The Game Changer
Dec 07, 2022
When we work together, we can achieve a better future for all women and girls in Fairfield County.
Monica Jackson’s grit and determination have taken her a long way.
But she wonders what she would have achieved if she had come of age in a different environment.
“Growing up, I could sing and dance and had so many other talents,” Jackson said, recalling her childhood in east Bridgeport. “But I never had anyone who believed in me.” Today, she is helping a new generation of girls growing up in Bridgeport as one of the first community health workers hired for the emme coalition, the newest signature program of the Community Foundation’s Fund for Women & Girls.
“emme is a way out for the women in our community who never even thought about imagining their dreams coming true. emme lets them realize their full potential.”
Optimus Health Care, Community Health Worker
Working at the intersection of physical wellness, behavioral health and social services, the emme coalition is a research-driven program that takes a holistic approach to addressing the barriers that prevent women and girls from receiving quality healthcare and reaching their full potential.
Designed with a trauma-informed lens, the emme coalition’s mission is to put women back in the driver’s seat of their lives. To date, the program has provided direct services to 100 women and indirect services to 1,000 more.
“emme is a support system,” Jackson said. “emme is a way out for the women in our community who never even thought about imagining their dreams coming true. emme lets them realize their full potential.”
As a community health worker, Jackson’s role is to be an active listener, a trusted confidant and on-call support system for the women and girls enrolled in emme.
“When we go through hard things in life, we forget who we are as women, as individuals,” she said. “We find ourselves being a mom, a sister, a daughter or maybe even a friend, but we forget who we are as women. We forget to follow our dreams and to set goals for ourselves and to challenge ourselves. And it gets sad and depressing, and you find yourself trapped to the point that you can’t think beyond that.”
Jackson’s powerful personal story, combined with her education and training as a community health worker, allow her to build an authentic connection and establish a depth of understanding and compassion that’s proven immeasurable in the program’s success.
“If emme wasn’t here, these women still wouldn’t have the services they need to survive and thrive,” she said. “For me, emme is a game changer that truly changes lives. It gives women back their confidence and their joy for life.”
Learn more at FCCFoundation.org/emme.