Revitalization through Resilience for New Britain’s East Side

Thanks to funding from the Aetna Foundation, YWCA New Britain and partners will be accelerating revitalization initiatives on New Britain’s East Side.

The project, Resilient New Britain, aims to contribute to existing citywide efforts to promote community resilience, healing, and empowerment by using the Trauma Informed Community Development (TICD) framework. This research-based model, developed by FOCUS Pittsburgh, helps communities heal from trauma and overcome disparities at the neighborhood level.

YWCA New Britain is in the process of hiring a Behavioral Health Community Organizer (BHCO) to work with 30 to 50 East Side families to complete health screenings and connect residents to vital resources. While COVID-19 has impacted households across America, it has disproportionately affected low-income communities and people of color. The BHCO will help identify the full impact of the pandemic on the East Side.

A small group of students from New Britain High School will be recruited and trained as youth Community Health Workers (CHWs) to work alongside the BHCO. CHWs are frontline public health workers who serve as liaisons between community members and health and social services.

The youth CHWs will screen and monitor COVID-19 related health needs of family and friends to then provide intensive trauma-informed outreach to link families with resources to address mental health and physical health needs. The youth CHW Curriculum, developed in collaboration with South Western Area Health Education Center (SWAHEC), is a high school career ladder, enabling youth to bridge their skills with future careers in public health.

This project will be a continuation of the YWCA’s revitalization efforts on the East Side, most recently through the Cultivating Healthy Communities project.

“The expansion of our work on the East Side aligns to our mission of eliminating racism and empowering women,” said YWCA New Britain Executive Director Tracey Madden-Hennessey. “The project will train residents as health professionals as well as support neighbors as they develop a plan to make improvements to their neighborhood.”

In addition to SWAHEC, partners include Central Connecticut State University (CCSU), New Britain High School, City of New Britain, Community Health Center, East Side NRZ, and others.