Hughes hopes to have the operation up and running by this spring.

“When you work in social services, you’re gonna catch on quickly that a lot of people get turned away — so I put on the ‘personal hat’ to be the person on the other side of the door,” says Hughes. 

“With the community bank … it will be the community who decides how we’re going to support each other,” she adds. “Right now, it comes through me and my team. And that creates blind spots — the answer may be in our neighbors. And I believe very much in leaning into each other.”

One of The Wellness Collective’s services is a virtual “mental wellness speed dating” session, where people in need get seven minutes each to interview potential therapists, counselors and psychiatrists to see if those professionals match their needs and personalities. The group also sometimes provides scholarships for an individual’s first six sessions with the professional.

“Mental health is a sensitive space,” Hughes says. “It does cut out a lot of barriers.”

And, then, there’s Bradley and her doulas. She says many people she works with “have had an experience with themselves or with a friend where they’ve experienced loss — and realized the support’s not there.”

Bradley wants to spread the word about her services to medical professionals. Word of mouth keeps her group alive; she had six calls alone between Christmas and New Year’s Day in 2021.

“We want couples to look at their baby [and ask] what is our number one fear,” Bradley adds. “This is their baby. And they’re going to look past all of that … to feeling joy and happiness at the same time.”

The Community Life Enrichment Foundation was a first-time recipient of a Small and Mighty grant. Photo courtesy The Community Life Enrichment Foundation.

This cycle’s Small and Mighty grantees are listed below. Twenty-three are first-time grantees and are marked with an asterisk:

For more information regarding the next cycle of Small and Mighty grants, visit the program’s website.