LUNA Community Care was officially launched March 14, 2020. Initially launched to provide accessible and affordable counseling services and community care to those in the greater Providence area, LUNA has since evolved our mission and vision, with the help of the Social Enterprise Greenhouse program, as well as through our ongoing efforts to build more sustainable supports for disabled parents and children in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis.
LUNA Community Care is the first disabled workers cooperative in the United States. We are a group of Rhode Island disabled mothers, activists, doulas, peer counselors, yoga instructors, mental health and childcare workers, who plan on providing innovative childcare, case management, peer support, and crisis counseling. We will also have a co-working space for parents.
We are already running a successful volunteer-led online and in-person mutual aid community care group, called Village Nurture. In December 2020, we redistributed over $7000 worth of supplies and mutual aid funds to our Village Nurture families.
Over 20% of parents of disabled children leave their jobs before their children turn 5 and 37% of these families struggle to find adequate and appropriate childcare that suits their child’s appropriate needs. These figures only widen as children with disabilities get older and options for care minimize. This increases family stress and places a higher financial, and emotional burden on already taxed families, in addition to leaving them socially isolated.
LUNA will address these complex issues by offering disability justice led and centered wraparound peer supports (case managers, crisis supports and doulas) and flexible childcare centers specifically designed for children with disabilities, in addition to their siblings and peers. This model will allow for parents to work; attend their children’s important therapeutic visits; access peer case management and crisis support needs; attend activity, social, emotional and support groups; and relieve some of the emotional, social, occupational, financial, and health stressors they feel.
We envision a hub where all community members feel worthy of respect, dignity and care. We believe that in building this community of care, people will feel more connected, and families, in turn, will improve overall health outcomes. As a co-op, we will be developing innovative policies and procedures to protect disabled workers rights and we will be able to improve our wages and benefits, as well as participate in a democratic governance and have collective ownership in the business. We will be working with various partners and individuals to determine which urban core community (Providence and Central Falls are the top two cities on our list) meets our pilot cooperative center’s needs best, however eventually there will be opportunities for LUNA to grow in multiple cities throughout RI, and possibly replicate the model at larger businesses within the state, as well, which has proven successful for other childcare cooperatives nationwide. For more information on LUNA Counseling & Community Care, please check out our the Luna Counseling & Community Care FB Page or @lunacommunitycare on Instagram. You can contact LUNA’s founder, Casey Gallagher, LMHC, for any questions at [phone redacted] or email [email redacted] ❤️
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