Nestled in the heart of Elizabeth, New Jersey lies a hidden gem dedicated to empowering local women through skills training and development. Founded by the Sisters of Charity in 2003, Josephine’s Place is a safe space for women that seeks to provide free services ranging from Computer Skills workshops to support groups for any local woman in need of assistance.
Sister Judy Mertz and those who work at Josephine’s Place always strive to ensure that their services meet the demands of those looking to receive them. Sister Judy recalls the initial founding of the facility, noting that “When we opened the doors on October 1st, 2003, we made sure to ask the women who came in what they wanted and needed. Many of them said they wanted to learn English or develop their computer skills”, workshops that the facility still provides on a regular basis. Participants are encouraged to take active leadership roles, often guiding new women in group activities.
The need for expansion was quick as more and more women came to hear about their work. Sister Judy notes the great success that many of those who have come to Josephine’s place have achieved, 2 of which have even moved on to start their own businesses. The community-based nature of the facility has fostered a strong “pay it forward” mentality. Many of those who received skills-based services in the past return to lead workshops themselves. In fact, several volunteers who frequent Josephine’s Place are the children and grandchildren of women who have benefited from their services.
For many women, Josephine’s place is not just a safe space, but a warm community. If you would like to learn more about Josephine’s Place and support their work, please consider signing up to volunteer! We offer several opportunities including Computer Essentials I, Computer Essentials II, and Conversations and Connections. Note: Volunteers must be female to sign up.