My Favorites

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.

Why Hartford?

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.

MetroHartford Alliance Graphic Designer Dhara Patel enjoys a visit to the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art in 2019.