New York is and always has been a city of immigrants, fueled by a mix of culture and tradition that continues to shape the way we experience the city.
Our company, born in Brooklyn, deeply reflects that diversity, employing people from all over the world with different backgrounds, perspectives, and ideas. This diversity in experience is something that we embrace and cherish. It’s also what motivates us to give back to the communities that inspire us — within city limits and beyond.
One issue that has strongly affected us this year is the separation of immigrant families crossing the Mexican-American border. A few months ago, as the fight escalated to new heights, we decided we needed to contribute in whatever capacity we could — that’s when we discovered The Brave House.
The Brave House is a non-profit that helps young immigrant women ages 16 to 24 in New York City. The organization is a sisterhood and a community of support that provides free legal services, peer mentorship, and events aimed at promoting wellness, life skills, and fun — including English lessons, art therapy, dance and yoga classes, self-defense workshops, college visits, and much more.
We had a chance to chat with Lauren Blodgett, Immigration Attorney and Founder of The Brave House, and Yessenia Moreno, Brave House Community Member, about the organization.
“My mother is my inspiration for working specifically with immigrant communities, ” Blodgett explained. “She told me stories of her childhood when her parents created a community center for Portuguese immigrants outside of Boston. She taught me the power and importance of community spaces for immigrants who are trying to navigate life in a new country.”
According to Blodgett, New York is one of the places where immigrant youth need the most support. Most financial resources contributed are focused on efforts at the border, but the thousands of children resettled in New York require just as much attention. A goal of the Brave House is to avoid retraumatization of immigrant children who are now in the process of starting a new life.
Moreno, a Community Member, came across The Brave House through her close friends who co-direct the organization’s community initiatives. “I love the different ways we can engage with each other, whether it’s rock climbing, art-making or spinning all of the events are great community-building opportunities.”
Both Blodgett and Moreno alluded to feelings of isolation common in young immigrants, and the importance of establishing a place to go, meet, and spend time together. “There’s a lack of sense of belonging in this formative phase in our lives — the different ways that we can communicate and share a common experience really improves our development,” Moreno added.
The Brave House is a non-profit that relies on donations to run its programs and services. Here’s how you can get involved and help the cause:
- Donate directly here.
- Follow them on Instagram to stay up to date with their work and events!
- Sign up for their volunteer list.
- Donate dinner or snacks for their events and workshops.
- Host your own fundraiser to collect donations and raise awareness.
- Host a Books and Blazers drive — Collect women’s professional wear for community members to use for court appearances and/or interviews. Or, collect books to donate to a community library (books written by or highlighting female voices preferred!)
To help raise awareness of this incredible non-profit, we organized a special musical performance with local brass band Flowmingos in Washington Square Park this past September to collect donations.
If you or someone you know identify as an immigrant woman between 16–24 and want to join their sisterhood and community of support, please reach out to Lauren Blodgett at TheBraveHouseBrooklyn@gmail.com or send a DM on Instagram at @thebravehouse.
At Nooklyn, we love partnering with local businesses and organizations in our community! If you’re interested in collaborating with us on an event or project, connect with Chumi Gonzalez at firstname.lastname@example.org.