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CAMBA Connection February 2013

Fund Our New Center and Help CAMBA Build Mental Health Services in Central Brooklyn


One of our newest projects needs a little help from our friends. Today, CAMBA is starting a capital campaign to fund major construction on our upcoming Mental Health Center in Prospect Lefferts Gardens.
The CAMBA Mental Health Center will provide critical outpatient mental health services to all adults, in a community where more than one in 20 adults suffers from serious psychological distress.
"Today, we are finding that more and more people need access to high quality therapeutic mental health services," said Michael Erhard, CAMBA Assistant Deputy Director. "CAMBA is excited about the opportunity of providing these services to Brooklyn communities in the near future."
As of this writing, we've raised more than $100,000 to make major, necessary renovations to the century-old row house at 27 Winthrop Street off Flatbush Avenue. But that leaves us just halfway to the $200,000 needed to renovate and build the office spaces, clinical treatment rooms, new bathrooms and patient welcome center our future patients need and deserve.
The campaign will seed CAMBA's Mental Health Builders Fund for the creation and expansion of mental health clinics in areas of dire need. Your support will get this building in shape and bring services to those who need them.

Learn more about the center and donate here.


CAMBA Launches iBridge to Connect Immigrant Professionals to Careers


What do a dentist from Burma, a nuclear engineer from Russia and an accountant from Cameroon have in common?
They are all members of CAMBA's first iBridge class, our newest program designed to help high-skilled immigrant professionals who are under- or unemployed gain access to higher paying jobs in their field.
Built on the success of our former Immigrant Professionals Training Program, iBridge is funded by a two-year, $450,000 grant from the New York City Economic Development Corporation through its LINK initiative
iBridge gives priority to applicants with training or experience in the science, technology, engineering, math (STEM), accounting, healthcare or media fields, although all qualified immigrant professionals are encouraged to apply.
Applicants must have a bachelors or higher degree from an accredited foreign school. In addition, they  must be New York City residents, legally authorized to work in the U.S. and proficient in English.
In addition to courses on a range of soft and hard skills, iBridge enrollees are eligible for low-interest loans, ranging from $1,000 to $10,000, to use for any purpose that will help further their ability to move ahead in their field.
These free services include 20 classroom hours, individual coaching and independent career networking, aimed at helping participants advance to jobs in their field.
Learn more about iBridge and how to apply here.


Urban Archers Flock to Beacon for Annual Tourney


More than 85 archers from the New York City area gathered at CAMBA Beacon 271 earlier this month for the eighth annual Battle of the Boroughs archery tournament. Competitors ranged from the third grade to age 71 and came from as far away as New Jersey and Long Island.

Most of the day's archers were students of Larry Brown, the tournament organizer and long-time archery coach at Beacon 271 and other youth programs around the city. This Saturday shoot-off was a chance for his students to put their skills to the test... and maybe win a trophy or two.

For nine years, Brown has traveled the city to bring archery to areas, and to kids, that may never have seen the sport before. Now some of his long-time students are competing at the national level -- and one Beacon 271 participant is even preparing to try for the 2016 Olympics.

"It's a great experience working with these kids," Brown says. "It has changed so many children's lives -- not only as archers but as human beings."

Next up for the Beacon's young archers: a championship tournament in June, hosted by one of Brown's programs in the Bronx.


Atlantic House Men's Shelter Celebrates Black History with a Bash


All February-long, Black History Month has made for the celebration of a culture and remembrance of some of America's most important figures. CAMBA's Atlantic House Men's Shelter got in on the festivities with its Ninth Annual Black History Celebration.

The Brownsville shelter's cafe was filled with 150 people on a Tuesday afternoon for music, poetry, food and a healthy dose of inspiration.

Shelter residents, staff and guests took in many entertaining and moving performances, including a lively DJ and a rendition of Bob Marley's "Redemption," sung by a formerly homeless guest performer. The afternoon's keynote was a motivational speech by John Chaney, Executive Director of the Kings County DA's ComALERT, a program to help the formerly incarcerated reintegrate into Brooklyn's communities. Chaney himself left a troubled past behind -- a fact that resonated with the crowd.

"Everyone felt really great," said Jessica Fox, Recreational Coordinator at Atlantic House. "The day highlighted everybody's strengths and talents and brought us a lot closer together."

A celebratory spread of soul food was provided by local RCL Enterprises and enjoyed by all.


Employee Profile: Francisca Guzman

Residential Aide, Atlantic House Men's Shelter

What’s your role at CAMBA and how long have you worked here?
I began my work at CAMBA in March 2003 as part of the maintenance team at Atlantic House. I have been a Residential Aide since 2007.
Where did you grow up and how long have you lived in NYC?
I was born and raised in the Dominican Republic and moved here when I was 22.
Talk a little about your day-to-day at work -- how do you spend your time?
I wake up ready to get the day going. I work hard every day since you never when you may not be able to. I wear many hats at home and my family takes priority in my life. My days are not too different from one another, but I don't mind that. I have the things I need and my health.
What part of your job do you find most rewarding?
I enjoy being part of a team that works everyday to provide help for people who can't do it alone. The CAMBA family works together to provide these individuals new opportunities. That is what I find most rewarding.
What's a memorable work-related experience you’ve had?
My whole time with CAMBA has been memorable. I would have never thought that I would have been to work for 10 years (on March 3, 2013) within this type of organization -- specifically the MICA population (Mental Illness and Chemical Abuse/Addiction). It was a challenging first year for sure, but I met each challenge and can truly say I am a CAMBA veteran!
How has your work changed the rest of your life? (Do you have a different perspective outside of work? Do you treat people differently?)
This job makes you appreciate the little things.

What other profession have you always wanted to try (or what do you plan to do in the future)?
I see myself taking my experiences here and growing in a supervisor capacity.
What is your favorite spot or thing to do in New York City?
My backyard in the summertime. It's where I take some time to myself. I've been enjoying growing vegetables and flowers the last couple of summers.
If an actor/actress were to play you in a movie, who would it be and why?
Zoe Saldana -- she is one of my favorite actresses and a fellow Dominican-American.
What one thing would you like colleagues to know about you that they probably don’t already know?
There is not much those who know me would be surprised to hear. But for anyone else, I would say my sense of pride. I take great pride in my job and no matter what role you play here at CAMBA, pride in your work should be first.

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