A new program that empowers girls and women to make healthy choices.

Empowerment, Mindfulness, Motivation & Education (emme) connects girls and women with the tools they need to succeed in life.

Taking charge of life isn’t always easy, especially when life has been hard. You need tools, skills, and resources – and emme has them. emme is a program offered through Optimus Health Care that enables girls and women to make healthy choices and live healthy lives.

WITH emme ON YOUR SIDE YOU CAN:

  • Set life goals and make a plan to reach them
  • Live a healthy lifestyle: Cooking, nutrition, exercise
  • Maintain your own wellness
  • Defy stereotypes
  • Learn self-advocacy
  • Navigate health systems
  • Become career-focused
  • Have healthier intimate relationships
  • Understand financial choices
  • Build coping skills
  • Decide if and when it’s right for you to have a child
Here’s what you get with emme:

  • Coaching sessions and health education
  • In-person consultations with experts
  • Support for overcoming barriers including: Childcare, transportation, housing, food, technology, and language.
  • Access to emme partner organizations

Meet the Team

Dr. Paula Garay, DHSc., MBA, MA
Director, Women’s Health Initiative

Dr. Garay holds a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Bridgeport in Social Sciences, a Master’s of Arts in Adult Development from Lesley University, an MBA in Management and Operations, and a Doctor of Health Science both from the University of Bridgeport. Dr. Garay has been passionate about uplifting, motivating, and educating women since she was a teenager. This seed was planted when she was faced with barriers that seemed impossible to break down. Dr. Garay came to this country from Chile, at the age of 12. As an undocumented immigrant and adolescent of color, she struggled with understanding how to enroll for college, pay for it, obtain affordable healthcare while not having health insurance, and gain employment without documentation. She needed a program like emme- one that equips women and girls who face similar barriers, with lifelong skills to reach their goals. Dr. Garay did not have emme, however, she was able to push through obstacles and achieve her dreams. At this point, she made a vow to herself that she would work tirelessly to prevent others from suffering the way she did. Dr. Garay is incredibly excited and humbled at the opportunity to pave the way for women and girls and provide them with a clear path into their goals.

Samara Clark, BS
Community Health Worker- School Based Health Centers

Samara holds a Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice with a concentration in Forensic Psychology from the University of New Haven and she plans to continue her education and obtain her law degree one day. She is also a certified Sexual Assault Counselor with the Milford Rape Crisis center since 2017. Her experience at the Milford Rape Crisis center has magnified her passion for empowering and educating women and girls to not only advocate for themselves but also recognize potentially unsafe situations and toxic relationships. Since graduating from college, Samara has worked in case management and reintegration. As a young Black woman, Samara continues to see the need for uplifting and empowerment amongst women of color. She hopes to achieve many things moving forward in the development in the lives of others, however, this role is critical to Samara because she hopes to show young girls that anything in this world is possible. Samara is the most excited about helping her participants overcome their barriers and continue to discover new goals as they continue to grow within the program.

Monica Jackson, CHW
Community Health Worker- OB/GYN

Monica is a graduate from the CT Department of Public Health approved Community Health Worker program at Housatonic Community College. Born and raised in the Bridgeport community, Monica has always strived to make our community a better place. She has been volunteering and supporting a variety of non-for-profit programs for more than 10 years. Monica loves to bring joy, not only to people in need, but also to the ones that may have forgotten it. In doing these works, she has grown a deeper passion to become a bridge to bring families in need to a much happier and fulfilling place in their lives. In order to reach these milestones, she was a participant in many different programs for parents and community leaders. She is the co-author and moderator for “Looking for Answers Together” (How should we nurture children to be healthy and make better choices), Facilitator of Bully Proof your Child (A parent conversation at Bridgeport public schools) and Parent SEE graduate (Parent Seeking Educational Excellence). Monica is honored to be a part of the emme coalition and she is pleased to be an agent of change to our patients reaching their goals on the road to self-empowerment.

About emme Coalition

The newest signature investment of Fairfield County’s Community Foundation’s Fund for Women & Girls, emme is a one-stop wellness hub that improves the mental, physical, social, and financial well-being of women and girls. This research-driven program delivered by OPTIMUS Health Care puts women and girls in the driver’s seat of their lives as partners in their own care. From optimizing job prospects to making healthy choices, emme empowers participants with holistic, lifelong tools to reach their full potential.

About FCCF’s Fund for Women & Girls

Fairfield County’s Community Foundation’s Fund for Women & Girls engages philanthropists in sustainable solutions that lead to economically secure and healthy women and girls throughout the region. Founded in 1998, it is New England’s largest women’s fund, investing in research-driven programs and awarding more than $800K annually in grants to support women and girls.

Learn more.