Mom Mixers at Esperanza

To celebrate togetherness during this unprecedented time, LNPWI would like to spotlight the Alivio Project and the program’s fun and welcoming recruitment strategy.  

By: Hafeezat Bishi

In the summer of 2019, Esperanza’s Alivio Project was selected as a one of LNPWI’s 11 funded partner projects. The Alivio Project is a pilot program at Esperanza which aims to recruit low income mothers who have trouble retaining employment. Participants of the program are introduced to a new model of intensive, integrated workforce development while having access to mental health support and social support services.

Mothers networking and having fun at Alivio Project’s Mom Mixer. Photo Courtesy: Mattingly Cohen

Through LNPWI funding, the Alivio Project has held quarterly “Mom Mixers” to reach out to mothers in the North Philadelphia area. According to Mattingly Cohen, the program coordinator for the Alivio Project, the aim of the mixers is to “foster skill development for participants, while giving them the opportunity to engage in professional networking.” All Alivio Project participants are encouraged to attend the mixers, and the program coordinator is tasked with reaching out to them to share meeting information via phone call, text, email, and in-person communication. They have seen a high turn out with nearly 15 mothers, sometimes accompanied by their children, creating groups of 30-35 people. 

“Each Mom Mixer is held in the evening hours with free childcare, transportation, and meals provided in order to make the event accessible to all,” Cohen shares. The first one was held at Esperanza College of Eastern University, while the second mixer was co-hosted by Net Community Care. What made the second meeting extra special was the theme of “self-care,” which promoted strategies of self-empowerment, mental health and stress management, and navigating a work-life balance. 

Not only are “Mom Mixers” a chance for mothers to network, but they also serve as a place to create camaraderie amongst the Esperanza program participants. “We found that most participants appreciate the opportunity to engage in workforce development and job readiness training in a group setting,” Cohen explains. The evening starts with sharing a meal and afterwards children are brought in another room to enjoy activities while the mothers partake in workshops led by program staff and/or guest speakers. The women outside of the Alivio Project also help one another out with finding employment and serve as sources of support for each other.

 LNPWI is proud to support the Alivio Project and applaud the program’s recruitment efforts.

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