Ruth, the mother of JCARR’s Family 5, is known for her determination, hard work, and desire for education, leading to better job opportunities. After arriving in New Haven in February 2020, she enrolled in English and computer classes at New Haven Adult Education. Following this, she participated in an intensive eight-week online course with the University of Connecticut American English Language Institute, designed for English Language Learners interested in eventually attending college. When JCARR volunteer Kris Oser brought her to Havenly to learn about the Havenly Fellowship, Ruth was excited about the opportunity.
Havenly, founded in 2018, is a nonprofit food business, job preparedness, and personal empowerment program for refugee and immigrant women. Its cafe and classrooms are at 25 Temple Street in New Haven. Its six-month paid fellowship teaches commercial culinary training, food safety certification, and front-of-house restaurant skills. Fellows train on the job, cooking and serving customers at the cafe. They also participate in classes in English, computers, financial literacy, and grassroots community organizing. In addition, fellows are introduced to employment and educational opportunities in New Haven. By graduation, Havenly supports each fellow in finding a job or next-level training to help her build the future she envisions.
Ruth began the Havenly Fellowship in October 2022 and graduated with a dozen other participants in a joyous ceremony on May 21. Ruth’s husband, Mario, and their four children attended the graduation ceremony, along with several JCARR volunteers. When presenting Ruth with her certificate, Nusaibah Shatta, the Fellowship Director, noted her attentiveness and seriousness in every class. She said, “You take advantage of every opportunity, and will actually be a big win for your future employer.” Ruth especially appreciated the bonds of friendship created with the other Fellows and the Havenly staff and the emphasis that the program places on community, respect, and caring for oneself and others. She loved the opportunity to talk to the other women in the program and get to know people from different countries and cultures. She also enjoyed learning how to cook Middle Eastern food, which was new to her.
The staff at Havenly offered Ruth a position as a cook in the café after her graduation, but Ruth thought a job in childcare was a better fit. On the advice of the Havenly staff, she applied to the Teacher-in-Residence program at CERCLE and was accepted. CERCLE’s mission is to improve early care and education outcomes for Black and Latinx children in Connecticut by promoting sustainable childcare businesses in underserved communities in the Greater New Haven area. CERCLE’s Teacher-in-Residence program provides instruction in child development and best childcare practices. Participants learn about lesson planning and implementation and gain skills in observing and assessing student learning. They put their new knowledge into practice and receive guidance from experienced teachers during a full-time internship at an accredited training site. During the final stage of the program, participants work full-time at one of CERCLE’s licensed member Early Childhood Education Centers or Family Child Care Home Providers.
Ruth finds the CERCLE training exciting, rigorous, and challenging. In the initial training phase, she took many online classes, each followed by an online exam that she had to pass to proceed to the next lesson. Now, in the internship phase, she cares for children under supervision four days a week and attends in-person classes one day a week. There are computerized exams after each class for which the passing grade is 100%. Ruth is very proud that she always passes on her first try!
Ruth enjoys working with the children and says that she learns something from her interactions with each of them. After completing the CERCLE Teacher-in-Residence program, Ruth can get a job in a daycare center. She said she would also like to continue her studies in Early Childhood Education at Gateway Community College, qualifying her to open her own Family Child Care Center in her home. Ruth is always considering the next opportunity to increase her education and future employment possibilities.
Ruth celebrates her graduation. Congratulations Ruth!
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