Willimantic Vicinity Update, Struggles for Willimantic Advocates Make it Happen (WAMH)

The Willimantic Commonomics group met a few times after the first Hartford Commonomics event in the Fall, with a fairly large gathering made up of people from the area who had worked on and/or attended the event in Hartford joined with like-minded members of area Transition groups to come up with several possible actions. With many local projects already in service in the community, it was decided to move in the direction of informing people about them. Several ideas were synthesized: to invite all of those involved in local community projects to join together in another forum specifically for our area, to sponsor a tour to view projects already happening, and to develop a central website hub to connect all of the groups together and increase communication and information.

In response to this expressed need at the the follow-up meeting in April to the original Hartord Summit in 2013, action has been taken to create a website to act as a central hub for all groups and projects throughout the state, which should also allow the Willimantic Commonomics Group to begin to move forward.

Willimantic Advocates Make It Happen (WAMH), a small nonprofit in Willimantic, was initiated as one of ten recipients who won a $10,000 Poverty Reduction grant offered by the Windham Area Access Agency in 2009-2010. We are run by volunteers and all of the money we have received has gone directly to serving people, so far helping over one hundred and fifty people in need who are homeless, in recovery from substance abuse, and/or attempting to reintegrate into the community after serving a prison sentence. After running out of the initial funding, we have fundraised an additional $10,000 through various events including several bingo nights, a dance, flea market, Equal Exchange product sale, and concert. We have had a difficult time attracting the general public to help with fundraising, and have not been successful at raising money through grants. We are hoping to develop a small business that will eventually fund our support services to purchase needed supplies and equipment, and at the same time allow us to hire the people we serve. We welcome assistance and expertise from those interested and knowledgeable in the Commonomics community.

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