April 13, 2017 By Hannah Wulkan
Two local entrepreneurs are opening a center in Woodside this month that will offer classes and business advice for women.
Project Life Center, which will open its doors at 38-02 61st Street on April 22, will offer classes to women in the community ranging from yoga and wellness to art and writing. It will also offer classes and support to women aiming to start their own businesses.
The center was founded by two Jackson Heights-based women looking to offer a space in the community for women to learn from and support one another.
Sarah Rabenou, one of the founders, initially was looking for a space to run a creative arts therapy group, and came across the Woodside location. She was struck by how unique the space was, and decided to recalibrate her plans.
“As a creative arts therapist, I was already coaching and working with women, so I basically came up with idea for a space that would support and uplift women, offering help with their own businesses and offering a communal space for women to work and learn,” Rabenou explained.
Once she came up with the idea for the business, Rabenou began reaching out to others in the community for help, and when she met co-founder Zsuzsi Tass, she knew she had found a partner that understood her vision.
“I had been telling my friends almost verbatim that we needed something like this in the community, but when I met Sarah and she actually had the space it all fell in to place,” Tass said, explaining that the area does not have many community centers or even businesses such as yoga studios providing this kind of support.
The Center will be based on a membership model, and for a weekly or monthly fee, women will be able to attend as many classes as they would like, and will also have access to a café with Wi-Fi and working space, Rabenou said.
The classes will be based on the talents found in the community, Rabenou explained, and the two women have already met with instructors for classes such as Pilates, yoga, photography, poetry, nutrition, and child development.
Another aspect of the center will be classes specifically aimed at helping women begin their own businesses, who “have a vision to create something but don’t have the support or knowledge they need to get it going,” Rabenou said.
She explained that they will offer weekly support sessions for women that will focus partly on building business skills and partly on providing emotional support.
Rabenou and Tass have launched a GoFundMe campaign to help raise funds to cover startup costs, offering prizes such as memberships and tote bags in exchange for donations. By Thursday afternoon, they had raised $465 towards the $10,000 goal.
The business will officially launch with an opening celebration on April 22, with music, speakers, art and drinks.
Though the business is focused primarily on supporting women, every Wednesday the Center will open up to men as well, and classes will be offered to both genders.
In the beginning, the Center will be open whenever classes are offered, but eventually Rabenou and Tass hope to have regular hours and to expand the internet café aspect to include the sale of local goods and possibly to even host pop-up cafes.
Membership will cost $75 per month or $20 per week, and members will have unlimited access to the space and classes.
“We are hoping to have it be a supportive and growth oriented environment, and in turn we hope that helps impact the community,” Rabenou said.
For more information on Project Life Center and the opening celebration visit https://www.facebook.com/projectlifecenter/.
To view or donate to the GoFundMe campaign visit https://www.gofundme.com/project-life-center.