Community Care Circles

Holding ourselves accountable for the care of ourselves and others

What is Community Care?

Self-care is often recommended as a way to promote well-being, but it perpetuates the harmful notion that individuals alone are responsible for their mental health without addressing the systemic factors that contribute to their distress.

Estoy Aqui engages in community care as it offers an alternative approach to recognizing mental health and well-being as shared and mutual responsibilities. We highlight the importance of curiosity, validation, and consent when supporting others and consider community connection to be one of the most powerful protective strategies against mental health issues and suicide.

What is a Community Care Circle (CCC)?

Community Care Circles do not follow a training or workshop format. Instead, they are a powerful tool for creating compassionate and accountable spaces where individuals engage in meaningful storytelling and dialogue. These circles use guided healing practices and facilitated discussions to explore specific topics related to cultural and societal issues. At the end of each session, participants engage in the OFNR (Observation, Feelings, Needs, and Requests) communication model, which leaves them with a renewed sense of connection to their community.

These circles are affinity groups and revolve around topics chosen by the client (e.g., the Latine community, sexual assault survivors). However, they can also be conducted as follow-up sessions to Estoy Aqui workshops and trainings, allowing participants to debrief in a healing-centered space.

 

By the end of CCCs, participants will have

  • Reflected on societal and cultural factors that shape their beliefs, values, and identity.
  • Identified the practices, values, and behaviors that must be developed, improved, and abolished to dismantle oppression in their personal lives.
  • Practiced expressing their needs and requests to other circle members with the OFNR communication model.

Circle Logistics

Population: For youth and adults seeking community and belonging.

​Capacity: Up to 12 participants is ideal.

Mode: Virtual or in-person, no hybrid mode.

Language: English or Spanish.

Length: 2 hours and a half.

Cost: $3500 for a virtual circle or $4500 for an in-person circle.

[A part of the CCC that impacted me positively was] knowing that many others experience similar struggles. Because we are POC, we can find ourselves wanting the same freedoms. 

Participant, Assimilation and Acculturation in Latine Immigrants

School Counselor, Holyoke Public Schools

I was impacted positively by this CCC group because I was able to listen to others from many different backgrounds. I learned a lot of things about my own Spanish background that I didn’t know but makes so much sense to why and I how I was raised the way I was.

Participant, Marianismo and Machismo in Latine Culture

Member, The Ethnic Study

[A part of the CCC that impacted me positively was] the information provided, opportunities for self-reflection, and the sense of community. 

Participant, Colorism and Anti-Blackness in Latine Culture

Outpatient Therapist, Community Services Institute

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