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CAMBA Connection September 2013

Gamble for Good at CAMBA Casino Night Out (Less than a Month Away!)



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. We'll be honoring Bruno Frustaci Contracting, Inc. and the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation. Be part of this great night... learn more about tickets and sponsorship opportunities here.


Flatbush Food Pantry Serving Up Homegrown Salads



Clients at our Beyond Hunger Emergency Food Pantry have spent the past few months watching strangers grow in their midst. First it was the mounting wood beams and tubes of a hydroponic farm, then the farm’s produce itself: the tiny lettuce sprouts growing without sunlight or soil.

Now all that has come to fruition. This month marked the hydroponic farm’s first harvest, with pantry staff picking dozens of lush heads of lettuce one Thursday morning to hand out as part of the day’s provisions.

“The clients are very excited,” said Lucila Santana, the pantry’s Project Coordinator. “They’ve been pretending to rip the lettuce out of the farm for a while now.”

See more photos of the farm, including this month’s harvest, on CAMBA’s Facebook page.


New Community-Based Program Paving the Way to College for Flatbush Teens


For many kids in Central Brooklyn, the road to college can be full of potholes – voids caused by shortfalls in family support, academic help, financial guidance and fitting role models.
Filling these holes is the goal of CAMBA Collegiate Express, a new college readiness program based at CAMBA’s Beacon 269 in East Flatbush. The program, launching in early October, will serve 60 local ninth-graders and their parents over the next four years---giving them the tools, information and support they need to smooth the road from high school to college.
Collegiate Express has all the bells and whistles of a solid college readiness program---academic support, standardized test prep, homework help, financial aid information, college visits, after-school activities and even paid internships.

But it includes something even more important:  parent coaches from the community, people who have already successfully ushered their children into college.

Caroline Sykora, Program Coordinator for Collegiate Express, emphasizes  this parent-mentor dynamic and says it will benefit both the students and parents in the program and the community as a whole.
“Coaches will work with parents and really keep track of kids’ progress over four years,” said Sykora. “We’re also hoping that this program will create advocates: parents who can go back and increase the capacity of people in the community to get their kids through high school and into college.”
Collegiate Express is funded by the Pinkerton Foundation and is serving families within the area of CAMBA's Flatbush Promise Neighborhood Initiative (FPNI), a partnership of schools, businesses, government, nonprofits, healthcare providers and faith communities working to support every child in the community from cradle to college to career.
It was FPNI’s work that highlighted the need for a program like Collegiate Express. “FPNI did a survey and identified this gap,” said Sykora. “The community felt there wasn’t enough support for kids going to college. Now it’s a community-centered effort to get them there.”

Now for Rent: Nonprofit Office Space in Bed-Stuy



CAMBA recently was awarded a contract from the NYC Human Resources Administration to manage the Bedford-Stuyvesant Multi-Service Center, a five-story building spanning a full block of Brooklyn’s Fulton Street. The building was already home to a public elementary school and a number of small nonprofit organizations. CAMBA was to spend the next several months getting the building in shape to house other nonprofits from around the City.

Now the center is open for business and we’re looking to get organizations in the doors.

Located at 1958 Fulton Street, between Ralph and Howard Avenues, the large multi-use building features light-filled spaces with large windows, high ceilings, proximity to subways and bus lines, and access to conference rooms during the business day and to a 450-seat auditorium and schoolyard after 3 pm.

While office renters must be nonprofits from within New York City, for-profit groups are invited to rent conference rooms, the auditorium, the schoolyard and other spaces for special events.

Know an organization that might be interested in renting space at the Bedford-Stuyvesant Multi-Service Center? Learn more about rates and availability here.


Employee Profile: Theresa Johnson

Housing Specialist, Flagstone Family Center


What’s your role at CAMBA and how long have you worked here (include any past positions)?
I am a client advocate.
Where did you grow up and how long have you lived in NYC?
I grew up here and have lived in NYC all my life.
Talk a little about your day-to-day at work---how do you spend your time?
As a client advocate, you must be a people person, able to work as a team leader or team player, willing to go above and beyond. I travel with my clients to see apartments regardless of time or day. I escort them to for rental assistance and meet with brokers and landlords. I see clients each and every day and keep my supervisor and director informed of every move: my clients’ housing status, move-out dates… I can go on and on, but I’ll stop here!
What part of your job do you find most rewarding?
The blessings I will receive from our Maker and the joy on a client’s face when they leave shelter.
Tell about a memorable work-related experience you’ve had.
I've had this client who had been in the shelter long-term. Well... she moved into her own apartment at the beginning of this month!
How has your work changed the rest of your life? (Do you have a different perspective outside of work? Do you treat people differently?)
I no longer judge people the same way, and no matter what you think, you can face these same challenges in life!
What other profession have you always wanted to try (or what do you plan to do in the future)?
I really wanted to be a coroner. Working with the deceased is the only job where no one has complaints!
What is your favorite spot or thing to do in New York City?
I loving shopping and dining with my children in the city!
If an actress were to play you in a movie, who would it be and why? 
Well to be honest, I’d really have to think about who this because there are so many good actresses in the movies these days. But for now, I’ll say Mrs. H. Berry or Mrs. V.J. Fox.
What one thing would you like colleagues to know about you that they probably don’t already know?
I love my job and enjoy doing it! My door is always open.

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