Small Business Brand Stories | Project Life Center in Woodside, Queens

When I moved out to the suburbs and had Lila, my life changed in a million ways. Of course the most obvious was becoming a mom, but I had also been a city dweller (or traveling) for well over a decade. Moving twenty miles away into the 'burbs had major advantages (space, a yard, the ability to drive to the store, close to my in-laws), but it was a major adjustment for me also. The biggest change, and challenge, was that I had moved far away away from all of my friends. On most days, even now, almost six years later, its just me and the kids. I have no local "tribe".

Motherhood can be isolating, even when you don't move away. You get completely wrapped up in these little people who need you, and you forget about what YOU need. 

On top of that, any free time that you once had becomes occupied with getting snacks, building lego structures, filling baths, making dinners, wiping tears away, etc, etc, etc. 

I recently took a marketing class and one of the assignments was to make a "to do" list, categorizing all the things I do in a week for my home, my work, my kids and myself.

I listed everything out and realized there was absolutely nothing on list under "myself". 

The idea of self-care seems like a far away concept. How on earth do I make time for that?



This spiral that women fall into, whether they be mothers or not, to take care of everything and everyone else before themselves, is what the Project Life Center is trying pull us out of. 

The Project Life Center in Woodside, Queens was founded by Zsuzsi Tass and Sarah Rabenou, and in their words is "a space envisioned by women in support of women."

The mission of the Center is "to provide a variety of educational and holistic experiences that contribute to the health and well-being of our community while encouraging risk taking, igniting passion, and creating life transformation.  It is our belief that nourished women create harmonious families and peaceful societies."

I recently teamed up with Zsuzsi and Sarah to create a Small Business Brand Film for the Project Life Center, telling the story of this amazing space and how it came to be. I spent a number of hours going to various classes and events and filming the community that is growing there. It is a loving, inspiring, fun and supportive space that offers not only a variety of classes, but also the opportunity for women to find "their tribe", and to open up their physical, emotional and creative selves to new experiences and activities. 

It truly is a place that nourishes women.

Even in just my short time spent at the Center, I was inspired by the diverse, encouraging, loving community there. Women walk through the door with bright faces. They literally light up as they cross the threshold into the front cafe. This is a place where they can do something for THEMSELVES. Fill themselves up.

Although I was only there over the course of a few weeks to make the film, the effects have been lasting for me. I recognize that I need to take care of myself in order to take care of others. As Zsuzsi says in the film, it really is "a ripple effect".

The Project Life Center is located on 61st Street in Woodside, Queens right near the subway and the LIRR. I urge anyone who lives in the area to go and check out a class there. A monthly membership for unlimited classes is only $75 if you pre-register online, and an individual class is only $15. More information can be found on their site -

Check out the Project Life Center's story and mission below, told by Zsuzsi and Sarah, and have a look at this amazing space. 

I have one spot left this fall for a Small Business Brand Film and am currently booking into 2018. Please contact me for more information if you are interested in telling the story and inspiration behind your small business.

Francesca Russell is a documentary-style family photographer and filmmaker located in Garden City South, NY. If you'd like to see more of her recent documentary family photography, head over to her Facebook page or follow her everyday adventures on Instagram. If you are looking for a family photographer or lifestyle videographer on Long Island or in the New York City area to document your family, small business or event, please contact her for more information.