Photo by Jaime Longoria
Dylan Avalo on his board at East 157th Street and River Avenue
This Dominican chef wants you to get woke about the food you eat.
SPRING 2017 CO-OP ACADEMY TEAMS!
11 teams were accepted in Spring 2017 Co-op Academy. They started on February 6, 2017 and will be graduating Thursday, June 29, 2017. We are so excited by the diversity of new business ventures that want to launch as worker-owned cooperatives!
MEET OUR SPRING 2017 CO-OP ACADEMY Teams!
- 3rd Eye Studio - multi-disciplinary cooperative studio and event space
- BioKakao - Chocolate Importers
- Cayi Taiyari - Decorations and Events
- Friends of Light - weaving, design and production collective producing hand-made garments and interior textiles on hand-made looms from locally grown, processed, and spun materials.
- Great Creations Hospitality - Hospitality
- GreenFeen Organics - Composting
- New Deal Construction - Construction
- Space Roots - Cooperative Real Estate Brokerage
- Swale - Urban Farmers
- Unique Events Planning - Events Planning
- Warriors for Embodied Liberation - Consultants, Training, Coaches
Click on Albums below for a glimpse of life at Co-op Academy!
CULTURALLY RELEVANT BIRTHING SERVICES FOR THE ENTIRE FAMILY
“If a doula were a drug, it would be unethical not to offer it.” Adapted from John Kennell, MD
Click on the image below to view Uptown Village Cooperative's Picture Gallery
MISSION AND VISION
"We are a multicultural community of doulas and educators supporting gentle birth and breastfeeding, confident families, and overall reproductive health justice in Upper Manhattan and The Bronx.
We are a worker-owned cooperative of women and moms of color who believe in the power of both education and individualized support to create our shared vision of healthy families and healthy living.
Uptown Village Cooperative teaches affordable family health workshops and provide high-quality holistic support as experienced birth and postpartum doulas, lactation consultants, health and nutrition coaches, fitness instructors and therapeutic bodyworkers.
We also offer continuing education in maternal, reproductive, and infant health to professionals committed to strengthening our "UPTOWN" community of New York City."
Too often, women in under-served communities do not have access to holistic birthing services such as breastfeeding support, doula services, yoga, to name a few.
We are so proud that the 4 women of Uptown Village Cooperative have united their forces to bring these much-needed services that helps expectant families make the most informed decisions with regards to their birth plans.
Uptown Village Cooperative graduated in the Fall 2015 cycle.
How did your group form?
In spring of 2015 LaShanda started organizing a monthly potluck for birth professionals in the Uptown area. A few of us regularly came together, from Harlem, Washington Heights, and the Bronx.
Amidst various awesome birth and family topics we delved into, we often discussed our collective vision of having a strong community of multicultural birth professionals in the Uptown area. We each related to the desire or interest to work with individuals we connect with, which may include a cultural aspect.
This shared interest caused us to explore how to increase options for families, notably for women of color, in our communities. We wanted to mobilize our own community of doulas and educators supporting gentle birth and breastfeeding, confident families, and overall reproductive health justice in Upper Manhattan and the Bronx.
How did you learn about the Co-op Academy?
The timing was nicely synchronistic. A couple members of the crew heard of Green Worker's Co-op Academy a year prior, like a seed planted. Then in the thick of our momentum, while planning and envisioning how to move forward, a colleague told us about the program at Green Worker and how fitting it may be. It was fall of 2015, just happened to be a couple weeks before the beginning of a worthwhile 20 week commitment.
What where the decisions behind choosing which of your members where to participate in the intensive 5 month program of the Co-op Academy?
We took an honest assessment of who had the time and space to commit. And because we found out about the program so close to its outset, we figured out if and how we could carve out some availability to attend Monday evening sessions. LaShanda and Myla were the ones who could commit to being physically present for the full time, yet it was so great to have energy and input from our extended support team.
How has the Co-op Academy influenced your decision to effectively "pull the trigger" and launch your business?
The Academy gave us the foundation, ongoing support and resources to help us come together and continue the momentum. Meeting regularly, learning a ton, and completing such an extensive program has helped us tremendously. Exercises and assignments allowed us to delve into our perceived business plan and re-shape it again and again, testing our ideas, learning about the market, understanding our customers, choosing a structure that best serves Uptown Village Cooperative, thus empowering us to make decisions more confidently, and providing us with amazing resources along the way!!
Describe a highlight of your time at Co-op Academy.
As participants, there were times when it was difficult to juggle our own life commitments alongside our obligations with the coop academy. Ultimately it helped us learn to work together, communicate better, collectively problem-solve, and delegate tasks when necessary to benefit our business as a whole.
Would you have started a business together without GWC Co-op Academy? Yes, we were already planning the next steps to establish a business, yet the academy opened our eyes up to the cooperative world, and we are thankful for it.
What aspects of your existing business you are most proud of?
We are proud to have developed and implemented workshops events and programs with a mission to enrich through education. We are increasing access and options in our community, and promoting healthy families and healthy living. We are excited about the fact that we are building and growing our community of WOC in the perinatal and postpartum profession.
You are now in start-up mode, what are your overall goals for your cooperative?
We want to continue to shape our business structure to be awesome amazing and functional. We want to continue to build and grow our community. We’d love to have sponsorship for the free events we offer. We aim to one day have a dedicated space where we can offer all of our services more frequently. In addition to our family health workshops, birth and postpartum doula support, breastfeeding counseling, we would like to increase our collective service offerings to include health and nutrition coaches, fitness instructors and therapeutic bodyworkers. We aim to also offer various continuing education for professionals in maternal, reproductive, and infant health fields. We expect to start a crowdfunding campaign this spring to help support us in achieving some of these goals!
Uptown Village Cooperative has a monthly event called Family Focus Friday at Harlem Yoga Studio; We offer a monthly topic pertaining to birth, postpartum or breastfeeding and many more, for free or by donation. The next one is is on February 24. Here is a link: bit.ly/UVpostpartum
We have a monthly breastfeeding group in Washington Heights every second Saturday at Small Idea Daycare.
New Moms Group - 6 weeks in Harlem starting March 15
Prenatal Breastfeeding Class for parents
Newborn Care Class for expecting parents
Ongoing professional education for doulas
CONTACT, FRIEND AND FOLLOW UPTOWN VILLAGE COOPERATIVE
Our website is under construction and we expect it’ll be ready this spring 2017!
Feel free to drop by and fill out a contact form; let us know about your interests.
Send us an email if you are interested in more information about New Moms Group, Prenatal Breastfeeding Class, Newborn Care Class, or educational offerings for doulas.
Contact: Lashanda Dandrich, (347) 871-8833
Ihotu Ali is a doula, licensed Massage therapist, and holistic health coach with a background in global health policy where she worked with obstetricians and Midwives in Africa and the Caribbean to fight maternal and infant deaths. She focuses on fitness, nutrition, and stress relief to prevent premature birth, complications from cesarean sections, and perinatal depression especially among low-income and immigrant women.
Myla Flores is a doula, childbirth educator and lactation counselor. A birth worker for nearly 10 years, she has served 160+ families as a birth doula and 20+ postpartum families. Myla studied nursing, then changed paths to receive her degree in Theater and Psychology from Rutgers University. She supported with initial stages of opening a birth center with Mother Health International. She is richly experienced in teaching childbirth education classes, supporting birth in all settings, and as a birth assistant.
LASHANDA DANDRICH is an IBCLC and DONA trained Postpartum Doula with 3+ years of postpartum experience and 20-30 families served, with a unique skill: speaking baby! As an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC), LaShanda works with NYU, Beth Israel, DOH, NMPP conducting hospital based and community breastfeeding groups and classes, home visits, and attending to mothers and babies on the Mother/ Baby units and NICU. Lashanda also is receiving training to be a Childbirth Educator this spring of 2016!!
Winter Parris is a Full-Spectrum doula, trained with Ancient Song Doula Services, which includes education in Birth and Postpartum Support. Winter has special interests in supporting families in postpartum period, and received deeper awareness with DONA’s Postpartum Training. She has continued to be an advocate for women with Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders and finds herself passionate about increasing postpartum depression awareness. Winter is a Certified Lactation Counselor and Yoga Teacher. She works with Healthy Women Healthy Future’s community doula program.
Over 70 hours of training by skilled experts
One-on-One mentoring with a successful entrepreneur
Legal assistance with business incorporation and structuring
Training and support in fundraising
Access to a peer-support network beyond the length of the course
Greater visibility and name recognition for your cooperative
The Co-op Academy is how we build a strong local economy rooted in democracy and environmental justice
… one cooperative at a time.
Apply Early for the Fall 2019 Co-op Academy
WHAT IS IT?
It is an intensive 5-month long training and support program that helps teams of aspiring entrepreneurs develop worker-owned green businesses. It is unique in its focus on businesses that are both green and worker-owned. And utilizes an aggressive combination of training, coaching, and technical services. Think of it as a business boot camp for cooperative start-ups The program includes classroom trainings; business coaches; and business support services such as legal incorporation, and access to fair financial services. The course is specifically designed so that each team is able to get their business up and running by the completion of the course.
WHO IS IT FOR?
The Coop Academy is designed for teams working together on a single business concept. It is recommended that each team consist of at least two people and many more can participate in a team. While the Coop Academy is open to anyone, applications from teams with a majority of residents from the Bronx, especially the South Bronx, receive higher priority in the application process.
We train entrepreneurs within any industry. We focus on all types of businesses, which includes environmentally focused businesses. Our Academy curriculum offers options on how to make your operations more "green" to reduce the overall environmental impact of your business. We show how companies manage their financial, social and environmental risks, obligations and opportunities.
HOW MANY PEOPLE CAN BE ON A TEAM?
You must have have at least one other person on your team, and as many as you want - there's no maximum number. Each member of your team must complete the application form (see link above or below.)
The application process for the Co-op Academy is highly competitive. We're looking first and foremost for strong teams with a mix of talents and experience. Keep that in mind when forming your team. And while the Co-op Academy is open to all, we place a special emphasis on teams based in the Bronx.
IS THERE A FEE FOR THE COURSE?
No. The Co-op Academy is offered free of charge! That’s right. Thanks in part to support from the City of New York’s Worker Cooperative Business Development Initiative and the Simon Bolivar Foundation, we are able to offer the Co-op Academy at no charge to you.
HOW LONG IS THE COURSE?
It is a 20-week cooperative business intensive. We call it a "boot camp" for cooperative start ups.
The Co-op Academy takes place Monday evenings in the Fall (September-January), and Spring (February-June). In addition to the weekly evening sessions, all participants are expected to meet weekly with their teams and dedicate additional time towards research, interviewing potential customers and partners, and testing their product or service. Participants will also be required to meet occasionally with the teaching team, an assigned mentor, and supporting lawyers.
The Co-op Academy is designed to help you and your team launch your cooperative by the completion of the course and grow successfully together.
WHAT HAPPENS AFTER THE COURSE ENDS?
Once your team completes the course, we continue to give technical assistance to support to your co-op. We have staff available to guide you through completing any certifications, securing loans, and finding other resources for your business.
The goal is to make sure your co-op is incorporated and in business within a year. Each cooperative has multiple needs and many decisions to make, and it depends on your timeline. We will continue to support your co-op in making those choices and doing business.
We partner with a city wide coalition of agencies and non-profits. We will connect your co-op to a trade association for worker owned business that provide support services. We also connect teams to financial services via a loan fund solely for worker cooperatives.
We also promote the co-ops that complete the Academy through our events, organizational networks, and media. We coordinate events that highlight the co-ops who have completed and are attending the Academy. We promote co-ops online and with our organizational partners. We want your worker co-op to become visible and let other entrepreneurs see co-ops as an option for their dream business as well.
WHEN ARE THE CLASSES?
The Co-op Academy takes place during the Fall (September-January) and Spring (February-June). In evenings from 6:00-9:00pm.
First Month: Monday & Thursday nights 6:00-9:00pm.
After First Month: Monday nights only, 6:00-9:00pm.
WHERE IS THE CO-OP ACADEMY HELD?
The Co-op Academy is held at our office in the Hunt's Point section of the Bronx. We're located at 1231 Lafayette Avenue, 2nd Floor, Bronx, NY, 10474.
ARE THERE ANY REQUIREMENTS?
There are only five requirements to participate:
You must have have at least two people on a team (and as many people as you want),
Each member of your team must complete the application form,
Each member that applies must be able to commit to the five months of the course,
You must have a single business concept in mind for you and your team when you apply, and
You must reside in New York state.
Note: You do not need to already be in business and you can absolutely be at the idea stage. The Co-op Academy is designed to support teams in the early stages of their business, including the idea stage.
HOW DO I REGISTER?
You can apply directly from this webpage by clicking on link provided in heading and below.
If you want to build a model green business that you and your community will be proud of, the Co-op Academy can help you do it.
We offer Early Registration in the months before the application is public. You can use our online form to register early. We will add you to our list of early registrants and send follow up emails to complete your team's applications.
If you really want to launch that dream business, are willing to share ownership and decision-making with your team, and are ready to put in the work in order to make it happen, then apply today.
ARE THERE ANY OTHER SERVICES OFFERED?
During the Academy, we offer participants simultaneous interpretation for Spanish-only speakers once a year, typically during our Fall course.
We offer childcare on-site (during Academy) depending on amount of parents participating.
PRESENTATIONS, WORKSHOPS, EVENTS
Outside of the 5-month Academy course, we offer free workshops on cooperatives for youth and adults, at locations all over the Bronx and Uptown Manhattan. We also offer these workshops at our offices in the Hunt's Point section of the South Bronx where we can also provide Spanish interpretation if needed (if resources are available.)
Click for GWC Event Request Form online.
Apply to the Fall 2019 Co-op Academy
You can contact us with any questions - talk to our Outreach Coordinator
Ileia Burgos at 718-617-7807 x 704 or firstname.lastname@example.org
We want to thank our generous funders