The Women’s Empowerment Center (WEC) at the Hartford offices of the Community Renewal Team held its formal opening earlier this month.
The center opened in May, and during its formal opening on July 11, CRT President Lena Rodriguez talked about her vision for the center.
The center will help direct women to any services they need — whether it’s housing, employment, childcare, mental health or some other service, Rodriguez said. It will also provide a comfortable setting for conversations, book clubs, movie nights and other activities.
“I can be my own boss.”Karen Delgado, Magykal Moments
Karen Delgado was able to open her own business with help from the empowerment center.
Delgado, who moved to Connecticut from Puerto Rico three years ago, saw a notice about a free program to help women start their own business on Facebook. Delgado, who lives in the North End of Hartford, decided to enroll in the program offered by the Women’s Empowerment Center.
Delgado, whose son is autistic, saw it as an opportunity to earn a living while still taking care of her son’s needs including taking him to doctor and therapy appointments.
Through the program, Delgado was able to open her own business, Magykal Moments, a baking and party decorating business.
“It was only an idea in my head, but I saw I could do it,” she said. “I can be my own boss and manage my own schedule.”
The opening of the center was also attended by Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz and State Treasurer Shawn Wooden, community leaders and clients.
Nearly 60 percent of the people served by the non-profit community action agency in Hartford and Middlesex counties, are women and nearly 31 percent are single parent, female-led households, Rodriguez said.
The Women’s Empowerment Center can also serve as a venue for special programs such as the Small Business Association’s training program, which is the program Delgado attended.
About $80,000 has been raised for the center over the past two-and-a-half years, Rodriguez said. The hope is to raise more money, including the purchase of couches and other comfortable furniture. The center has three computers that are available for members to use.
The center is working to attract volunteer mentors who can provide various forms of assistance to women.
“You’ve heard of the good old boys’ network?”, Rodriguez asked. “We want to make a good old girls network.”