Who is Northway?
Northway is a non-profit community of survivors, volunteers, business owners, leaders, & students living in the Brazos Valley. Together, we are on a misson to break the cycles of homelessness, violence, exploitation, and crime that exists within our city—one life at a time, one job at a time.
Read more about Northway
More Precisely, What does Northway do?
Northway offers resources & relationships to women out of extreme poverty. Mostly, we offer a woman a job in which to earn a living wage for her family, live independent of government resources, & grow into the leader we know she is. Each women employed with Northway works on our farm, producing healthy food for our community. Because we are a not for profit organization, every penny spent on our food or market items goes directly to the wage of our farmers. Not only does Northway provide jobs for the Brazos Valley, we bring economic growth, community unity, decrease in crime & incarceration, as well as an opportunity for everyone to connect with healthy, farm to table food.
How do Women Come to Work for Northway?
We currently have 25 women + 12 children awaiting employment & housing at Northway Farms. Most women are introduced to Kasey through her work inside the Brazos County prison for women—as a counselor & Bible teacher for the prison, Kasey builds relationships inside the walls in hopes of transitioning her friends into Northway upon their release from prison. Women are also referred to our program through family members, friends, public health departments, recovery communities, and the criminal justice system.
When residents enter the program, they bring with them the burdens of addiction, records of arrest or incarceration, and the trauma of past physical and sexual abuse. On average, a Northway employee was first raped between the ages of seven and eleven, first used drugs and/or alcohol in her early teens, and first hit the streets between the ages of fourteen and sixteen. Many women have been trafficked while walking the streets through their teens and early 20s. All employees live in extreme poverty as a result of the harsh and painful life they have lived.
How does Northway Determine Employment Eligibility?
Women will be offered a job at Northway Farms as donations & revenue allow. No woman is denied an interview. All residents of Northway must show a 2-year history of chronic homelessness, as well as complete an intake interview, need assessment, & commit to the Northway Community Program. All interviews must be approved for employment by the Northway Farms Board of Directors, then paired with a highly qualified & skilled partner as they work through the stages of growth & training. Although a resident may leave at any time, they are encouraged to live & work with us for 2 years or more-transitioning as a leader in to our community with stable wage and healthy home environment.
What are Women Doing when they come to Work for Northway?
Northway Farms produces farm fresh food for our community to purchase for their home table. Families can visit the farm in open market hours & purchase fresh + local farm-raised eggs and vegetables. We also host events, gatherings, and dinners, with meals created, cooked, and catered by our farmers. Our farm to table market & venue will be open for business spring 2018. Resident farmers are busy managing farm, food, + event operations, as well as receiving personalized care + training for their future hopes & dreams.
How are Families Truly Released from Poverty?
Northway believes that our greatest resource in the fight against poverty are the people who live in poverty themselves. Northway approaches our women as potential leaders for our community, not as victims in need of a hand-out. Through a clearly defined and agreed upon team approach, women seeking employment at Northway Farms progress through 3 teams of growth (Apprentice, Journey, Leader), gradually and intentionally moving from a place of dependence into a place of independence. At each stage of growth women are receiving: a living wage, skill-training, financial/budgeting assistance, childcare, child tutoring, medical assistance, mental health care, diet/exercise training, advocacy, community partnerships, & Bible study. We believe that by tapping into the unique potential, gifts, and abilities of each woman, and aligning them with the necessary relationships & resources, she will release her family (and future generations after her) from poverty.
Why Start in Central Texas?
The Brazos Valley is the perfect location to develop this grassroots initiative that we hope to grow throughout the US. Situated centrally to some of the largest cities in the nation (Houston, Dallas, Austin, San Antonio), our county has become a melting pot for women & children seeking refuge from the abuse, exploitation, or over-population of the bigger cities. In addition, Brazos County offers invaluable relationships & resources in the area of agriculture & farming. The Brazos lends itself to high rehabilitation projections by location—far enough from the toxic systems women are fleeing, while offering a thriving city full of resources and possibility. One of the most exciting opportunities of our location is our close proximity to Texas A&M University. The university not only offers a wealth of volunteers & resources, but also, a generous portion of experts in the areas of: agriculture, animal science, nutrition, soil & crop sciences, leadership, public services and human development.
What About Men?
Northway places high value on the role of male leadership and his very important role in the future of his family. The dream of Northway Farms is to grow farming operations enough to include job opportunities and housing units for men as well. Until that time, however, we will focus our energies on women, as they are the majority head of household and income provider for families living in extreme poverty.
Where do I Fit in this Vision? (In other words, how can I help)?
Northway has every desire to grow into a model which can be used to benefit communities throughout the US. Whether or not you live in Brazos County, your support for Northway brings us one step closer to opening a farm & cafe in your hometown–offering jobs to your people. As a start-up initiative, we are most in need of financial support & committed alliance partners. Please consider supporting Northway Farms by requesting a speaker to cast our vision to your church, organization, or business. You can donate online, or, email us to be added to the volunteer database. We will definitely be in touch soon. Thank you for coming to the table.