both English and Spanish, the event will feature live music by board member Tracy Clark, meals delivered to the participating women thanks to a sponsorship by the Brookline Police Union, and breakout rooms where women can chat together as though sitting around the same dinner table. “One of the nicest things about the dinners is that women from the board and the volunteers sit with the thriving women and have conversations,” says Judith Stroum, a communications and evaluation team member at Women Thriving.

Women Thriving is a volunteer-run non-profit and in order to continue supporting women in need in Brookline, they need help from the community. They’re currently accepting donations for a holiday fundraising push and every little bit helps. In addition to donations, Brookliners can purchase tickets to talks with local artists, which will be happening over the next few months. For those that can’t contribute financially, Women Thriving is also seeking volunteers of all kinds.

“All different types of women blend together,” says Brackett. “It’s a wonderful community.”