By Nan Price, Content Manager, MetroHartford Alliance
MetroHartford Alliance (MHA) Graphic Designer Dhara Patel enjoys making connections within the engaging community she’s found in the Hartford Region.
DHARA PATEL: My family and I immigrated to the area from India 2003. At the time, my aunt lived in East Hartford, which is where we settled. We spent a year in East Hartford before moving to South Windsor. Our own little family has grown a little by little through the years. The region has become such a special place for us. We haven’t wanted to move away. And I feel connected because we made such a big move, I don’t ever feel like making another big move.
I like it here. Everything I need is here. It’s taken a lot of time and effort to build our memories. And what we’ve created reminds me a lot of how we lived in India, in terms of being a part of a small, peaceful community.
How are you a part of Hartford and how is Hartford a part of you?
DHARA: I started engaging with Hartford as a college student and my engagement has been growing since then. I did my first internship in Hartford at the World Affairs Council of Connecticut. The women there helped me connect to so many things that goes on in Hartford. Admittedly, when I was younger, I didn’t get involved in any way that would take me to Hartford. Once my internship started, I saw things from a new perspective through the events hosted by the CTWAC and making connections to business owners and small shops in the Hartford area.
I came to realize this is strong community and everyone eventually gets to know each other. That’s one part I really like about the Hartford Region—making those connections and discovering who’s connected to who. It makes the environment, as a whole, more attainable for me.
I like that, because we’re small, we’re able to connect with each other more and reach more people who are different from us. In a bigger city, that may be harder to do. So, I like that that we’re a tight community that wants to help each other out. It’s definitely become a part of who I am.
How do you tell the story of Hartford?
DHARA: I let people know Hartford is small and mighty. People usually use the phrase small but mighty, but I think Hartford being small is a good thing. And we are mighty.
I share that there’s a sense of community that helps you feel supported and welcome. And there’s a space for you here. You’re not just going to be a random little dot in the city and feel like you don’t know anyone around you. There are opportunities to find help to celebrate your story and find a community for whatever you like doing, hobbies-wise, whether it’s arts or music or dance. There are so many ways to connect with people who have the same interests.
In terms of telling our story, I also want to continue to support small businesses and create more awareness about minority-owned businesses in our region. Hartford has a diverse community; we need to tell everyone’s stories and share about how they came here and how much hard work they’ve put in to create their own successes.