CAMBA Connection August 2013

CAMBA East NY Beacon: Building Future Engineers

 

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Should her family computer break down one of these days, Keyani thinks she’s got it covered.

That’s a lot of confidence for a nine-year-old girl who didn’t know the difference between a breadboard and a breadstick before she signed up for an engineering class at the CAMBA East New York Beacon Dream Chasers summer camp at I.S. 166 in Brooklyn.

By summer’s end, Keyani and her classmates had turned their breadboards into bases for an electronic keyboard, light and temperature sensors, robots, zoetropes and more.  They also learned how to program the computers that made their devices work.

Seventy-two students at CAMBA Beacon 166 and 60 at CAMBA Beacon 269 in Flatbush took part in this engineering program during the 2013 summer session.  Working in groups of four, they were instructed by staff members and Midwood High School apprentices trained to teach this course.

A partnership between CAMBA and The After-School Corporation (TASC), this ExpandEd Apprenticeship Program trained and provided high school apprentices for both STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) classes and art classes this year.

A key goal of the robotics class was to introduce young people to engineering and encourage them to enter the field, says the Beacon’s Director Wesner Pierre. Gauging by students’ enthusiastic responses, the program has created a big crop of future scientists.

“Technology’s for me,” says Emmanuel, 10. “This has inspired me to build a real computer and to learn more stuff about technology and science.”

Rachel, also 10, says that “I always wanted to know what’s inside a computer.  Now I want to go into technology.”

 

Gamble for Good at CAMBA Casino Night Out

 

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Join us at our annual gala, CAMBA Casino Night Out, for an evening of games and raffles, food and drink, all in support of our clients and services. Join a dynamic group of leaders in business, politics, development, community, arts and human-service... all committed to empowering low-income New Yorkers.This year's gala is on October 24 at Brooklyn's Steiner Studios. Be part of this great night... learn more about tickets and sponsorship opportunities here.

 

 

Looking Back: One Year of DACAmenting Young Immigrants

 

When the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program went into effect a year ago, a generation of young undocumented immigrants saw a door open for them---a door to legal employment in the U.S. Since then, attorneys at CAMBA Legal Services have been helping immigrants in New York City navigate the waters of the new Federal program.

Started in August 2012, DACA allows undocumented immigrants under 32 years old stay in the U.S. for two years and legally apply for work. While DACA offers an enticing new opportunity, it has many requirements and a lengthy application process. That’s where CAMBA attorneys have stepped in, helping applicants understand the requirements, obtain necessary documents, fill out forms and work their way toward the temporary work authorization.

“The requirements can be onerous, but most people who come in are eligible,” says Nick Klein, a CAMBA attorney who’s been working with DACA applicants since the program started.

CAMBA attorneys have helped more than 100 clients seek work authorizations through the program, with 75 eligible clients completing applications. A number of former clients have come back with work authorizations in hand and, while some applications are still pending, Klein expects that all of their clients will soon be able to work.

Klein adds that he and the other attorneys are becoming more efficient as time goes on. “After a few (clients), you realize what the government is absolutely looking for---in terms of exact documents, requirements, etc.”

Nationwide, more than a half-million people have applied to DACA, with the vast majority having received work authorizations. As Klein sums up the program’s first year: “Now there are all these people allowed to work who weren’t before.”

Learn more about the DACA application procedure and requirements here.

 


Scenes from CAMBA's Night at the Ballpark

 

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CAMBA friends, staff and supporters spent an evening in Coney Island early this month, to cheer on the Brooklyn Cyclones and support our clients. It was CAMBA's third annual Night at the Ballpark and everyone had a blast. Thanks to all who made the night possible... and enjoy these scenes from the game.

 

 

Employee Profile: Michael Williams

Case Manager, Morris Manor

 

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What’s your role at CAMBA and how long have you worked here (include any past positions)?
I have worked at CAMBA since November 2009. I started out as a Case Manager at Wazobia House and I’m now a Case Manager at Morris Manor, under a great supervisor, Ms. Paula Moore.

Where did you grow up and how long have you lived in NYC?
I grew up in Queens until I was about 10 years old and then moved to the wonderful borough of Brooklyn with my mother and sister. I currently live in Queens, but I tell my friends and family that I only sleep there. I love Brooklyn, its culture and all that it offers. I will always be a Brooklynite at heart.

Talk a little about your day-to-day at work---how do you spend your time?
As a case manager, I spend my day helping clients in a vast array of different ways. I help them effectively manage and comply with mental health, physical health and substance abuse treatment. I link them to services, assist them with budgeting, teach them and help them hone their daily living skills. I advocate for services, assist them with entitlements issues, walk them through the application process and even escort them to appointments. I run focus groups, contact service providers to ensure they are in compliance with treatment. Most importantly, though, I counsel clients and serve as a compassionate ear. I think the biggest part of my job is proving to our clients that I am genuine and honestly want to help them and that I am compassionate towards their needs. I spend a lot of time building a connection with the individuals I serve daily based on trust, professionalism and follow-through. It’s one thing to say you want to help people. It’s another thing entirely to follow through and not fail them as so others may have in the past.

What part of your job do you find most rewarding?
The most rewarding part of my job is when I can help deter individuals from otherwise harrowing situations or when I help someone complete a goal that they may not have thought possible. The look of accomplishment is on their faces when they conquer something that has held them back. That feeling is extremely humbling and it gives me a sense of worth. It is then that I feel my life actually has a purpose.

Tell about a memorable work-related experience you’ve had.
There was a client that I worked with in the past. She was 50 years old and extremely mentally ill. She was delusional and paranoid. She had been suffering from her illness for over 25 years, clearly showing symptoms, but she had never been diagnosed. She was depressed, never came outside and was extremely introverted. The most shocking thing was that there had never been an effort to have her receive mental health treatment. We were able to get this woman into therapy and help her accept her psychosis and then manage it. She totally changed. She began understanding her mental illness and working diligently to control it. She began going out more---she even obtained a job. To see her go from one negative extreme to the other was astonishing and very rewarding. It was amazing.

How has your work changed the rest of your life? (Do you have a different perspective outside of work? Do you treat people differently?)
My work has most definitely changed the rest of my life. It has made me a more patient, understanding and compassionate person, and it keeps me in a state of humility. It has made me so much more appreciative of the things in life we take for granted.

What other profession have you always wanted to try (or what do you plan to do in the future)?
The other profession I’ve always wanted to try was teaching. Specifically, teaching history. I love history. Who knows, maybe one day in the distant future I will try. However, right now and for the foreseeable future, I believe I have chosen a profession that’s my life’s calling.

What is your favorite spot or thing to do in New York City?
My favorite spot in New York City is the Metropolitan Museum. I love New York in general. There are so many wonderful things to do.

If an actor were to play you in a movie, who would it be and why?
If I could pick an actor to portray me in a movie it would be Will Smith. Why? Because he is an extremely talented actor who I feel would really be able to portray the emotion and seriousness of my life as a whole.

What one thing would you like colleagues to know about you that they probably don’t already know?
That, although I am fun-loving and love to laugh and enjoy life, I am an extremely spiritual individual and I am humbled and thankful for all GOD has done for me


 

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