Education & Career Services

August 2022 – Notes from NMIC

As August rolls by and September looms, many members of our community and their loved ones are preparing for a new school year. There is something about a new school year that screams hope and possibility, and we are excited to share a few stories about learners of all ages. There is no single journey to learning, as we all absorb knowledge differently, and we all face unique challenges and learning curves. The stories we have to offer this month are examples of these distinct learning experiences. 

Learning to Give Back

We are excited to announce that NMIC is launching a back-to-school supply drive for families impacted by domestic violence. Frequently, survivors of domestic violence flee abusive relationships with their children with little or nothing but the clothes on their backs. NMIC’s Domestic Violence Project aims to support survivors of intimate partner violence, and we hope that our back-to-school supply drive will provide a sense of normalcy and help their children succeed in school.  

Our back-to-school supply drive is being driven by NMIC’s Advisory Board, a group of committed volunteers with roots in the neighborhood. They will come together to set up a free store at our office so that families can take the supplies they need for the upcoming school year.  

Supplies can be purchased from our Amazon wish list, dropped off at 45 Wadsworth Avenue, New York, NY 10033 Monday-Thursday from 8 AM– 7 PM and Friday from 8 AM– 2 PM, or you can make a monetary donation on our website.  

We are accepting donations through August 19th, 2022.  

Learning as a First Generation College Student

Graduating as a first-generation college student is a particularly important achievement. Despite the excitement of being an academic trailblazer, the dream of graduating as a first-generation student is often beset by various challenges. Students enter their schools with limited knowledge about how higher education works and can sometimes feel isolated because of the elitism of many colleges and universities. To successfully graduate despite these hurdles and challenges is an awe-inspiring triumph. NMIC’s Operations Assistant, Joanel Sassone, recently graduated from City College as a first-generation college student.  

“Since an early age, I have felt that I was given the mission to change the direction of my family. For this reason, I chose to pursue higher education. I perceive college as a tool of social mobility and a portal of opportunities. As a first-generation college student one of my biggest challenges was overcoming the imposter syndrome. I did not feel worthy of being present in a college setting because I could not articulate myself as well as the other students nor was, I equipped with their advanced vocabulary. I also had to devote time to work to contribute to my family financially. When I graduated, I felt like I broke through a barrier. Despite the emotional and mental toll of navigating a new experience, I became the first person in my family to obtain a bachelor’s degree,” Joanel Sassone said.  

Sassone, in light of his recent accomplishment, also gave us a word of advice to those who are interested in becoming the first in their families to graduate from university, “To young adults interested in pursuing higher education, especially from low-income communities, I would say, never underestimate your potential no matter where you come from.”  

To those interested in pursuing Education & Career Services at NMIC, please click here. NMIC’s Education & Career Services combine real-world skills with high-quality classes.  

 Congratulations Joanel!  

Learning Through Your Journey   

When Victor* came to NMIC in his early 70s, he aspired to find peace, stability, and security in his life, but he had a tough journey ahead of him. He was ready to leave the abusive relationship that he was in, but he did not have secure housing and had several health problems. As an undocumented person, Victor did not qualify for public benefits, which made it difficult to find security in his health and wellbeing.  

He has done a lot to improve his life. He received counseling to cope with the trauma he endured, he filed for a U-Visa petition, received a work permit and a social security card, explored his housing options as an undocumented senior citizen, and more. Victor had to go above and beyond to find his peace, stability, and security, and it took over a decade. Once he was linked to health insurance benefits, he became an empowered advocate for his health and a model patient. In between couch surfing in exchange for light construction work and attending senior centers for most of his meals, he never gave up hope of having a place to call home. 

It took over a decade, but Victor is finally in stable health and has a new apartment to call his home. With time, healing, and access to resources and consistent support, Victor has become more resilient despite the many stressors in his life and has finally found security and stability in his housing and his health. Last March, Victor turned 82 years old and celebrated with NMIC staff at his new apartment. NMIC recognizes that healing is not linear, and community members need sustained connection and support to overcome entrenched barriers and injustices. 

Click here to learn more about NMIC’s Holistic Services.

*Client’s name has been changed.

Learning through Nontraditional Pathways

We are frequently spoon-fed the linear vision of college and higher education in general, but this is not the reality for many members of our community. 40% of college students are 25 years old or older—well out of high school—and many have children of their own, full-time jobs, or both. Adults who wish to pursue higher education frequently are on their own in trying to figure out how to get back to college because there really is not a formal system in place to help them make decisions. The Education & Career Services we offer aim to support students of all ages and learning levels to build the knowledge and skills they need to transition into college, advanced training, or careers. 

Salomon, a former student from NMIC’s General Education Diploma program (GRE), has proven that academic successes occur at all stages of life. As a previous star student in our adult education programming, NMIC honored his hard work at our 2019 benefit. We are now delighted to announce that he is on his way to pursuing higher education at Bronx Community College.  

Salomon, we wish you great success at Bronx Community College and in all your future endeavors. You have an entire team of people rooting for your success.  

Click here to learn more about NMIC’s Education & Career Services.  

NMIC in the News  

  • The New York State Bar Association recently launched a task force to examine historically unequal treatment of the citizens of the U.S. Territories. Among members of the task force is NMIC’s Rodrigo Sanchez-Camus, Director of Legal, Organizing, & Advocacy Services. Click here to read more.  
  • Manhattan Times News recently featured NMIC in an article that highlighted our current back-to-school supplies drive to aid families impacted by domestic violence. “The purpose of this campaign is to alleviate a little bit of the emotional and financial stress many of our families are facing,” Rosanna Montilla-Payano, Director of Development. Click here to read more.  

Observances  

  • August 3rd, Black Women’s Equal Pay Day 
  • August 12th, International Youth Day 
  • August 17th, National Nonprofit Day 
  • August 19th, World Humanitarian Day 

July 2022 – Notes from NMIC

The past few months have been especially difficult for our community. While we condemn the overturning of laws that have kept our neighbors safe and the implementation of new laws that will undoubtedly put many lives at risk, we know that we will get through these recent changes through collective resiliency. We may feel weary of the uncertain future, but we can attest to witnessing many acts of generosity from you all. As a community, we will continue to uplift one another with our steadfast mission acting as our guide; to serve as a catalyst for positive change in the lives of the people in our community on their paths to secure and prosperous futures.  

International Day of Cooperatives & a Generous Donation  

For 100 years, cooperatives around the world have changed lives and built a better world for many. At NMIC, we are proud to have incubated two and on July 2nd, we joined cooperatives all around the world in celebrating the centennial anniversary of the cooperative movement. This year’s #CoopsDay slogan is, “Cooperatives Build a Better World.”  

NMIC worked with community members and partner organizations to develop, launch, and provide ongoing support to worker-owned cooperatives. We currently support two businesses launched largely by immigrants and survivors from our Domestic Violence Project with over $600,000 combined revenue. Worker Cooperatives ensure that workers are provided with living wages and opportunities to develop new skills and assets to their members. 

Our generous donor, Marvin Melendez, who donated 20 vacuum cleaners for the members of Ecomundo, understands the significance of empowering worker cooperatives.

“I come from an immigrant family that struggled to make ends meet. I also know that even the smallest of help can make a big difference as it did mine. I am glad that I can now be in a position to help,” Marvin Melendez.  

Open houses for new cooperative members at NMIC are hosted annually. To apply for membership in the cooperative, click here. To learn more about NMIC’s Worker Cooperative Ownership program, click here.  

BIPOC Mental Health

BIPOC communities are significantly more likely to develop mental health conditions, and often are the ones to face barriers to access mental health support.  

“People of color face a higher risk for mental health needs while receiving less mental health care than any other community, leading to inadequate and unequal access to mental health care. They face a significant number of systemic barriers when seeking care, such as lack of access, lack of culturally competent providers, high costs and insurance issues, stigma, and lack of proximity. Yet when people of color can access equitable care, when their provider speaks their language and is responsive and inclusive to their culture, when costs are accessible, mental health services offer not just a chance for individual growth and healing, but for broader societal and systemic change as well,” Santiago Marquez Ramos, Co-Coordinator of Wellness Services.  

Click here to find out how to access our mental health services.  

Your Vote Has Power

What better way to celebrate the month of July than to exercise your right as a citizen to sign up to vote? To register to vote in New York, you can register in-person at your county board of elections or at any New York State Agency-Based voter registration center, you can submit your voter application form at the Department of Motor Vehicles, either in person or on their website if you already have DMV-issued identification, you can request a New York State Voter Registration form by mail, or you can call 1-800-FOR-VOTE (1-800-367-8683) hotline to request a voter application. Click here to learn more.  If you are already registered to vote and would like to search for your poll site, click here.

We would like to encourage you all to vote on the NYS Senate and Congressional Races that will be taking place on August 23rd.

Our Youth & Their Business Pitch

To build a better collective future, we need to empower the next generations. In 2014, the United Nations General Assembly designated July 15th as World Youth Skills Day, to celebrate the importance of equipping young people with skills for employment, decent work, and entrepreneurship. At NMIC we accomplish just that through YouthBuild a paid five-month intensive vocational, education, and leadership development program for young adults aged 17-24. Over the course of their training, students work on a business pitch project, which they deliver to a panel of judges for a chance to win provisions for their business. Congratulations to all of our participants who are imagining and creating a brighter future for us all.  

Click here to learn more about NMIC’s YouthBuild.  

Back-to-School Drive 

NMIC is launching a special project this summer—a back-to school drive for families affected by domestic violence. NMIC aims to support survivors of intimate partner violence, and we hope that a back-to-school drive will provide their children with a sense of normalcy on their first day back to school. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, to stay up to date with the drive’s launch.  

NMIC in the News

  • Our Executive Director, Maria Lizardo, was recently featured in NYNMedia where she and Wayne Ho, President & CEO of the Chinese-American Planning Council, spoke about why human service workers deserve our continued investment. “Currently, the state of New York is facing a human services crisis, with compensation discrepancies that are putting unsustainable pressure on the people who work tirelessly to keep their communities afloat. Unfortunately, if we don’t act fast, we risk putting the entire human services system in New York and the New Yorkers who rely on this system in jeopardy.” Click here to read more.

Observances

  • BIPOC Mental Health Month  
  • July 2, International Day of Cooperatives 
  • July 4, Independence Day 
  • July 15, World Youth Skills Day 

May 2022 – Notes from NMIC

In this newsletter, you’ll read more about…  

  • Tchima and her journey of becoming a US Citizen.  
  • Prudential Global Investment Management’s visit to NMIC’s YouthBuild.  
  • Our wonderful evening with the first ever cohort of NMIC’s Advisory Board.   
  • NMIC’s Spark Collective, our community of monthly donors.  
  • Distributing COVID-19 test kits with DoorDash and nutritious food with Figma.  

Meet Tchima  

Tchima has been dedicated to achieving her goal of becoming a US citizen. Over the past year, she has been attending NMIC’s citizenship classes for preparation. Through these courses, Tchima practiced for her citizenship interview with NMIC staff, received case management, and counseling support, learned about American Civics to prepare for the written portion of her citizenship test, and gained confidence in her ability to pass her test. We are excited to announce she has accomplished her dream of becoming a citizen and has attended her Oath of Allegiance ceremony.  

“My citizenship course ended on February 10, and it was very interesting and informative because I learned a lot about the history of the United States, which helped me a lot to pass my citizenship interview today,”  Tchima Souley.  

Congratulations Tchima!  

PGIM Visits NMIC and Awards a Secondment 

Prudential Global Investment Management (PGIM) teamed up with NMIC to provide volunteers for our YouthBuild program, an education and leadership development program for young adults aged 17-24. Over the next few months, YouthBuild students will work with PGIM volunteers to gain new skills and knowledge that will prepare them for the workforce.

PGIM volunteers will run workshops on leadership training topics which will include how to deliver a business pitch, how to utilize PowerPoint presentations during meetings, how to perfect presentation skills, and more.

We are also delighted to announce a PGIM’s San Franscico secondment which means we’ll be hosting a PGIM professional on our YouthBuild program starting in June.  

Our Evening with NMIC’s Advisory Board  

This spring NMIC staff members met with our first Advisory Board cohort to celebrate, network, and discuss our future working together. We met for an evening of fun, laughter, and planning. NAB plays a significant role in developing awareness of our programming and providing opportunities for growth and gathering in the community.

Welcome to NMIC!  

NMIC’s Spark Collective 

NMIC’s Spark Collective is a community of committed recurring donors on a mission to ensure that all New Yorkers have access to tools and resources needed to lead secure and prosperous lives. Our monthly giving program is the easiest way to provide steady support for our ongoing work. When we receive reliable monthly donations, we can plan and develop our wrap-around services that directly benefit the lives of 14,000 annually and impact 32,000.  

“I am a resident of Washington Heights and a pediatrician in the neighborhood. Because of this, I know firsthand how useful the services at NMIC are to our community. My husband and I wanted to give locally to an organization that we knew and NMIC was the perfect choice for us. After two years of the pandemic, there couldn’t be a more important time to support and uplift this organization and this community,” Presley Nichols, member of NMIC’s Spark Collective.  

In addition, Members of the Spark Collective can take advantage of one-time volunteer opportunities like participating in professional speaking panels (based on your area of expertise), invitations to agency milestones celebrations, and professional networking events. 

Click here to learn about NMIC’s Spark Collective.  

Our Morning with DoorDash and Figma 

On April 29th, DoorDash partnered with NMIC to provide and distribute COVID-19 test kits to our community members during our food pantry programming. As we are seeing a spike in cases, we need to make sure that our communities are armed with what they need to continue to stay safe. Simultaneously, the Figma team came together to sort, pack, and distribute food to community members facing food insecurity. It is through partnerships like these that we can support clients holistically.

Thank you for your help, DoorDash and Figma!  

NMIC in the Press 

  • Hundreds rallied outside of City Hall; demanding fair pay for city contracted non-profit workers. At the rally, NMIC Executive Director Maria Lizardo stated, “Everything has gone up except our salaries. So, we need that $21 an hour as the minimum.” Click here to read more.  
  • After a 5-month delay, NYC health department adopts new federal rules on childhood lead exposure. NMIC Staff Attorney Matthew Chachere filed a successful petition with the Board of Health to lower the action level for interventions for lead poisoning. Click here to read more. 

Observances

  • Mental Health Month  
  • Asian Pacific American Heritage Month 
  • Jewish Americans History Month 
  • Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month 
  • Tuesday, May 3rd, National Teachers Appreciation Day 
  • Thursday, May 5th, Cinco de Mayo, and Mother’s Equal Pay Day 
  • Sunday, May 8th, Mother’s Day 
  • Wednesday, May 25th, George Floyd Memorial Day 
  • Sunday, May 29th, Dominican Mother’s Day  
  • Monday, May 30th, Memorial Day 

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