Every Wednesday afternoon, The Grove becomes a place of refuge for its members, offering an informal, relaxed setting for fellow grovers to kick back and enjoy each other’s company over some wine. One late May afternoon, grovers came together in hopes of getting their minds off of work and lift the burden of responsibilities. With the help of Cultural director, Christina Kane, over the course of a few social games to break the ice, the group started to ease into comfortable conversation.
Everyone began talking about what brought them to New Haven, which consequently educed grovers to discuss about past jobs, former ambitions, and what’s led them to The Grove.
Meet Marc Audet — he is a computer programmer for a new innovative system that’s been developed to evaluate school teachers on a more objective basis. Marc emphasized the fact that this new program is much more positive and beneficial compared to the traditional evaluation systems used in most public schools. “Teachers that get poorly evaluated on certain skills, like engaging the class, are sent to complete certain modules online.” Essentially, it allows teachers an opportunity to improve their skills, rather than formerly having punishment as a reinforcer. Jesse Raccio, a fellow grover, shared with Audet his unfortunate experience of being evaluated during his first year as a music teacher. He claimed that traditionally teachers are assessed by administrators with no expertise in the subject being taught, which can lead to an unjust evaluation and an overall ineffective system. Together, Audet and Raccio discussed the nature of this new program and the potential it has to offer. Although Audet works more behind the scenes, programming, he agrees that the content of the program itself is more fair in its evaluations. As a music educator, Jesse commended Marc for his work and conveyed a certain appreciation.
Also, within the midst of discussing different projects, a few grovers discovered that they’ve all spent some time in Oxford, England. John Nixon, who works on the Board of Directors for team MakeHaven, mentioned he studied a year at Oxford University for engineering. Jesse Raccio and Marc Audet both chimed in that they had lived in Oxford for some time, as well. Together, they reminisced on their favorite pubs and restaurants in that area, as well as the type of work they did there. Audet reflected on the aspects of European culture he thought were especially different from America, saying, “People have a special respect for reserving tradition in the UK — living under a queen and their structure of government was something I had to get used to.” They went back and forth over some time about their experiences and bonded over their shared interests.
Matthew Masterson, a newbie to The Grove community joined in to share his backstory, as well. Originally from Kansas City, Matthew moved to New Haven with his wife and four daughters in need of a space to get his work done. “I looked on the website and I wasn’t really sure of what this place was about — like I don’t need to co-work,” he said using air quotes, “I just want space to do my thing.” Everyone at the table broke into laughter — they agreed that from just looking at the website, they hadn’t understood what the The Grove entailed either. Matthew spends his days here doing necessary paperwork for the company he works for, Deloitte & Touche Consulting. He adds that with a family as big as his, it’s been a blessing to find a place like The Grove to work.
Although grovers vary greatly in whatever profession they pursue, it’s easy to find similar difficulties and aspirations as independent workers. As stories are exchanged, people come to realize that through their individual journeys, they find common ground.
As admirable as it may be to work independently, it can be isolating. Take advantage of the community in which you surround yourself with and meet new people. Whether you’re running a small business, selling your artwork, or keeping up a blog, know that everyone needs encouragement to get through each week.
Join us for Wine Down every Wednesday at 4:30 pm, we’ll see you there!