Lending A Westport Hand

As a mother, Krista Bradford heard her daughter’s regular updates about friends’ parents who lost jobs.

As a Westporter, Krista realized our town is better equipped than most to deal with an economic nosedive.  Few places have as many residents still able to make well-placed calls that rocket an out-of-work neighbor’s resume to the top of the pile, or pry open doors for an interview.

And as a self-described “idealistic, tilt-at-windmills former investigative reporter,” Krista wanted to put her energy and talent to use.

The result:  Westporters Helping Westporters, an innovative online group that does exactly what its long, inelegant name promises.

Existing primarily as a Facebook group, Westporters Helping Westporters links job-seekers with job-offerers (or at least job-connecters).  In just a couple of weeks it has already facilitated a CFO opening, and opportunities at consumer products and risk management companies.

“I started it, but it’s really owned by everyone in town,” Krista says.  “I see this as a gathering place for lots of different efforts involving the economy.  People can report observations, make suggestions, rant, soothe, and help other people land on their feet.”

Already, Krista has heard from a few “desperate” people.  One man thanked the group for being there in his “darkest hour.”  It meant everything, he said, to know that people cared.

The online element is important.  Though people need help now, they may feel awkward meeting in groups.  However, Krista hopes warmer weather will bring offline gatherings, perhaps at the beach.

In California, where she grew up, “everyone shared their personal problems.  My experience in Westport is that people don’t want to share that they’re hurting.  But because our group includes people who can help, maybe there’s less of a stigma.  It’s all about getting to know each other, and share connections.”

(For more information, search for the Westporters Helping Westporters group on Facebook, or call Krista at 203-227-8615.)

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