Health

Exploring Black Art and Mental Health: Celebrating Black History Month

As we commemorate Black History Month, we proudly embrace this year’s theme, “African Americans and the Arts, ” which emphasizes the profound influence of African American culture across various artistic domains. From literature to visual arts, Black creators have used creativity to preserve history, amplify voices, and cultivate healing within their communities. 

In New York City, there are countless ways to celebrate and immerse yourself in the works of African American artists. Whether attending literary gatherings at the New York Public Library, discovering the narratives of remarkable Black women through initiatives by The NYC Department of Parks & Recreation, delving into the complexities of Black history and migration at The Tenement Museum, or exploring The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s groundbreaking exhibition on the Harlem Renaissance and Transatlantic Modernism, there are many ways to enjoy the creativity of Black artists. 

Amidst our celebration of Black artistry, we recognize the imperative of addressing mental health challenges within the Black community. Despite advancements in mental health awareness, stigma and systemic barriers persist, impeding access to vital resources. According to recent data from Mental Health America, African Americans are disproportionately affected by mental health disparities, experiencing higher rates of psychological distress and facing significant obstacles in accessing culturally competent care. Over 7 million African Americans reported experiencing a mental illness in the past year; that is more people than the populations of Chicago, Houston, and Philadelphia combined. 

In acknowledgment of these realities, we are committed to fostering dialogue and action around mental health advocacy. We are excited to invite you to our upcoming “Arte y Bienestar” event, hosted by NMIC’s Wellness Team. Scheduled for Wednesday, March 13, 2024, from 3:00-4:30 PM, these gatherings promise to provide a nurturing space for individuals to explore artistic expression as a means of self-care and healing.

Let’s come together to celebrate the important work of Black artists, while also advocating for equal access to mental health support and empowerment within our communities.  Click here to RSVP. We hope to see you there!  

Exploring Black Art and Mental Health: Celebrating Black History Month Read More »

September 2023 – Notes from NMIC

With the changing of the seasons comes a wave of new beginnings, and our September newsletter is filled with stories that reflect the spirit of renewal, resilience, and community.  

We are excited to share an inspiring client success story that illustrates the transformative power of essential programming, a grant announcement to share, Doña Agripina’s street naming ceremony, and an exciting preview of the Bride’s March—a symbol of solidarity and remembrance.  

As we embrace the changing season, let us also embrace the opportunities for growth, connection, and positive change that it brings. 

Honoring the Legacy of Doña Agripina: A Street Naming Celebration 

Upon retiring from NMIC, Diogenes Abreu, a former staff member, teamed up with District 7 Councilmember Shawn Abreu to commemorate the memory of the esteemed community leader, Doña Agripina, by naming a street in her honor. 

Doña Agripina, a distinguished former member of Unidad Comunal—an independent organization receiving organizational support from NMIC—, and a tenant leader at her building’s tenant association, left an indelible mark on our community. Her extraordinary leadership within Unidad Comunal, characterized by a remarkable record of achievements, stands as a testament to her unwavering dedication. Leaders like Doña Agripina embody the very spirit of community-driven change. 

As we pay tribute to Doña Agripina, our hearts are heavy with the loss we’ve endured. During the recent street-naming ceremony, heartfelt testimonials underscored her pivotal role within Unidad Comunal and the broader community. Her legacy now graces our streets, a perpetual reminder in the hearts of those fortunate enough to have known her. 

This heartwarming homage to Doña Agripina serves as a poignant reminder of the profound impact that every member of our community can make. We are deeply appreciative of having played a role in this meaningful initiative and hold immense admiration for the enduring legacy she leaves behind. 

Meet Erica* 

Meet Erica*, a member of the community who sought help from NMIC’s Benefit Access program for the Senior Citizen Rent Increase Exemption. When she approached us to renew her lease, something seemed amiss. Her paperwork revealed that she had been overpaying her landlord, but these extra payments didn’t show upon her balance sheet. Erica had been losing money each month without realizing it. 

Our team took immediate action to help Erica. We organized the necessary documents and paperwork, guided her through the process, and coached Erica on effective self-advocacy techniques to communicate effectively with her landlord.  

Just five days later, she returned with great news—it worked! Thanks to her determination and our guidance, Erica paid $314 for her rent that month, a significant reduction from her previous payments.  

Erica’s incredible journey reminds us of the profound difference programs like NMIC’s Benefits Access can make. It’s not just about lending a helping hand; it’s about giving people the tools to take control of their financial well-being. We’re firm believers in turning financial obstacles into steppingstones for personal growth, and Erica’s accomplishment exemplifies our unwavering dedication to that mission. 

Click here to learn more about NMIC’s Benefits Access services.  

*Name has been changed to safeguard anonymity. 

North Star Fund Supports Unidad Comunal 

We are so grateful to the North Star Fund for their unwavering support of social justice initiatives, particularly those led by communities of color striving to empower themselves in New York City and Hudson Valley. Their investment of grassroots organizing has had a profound impact on our community, specifically through their support of Unidad Comunal—an alliance comprising tenant associations, block associations, and community members committed to enhancing the quality of life in Washington Heights and Inwood. As a vital partner, Unidad Comunal receives invaluable organizational support from NMIC. 

Their commitment to grassroots organizing has made a profound impact on our community, specifically through their support of Unidad Comunal—an alliance of tenant associations, block associations, and neighbors dedicated to elevating the quality in Washington Heights and Inwood. As a crucial partner, Unidad Comunal receives invaluable organizing support from NMIC. 

Unidad Comunal is driven by the core tenets of “Unite, Educate, and Work.” Our overarching goal is to transform New York into a place where low-income immigrants and residents no longer find themselves in perpetual struggles for access to quality housing, essential amenities, vital services, and fair wages. Our vision is to forge a city where these fundamental necessities are as accessible as they are for non-immigrant and more affluent communities. In partnership with North Star Fund, we are actively and purposefully advancing towards the realization of this vision of equity and justice. 

Click here to learn more about Unidad Comunal. 

Fostering Hope during Suicide Prevention Month 

Throughout Suicide Prevention Month, NMIC’s Wellness Program shines as a source of hope and support for our community. Our program is devoted to screening clients for mental health needs and connecting them to lifesaving treatment at no cost, positively touching the lives of more than 800 community members each year.  

September serves as a poignant reminder of the utmost significance of accessing mental health resources, especially within BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) communities who bear the burden of systemic trauma and displacement. These challenges often impede our community members’ ability to thrive in their communities leading to disparities in both access to and quality of mental health care. With suicide positioned as a leading cause of death in the United States, we are resolute in our commitment to create access to mental health wellness. 

“Millions of people in the U.S. are impacted by mental health concerns each year. Now more than ever, it is crucial for our community to take care of our emotional and psychological wellbeing by taking advantage of mental health resources available to them. NMIC’s Wellness Program aims to dismantle systemic barriers to community mental health care by offering free, bilingual, culturally responsive mental health services. By doing so, our dedicated mental health team meets individuals where they’re at in their healing journey by empowering them to be the best version of themselves,” Rauly Chero, NMIC Co-Coordinator of Wellness Services. 

If you or someone you know is struggling or in crisis, help is available. Call or text 988 or chat 988lifeline.org, the suicide and crisis lifeline. To learn more about how to access NMIC’s Wellness Program, click here.  

Cafecito con Maria 

This September, our hearts will unite to remember Gladys Ricart, a beloved mother and sister, and all the lives tragically lost to the horrors of domestic violence at Brides’ March. Gladys Ricart’s life was tragically cut short by the hands of her abusive former boyfriend on what should have been her wedding day. The Brides’ March has become a powerful annual tradition, with a sea of white dresses marching down the streets of Upper Manhattan and neighboring Bronx communities to honor the lives lost to domestic violence. Through these collective efforts, the aim is to disseminate bilingual resources pertaining to domestic violence, fostering awareness and solidarity within the communities our journey touches. Our hope is to inspire other communities across the nation to join this movement, illuminating the strength and resilience of survivors.  

Event Details

Date: Tuesday, September 26, 2023 

Location: Holyrood Episcopal Church, 715W 179th Street, New York, NY 10033 

Schedule

Gathering: 8:00 AM 

Opening Ceremony: 9:00 AM 

March Begins: 10:30 AM 

Everyone is welcome to participate. We encourage participants to bring any size picture of the person whose life you want to honor as we march together against domestic violence. To help us prepare for all participants, please register here. Before joining us, please take a moment to review the disclosure page about participating in the march.  

NMIC in the News: 

  • Our Executive Director, Maria Lizardo, LMSW, who also serves on the board of the National Dominican Day Parade (NatDDP), and Cristina Contreras, NatDDP’s Board Chair, shared insights with ABC7 on August 13th about this year’s parade theme, “Our History, Our People.” Click here to read more.
  • On September 14th, Spectrum Noticias NY1 wrote an article on NMIC’s Back-to-School supply drive for families impacted by domestic violence. Click here to read more. 

Observances: 

  • Hunger Action Month 
  • Latinx Heritage Month  
  • September 4, Labor Day 
  • September 8, Native Women’s Equal Pay Day 
  • September 11th, 9/11, Day of Remembrance and Service 
  • September 19, National Voter Registration Day  
  • September 26, Bride’s March 

September 2023 – Notes from NMIC Read More »

July 2023 – Notes from NMIC

Welcome to our July newsletter, where we celebrate the vibrant tapestry of our community and the significant events that shape our journey. In this edition, we dive into the empowering stories and impactful initiatives surrounding BIPOC Mental Health Month, the joyful spirit of the Dominican Day Parade, the importance of World Youth Skills Day in shaping our future leaders, and the recent developments in the affirmative action decision day. Join us as we explore these inspiring narratives that highlight the resilience and progress within our diverse community. 

Honoring Sandra Harris at The National Dominican Day Parade 

Join us in commemorating the remarkable achievements of NMIC Board Member Sandra Harris, Associate Vice President for Government and Community Affairs at Columbia University Irving Medical Center, as she is honored at The National Dominican Day Parade. This vibrant event marks the 41st Anniversary of the Parade and is a celebration of the richness of Dominican culture, folklore, and popular traditions. It serves as a platform to highlight, promote, and acknowledge the invaluable heritage and contributions of the Dominican community in the United States and around the world. Let us come together in unity and rejoice in Sandra’s outstanding accomplishments. We invite you to join us on Sunday, August 13th, as we fill the streets of 6th Avenue, embracing the theme of ‘Nuestra Historia, Nuestra Gente; Our History, Our People.’ 

Click here to learn more about The National Dominican Day Parade.  

July is BIPOC Mental Health Month 

NMIC’s Wellness Program provides free mental health screenings to community members and facilitate their connection to the necessary support. Each year, our initiative reaches and screens over 800 clients, ensuring their mental health needs are not only recognized, but also compassionately addressed. The month of July is especially significant because we observe BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) Mental Health Awareness Month, a time dedicated to recognizing and addressing the distinct mental health challenges and requirements faced by BIPOC individuals. While mental illness can affect individuals from all backgrounds, this month sheds light on the unique experiences of the BIPOC communities. Shockingly, according to the NYS Office of Mental Health, only one in three African Americans in need of mental health care receive the support they require. Our commitment to supporting BIPOC communities drives us to break down the barriers that often hinder access to vital mental health treatment.  

Click here to learn more about NMIC’s Wellness Program.  

Celebrating World Youth Skills Day 

NMIC’s YouthBuild program stands as a champion for providing and facilitating employment and entrepreneurial skills opportunities to youth in our community who aspire to reach their full potential. Our five-month paid opportunity caters to young people between the ages of 17 and 24 who are unemployed and out-of-school. We help participants reclaim their education, gain the skills they need for employment, and become leaders in the community. 

According to a 2021 study by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a significant portion of minimum wage workers are young individuals. In fact, workers under the age of 25 accounted for 44% of individuals receiving the federal minimum wage or less. The statistics highlight the challenges faced by young workers, who grapple with the pressing issue of securing jobs that offer livable wages. Compounding the situation, the persistently high unemployment rates, surpassing pre-pandemic levels, further exacerbate the challenges faced by these individuals in their pursuit of meaningful employment. 

The comprehensive support services we provide play a crucial role in enabling us to empower young individuals who encounter obstacles, not just in obtaining employment, but also in providing them with the essential support to maintain stable employment and acquire the skills necessary for work and entrepreneurship. We recognize the tremendous potential of young people as agents of positive transformation and commit to equipping them with the resources and prospects needed to build prosperous and sustainable futures. Ensuring their access to education and career services stands as one of the most effective approaches to support the youth. 

Click here to learn more about NMIC’s YouthBuild.  

Affirmative Action: Statement from Maria Lizardo

On July 4th, Americans across the nation came together to commemorate Independence Day. However, this year’s celebration was accompanied by a complex backdrop as the Supreme Court had recently ruled to reverse affirmative action. This decision marked the end of colleges and universities being able to consider race as one of the factors in their admissions process. The ruling has stirred deep concern and disappointment among those who hold dear the principles of equality and inclusivity.  

While the full consequences of this decision may take time to unfold, it is crucial to acknowledge its potential impact. Previous research, such as a 2013 study conducted by Harvard, has shown that the elimination of affirmative action in certain states led to a noticeable decline in workforce diversity. These findings underscore the significance of affirmative action in fostering an inclusive work environment.  

We firmly condemn this recent ruling, recognizing the fundamental importance of equal opportunity for all individuals within our nation. It is essential to address the concerns surrounding this decision and comprehend the potential ramifications it has for our social progress. We firmly believe that diversity is a crucial element for the future excellence of our country and the world as a whole. As we reflect on this past Independence Day, we express our hope that meaningful discussions and exploration of alternative strategies will ensue, ensuring the continual advancement of a society that upholds the principles of equality, opportunity, and progress. 

Cafecito con Maria 

In the months leading up to Mayor Adam’s final agreement with the City Council for the budget of Fiscal Year 2023, numerous organizations across the boroughs, including NMIC, joined forces with the Human Services Council (HSC) to champion a crucial cause—a cost of living adjustment (COLA). Regrettably, the Fiscal Year 2023 budget only allocates $40 million for a workforce enhancement program for the 125,000 contracted workers in the human services sector. This agreement falls short of meeting the pressing needs of these workers, with two-thirds of them living near poverty.  

It is unacceptable that human service workers are subjected to inadequate pay, insufficient benefits, and limited opportunities for career advancement. Over the past year, in collaboration with HSC, our dedicated team at NMIC has undertaken various initiatives to advocate for change. We have orchestrated impactful social media campaigns, penned thought-provoking opinion pieces, and swiftly responded to the unfolding events with our statements. Our Executive Director, Maria Lizardo, LMSW, played a pivotal role as the emcee at one of the largest rallies ever witnessed during this mayoralty. She exemplified unwavering dedication by participating in an overnight protest outside City Hall, a bold act that no other advocate attempted this year. Maria also attended another rally the following day, showcasing our consistent and resolute stance. Throughout this budget negotiation, we have remained steadfast in highlighting the high stakes and the imperative need for a COLA to ensure true equity and accessibility in New York.  

We refuse to allow this setback to deter our progress. Together, we will persist in our fight to eradicate government-sanctioned poverty wages for human service workers.  

Click here to learn more about the #JustPay campaign.

Observances 

  • BIPOC Mental Health Month 
  • July 1, International Day of Cooperatives 
  • July 4, Independence Day 
  • July 15, World Youth Skills Day 

July 2023 – Notes from NMIC Read More »

January 2023 – Notes from NMIC

January is a month that marks new beginnings for many. For others, like us, it is a reminder of the commitment we have made to you, which is 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. Join us in honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. by recognizing the profound impact he achieved throughout the world by calling out for the improvement of the well-being of our communities. Dr. King once said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.” Our community members need access to the tools to secure long-term and large-scale improvements to their lives. His dreams have continued to influence the world long after his passing, and NMIC’s wrap-around services aim to optimize those dreams.  

Martin Luther King Jr. Day: National Day of Service 

On Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the entire nation reflected upon the life and work of Dr. King, who was a Baptist minister and prominent leader in the American civil rights movement. MLK Day serves multiple purposes each year: It honors the legacy of King, focuses on the issue of civil rights, and calls people into public service. To honor the civil rights icon, New Yorkers across the city took time to perform a day of service to remember King’s teachings on justice, peace, love, community, and equality. Let us all honor these teachings not only on MLK day, but every day of the year, as we fight for a New York where all community members can access secure and prosperous futures. 

If you are interested in volunteering for NMIC to serve as a catalyst for positive change in our community, please fill out a volunteer form here.  

High School Students Organized a Clothing Drive for NMIC’s DVP 

Young activists at The Clinton School from the Clinton Students Demand Action group reached out to us last month because they wanted to organize a winter clothing drive for our domestic violence survivors. Their high school action group was created to fight against gun violence, and the apparent links between domestic violence and firearm ownership.  

“Clinton Students Demand Action is honored to work with NMIC and host a drive at our school. We acknowledge the overlap between domestic violence and gun violence, and we are committed to helping our community,” Sofia Dib-Gomez, Clinton Students Demand Action.  

We are deeply touched by their gesture and generosity of the student volunteers, and we are impressed by their commitment to their advocacy work for gun safety legislation.  

Click here to learn more about Students Demand Action.  

Mount Sinai’s Black Women Leaders Connect 

One of the wonderful things about the holiday season is the opportunity to give to others, which is exactly what Mount Sinai’s Black Women Leaders Connect did last month. Black Women Leaders Connection is a collective of executive and senior-level Black women administrative leaders with a mission to nurture and guide women within their communities. The collective graciously donated gift funds for the purchase of gift cards this month so that families experiencing domestic violence could celebrate Three Kings’ Day.   

Donations like this help give survivors the tools and autonomy they need to build secure and prosperous futures. Click here to learn more about NMIC’s Domestic Violence Project and click here to donate today.  

DoorDash Delivers Good  

We are excited to join forces again with DoorDash through their Community Credits program! Community Credits provides DoorDash gift cards directly to nonprofit organizations to empower the communities they serve, reduce food insecurity, and expand programs and that access to opportunity, and we are delighted to make these available to the students in our Education & Career Services program. With this partnership, we’ll be providing meals to our community members. Sara Chapman, our Director of Education & Career Services, said, “Participants are not only thankful for the unexpected generosity, but also because they found the assistance very valuable in having the choice on how to nourish themselves.”

To learn more about how you can partner with us, visit our more ways to give webpage.

Promise NYC: All Children, Regardless of Immigration Status, Deserve Quality Childcare 

Promise NYC is a program funded by New York City that will cover the cost of childcare for children who are ineligible for federally subsidized services due to their immigration status. All children deserve the opportunity to succeed, and we hope that this program will alleviate stress for undocumented parents.  

“Insurmountable childcare costs are often a barrier to families seeking access to education, employment, and stable housing. That burden is particularly heavy for immigrant families who are ineligible for assistance. NMIC is proud to partner with the Administration of Children’s Services to offer childcare assistance to undocumented parents and children in our community; assistance that will alleviate families’ childcare cost burden so they can work toward secure and prosperous futures,” Maria Lizardo, LMSW, Executive Director.  

We want to thank all the elected officials who advocated tirelessly for this program. The city has contracted four community organizations that will oversee selecting immigrant families who need help with care of their children. Center for Family Life will serve families in Brooklyn, NMIC will serve families in the Bronx and Manhattan, La Colmena will serve families in Staten Island, and the Chinese American Planning Council will serve families in Queens. 

Click here to learn more about Promise NYC.  

NMIC in the News 

  • City Limits recently wrote an article on Promise NYC, a $10 million program that aims to care for 600 children between January and June 2023. The city has contacted four community organizations that will oversee selecting immigrant families who need help with care of their children, one of which is NMIC. Click here to read more.  
  • Life in the largely Black and Latino communities of northern Manhattan is significantly shorter than it is elsewhere in New York City. In fact, residents of central and east Harlem can expect to live four to five years fewer, on average, than people in the rest of the city, according to the New York City Department of Mental Health and Hygiene. Columbia University Irving Medical Center recently wrote an article on their work addressing health disparities through partnerships with local organizations, including NMIC. Click here to read more.  

Observances 

  • Stalking Awareness Month 
  • January 1, New Year’s Day 
  • January 6, Día de los Reyes 
  • January 9, First Anniversary of the Tragic Fire in the Bronx 
  • January 16, Martin Luther King Jr. Day 
  • January 24, International Day of Education  
  • January 27, International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust 

Click here to get NMIC’s monthly newsletter straight to your inbox and be the first to know about upcoming events, volunteer opportunities, and big announcements.

Click here to serve as a catalyst for positive change by donating today.

January 2023 – Notes from NMIC Read More »

December 2022 – Notes from NMIC

As the year ends, and with a fresh new one coming up, the final days of December are the perfect time to reflect on our wonderful community and everything we have achieved together this past year. We are proud of our collective successes, your dedication, and unrelenting commitment to our community even in the most challenging of times. We wish you all a peaceful festive season, as we look forward to a new year. 

Our offices will be closed for Winter Break from Friday, December 23, 2022 through Monday, January 2, 2023. The buildings at 45 Wadsworth and 8 Clinton Place will be closed during this time.

Remember Joey? 

Joey Fernandez is an alum from NMIC’s GED/HSE program— like many teenagers his age, Joey had dreams and a supportive family. He found high school overwhelming, and he dropped out at age 14. He took the initiative to sign up for NMIC’s GED & Adult Basic Education to gain access to educational opportunities.  

“I dropped out of high school at 14 and was struggling to find my place in the world. Through NMIC’s GED/HSE program, I gained the academic tools necessary to continue my education. I also found mentors who helped me earn my GED, do well in community college, and get accepted to Georgetown University,” said Joey in 2018. 

We are excited to announce that Joey not only has graduated from Georgetown University for undergraduate and Columbia University for his graduate degree, in October 2022, he was assigned to be a diplomat for the Philippines. We are incredibly proud of Joey’s accomplishments, and all that the future has in store for him.  

Join us in congratulating Joey!  

The NYIC is keeping us warm this season  

When the weather gets colder—boots, sweaters, coats, and thick socks are a necessity to get through a winter in New York City. That is why we are so grateful for The New York Immigration Coalition (NYIC) who have recently provided an in-kind donation of winter apparel.  

“No New Yorker should have to face winter in the city without warm clothes. Providing coats and winter clothes to the recently arrived asylum seekers and low-income New York families is how we ensure our communities stay safe and healthy. We thank NMIC for partnering with us to ensure the clothing we collected got into the hands of families most in need,” Jennifer Diaz, Manager of Community Engagement, NYIC.  

On behalf of all those we serve, thank you NYIC!  

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

Season of Giving 

Lissette is a proud mother, an aspiring writer, and a dedicated student. She is a single parent from Washington Heights who originally came to NMIC’s office for assistance with applying for housing and benefits. When she found out that NMIC also offered adult education services, she realized that her long-term goal of acquiring a GED was financially accessible and turned her dream into action.  

“To me, a GED means a whole lot—it means that I am an educated person, and no one can tell me otherwise. I’m doing it for myself, and I know that it will help me feel complete,” she told us. 

The pandemic revealed to us how crucial digital literacy is for employment, civic and cultural participation, and accessing essential services in our society—it is no longer a want, but a need. Over 70% of U.S. jobs now require middle to high level digital skills, yet one in six working-age Americans are unable to use email, web search, or other basic online tools.  

Please consider donating today to help clients like Lissette follow their dreams. Access to education is an everlasting gift.  

Join NMIC’s Advisory Board (NAB) 

NMIC is looking for dedicated professionals committed to our mission to join our Advisory Board. Participants will enhance their resumes, fulfill their passion to serve, and gain hands-on volunteer experience. NAB members will have opportunities to interact with our staff and network with the Board of Directors as they support NMIC’s overall goals through social media, individual fundraising, service activities, and fundraising events.  

To apply, fill out this application and send your resume to NAB@nmic.org.   

NMIC’s Holiday Swag 

Tis’ the season of giving! Our holiday sale is still in motion, and your purchase directly supports our mission and everything you value from NMIC. 

Our design depicts West 167th and Juan Rodriguez Way. Juan Rodriguez was one of the first documented non-indigenous inhabitants to live in Manhattan Island and is considered the first non-native resident of what would eventually become New York City. In October 2012, the New York City Council enacted legislation to name Broadway from 159th Street to 218th Street in Manhattan after Juan Rodríguez. 
 
The neighborhoods of Washington Heights and Inwood in Upper Manhattan have a substantial Dominican community. Rodriguez was born in The Captaincy General of Santo Domingo which now is the Dominican Republic. We are thrilled to celebrate the contributions and experiences of our Dominican and immigrant neighbors by featuring the Juan Rodriguez Way Street sign. 

Click here to make a purchase today!  

Cafecito Con Maria 

In the last days of the year, our Executive Director, Maria Lizardo, LMSW, celebrated the accomplishments of other New York-based nonprofit organizations by attending dedicated events.  

Last month, Maria attended the West Side Campaign Against Hunger (WSCAH)’s Plentiful Plates event and spent an evening celebrating our wonderful partner and collaborator organization. Along with WSCAH, we host monthly food pantries to those facing food insecurity.  

Later, Maria volunteered at our sister organization, Community League of the Heights (CLOTH159), as they distributed food to 330 families. We are always excited to support CLOTH 159 and their dedication to supporting and empowering New Yorkers from Northern Manhattan and adjacent Bronx neighborhoods.  

Maria also attended various galas to acknowledge the great accomplishments of other organizations in New York City. On November 14th, Maria attended Columbia University Irving Medical Center’s 13th annual Crown Awards Gala. The evening highlighted Columbia’s key community health programs to improve outcomes and care for all. CUIMC’s Crown Award was presented to Pfizer for their partnership with CUIMC to help increase the involvement of historically marginalized groups in clinical trials.  

Finally, on December 7th, Maria attended Human Service Council (HSC)’s annual gala that honored Dr. Jeremy C. Kohomban, the President and CEO of The Children’s Village, and Claude M. Millman, Partner at Kostelanetz LLP. We are active members of HSC and their ongoing mission of strengthening New York’s nonprofit human services sector, to ensure that New Yorkers from all walks of life can reach their full potential, and we would like to congratulate this year’s honorees. We also proudly participate in HSC’s #JustPay advocacy efforts and join them in their fight to end government-sanctioned poverty wages for human services workers and look forward to our work together this upcoming year. 

NMIC in the News 

  • Last month, Spectrum Noticias wrote an article on NMIC’s November food pantry. María Lizardo, LMSW, director of NMIC, says she has seen an increase in people signing up to receive food pantries in recent months, which is why our delivery was so important last month. “Today we are going to deliver a turkey, despite the normality, which includes carrots, spaghetti, rice, but turkey is so expensive, and we know that many families might not have turkeys next Thursday and we are very proud to that through our volunteers,” explained Lizardo. Click here to read more.  
  • New York City is increasing access to subsidized childcare for hundreds of undocumented children. Mayor Adams announced on Wednesday a $10 million childcare assistance program for families who are otherwise ineligible for federal subsidies because of their immigration status. The Administration for Children Services is contracting with four local organizations with ties to immigrant communities in each borough — who will connect families with monthly subsidy payments, and help parents identify child-care providers and enroll their children. The organizations include the Center for Family Life in Brooklyn, NMIC in the Bronx and Manhattan, La Colmena on Staten Island, and the Chinese American Planning Council in Queens. Click here to read more.  

Observances 

  • Month of Giving  
  • December 10, Human Rights Day  
  • December 18, International Migrants Day  
  • December 31, New Year’s Eve  

Click here to get NMIC’s monthly newsletter straight to your inbox and be the first to know about upcoming events, volunteer opportunities, and big announcements!

Click here to serve as a catalyst for positive change by donating today.

December 2022 – Notes from NMIC Read More »

November 2022 – Notes from NMIC

Gratitude is more than just expressing one’s thanks—gratitude can be expressed as an act that can carry the strength of shifting perspectives. Through gratitude, we recognize all the positive aspects of our lives. For this November’s newsletter, we are highlighting the wonderful happenings in our community, and the many ways in which our collective work has been uplifted through awards, partnerships, and you, our supporters.  

D.A. Bragg Announces Creation of the Office’s First Housing & Tenant Protection Unit 

Last month, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin L. Bragg, Jr., announced the creation of the Office’s first ever Housing & Tenant Protection Unit. The conference for its release took place at NMIC’s Manhattan office, as we are very supportive of the inception of this unit. We are optimistic that this launch will help with members of our community remove the obstacles that keep them from enjoying housing security, as it will focus on the harassment of rent-regulated tenants, deed fraud, and defrauding of government subsidy programs by landlords and developers. 

“New York City is in the midst of a housing crisis, and that means tenants are particularly vulnerable to unscrupulous landlords,” said District Attorney Bragg. “By taking a targeted approach to complex and pervasive criminal activity, we can root out the bad actors who are seeking to game the system for profit at the expense of ordinary New Yorkers. The creation of this unit represents our firm commitment to fully utilizing the resources of our office to ensure Manhattan residents can exercise the right to live safely and securely.”  

Read more here

We Partnered with DoorDash and Constantinople & Vallone Consulting for Our November Food Pantry! 

It’s the season of giving, and at NMIC, that means providing meals to hundreds of families during the holiday season through our food pantry services. Securing and distributing these meals was only possible through our partnerships with DoorDash and Constantinople & Vallone Consulting, who not only secured hundreds of meals for our community, but also provided volunteers for one of our busiest food pantries of the year.  

“New York City continues to face challenges with food access, which is particularly evident in low-income communities of color. We are proud to support NMIC’s efforts to address food insecurity in Upper Manhattan and adjacent Bronx neighborhoods. Effective collaborations and partnerships are key in our mission of empowering local economies, so that no one should have to be concerned about where the next meal will come from,” Ivan Garcia, Senior Manager of Public Engagement, DoorDash.  

“NMIC is an amazing organization that really stepped up during the pandemic for the communities they serve. We are proud to support you and the November food pantry in this time of need. As a family rooted firm, we are grateful for the opportunity to partner with NMIC to help families celebrate the holidays around a good meal,” Jake Potent, Managing Director, Constantinople & Vallone Consulting.  

We have one last food pantry of the year, and we would like to provide as much as we can to families looking for help during the 2022 holiday season. Hundreds of families rely on NMIC’s emergency food pantry services to help them celebrate a holiday meal. Would you consider donating today to support our food pantry services? Together, we can alleviate food insecurity in our neighborhoods this season.  

Click here to donate today.  

NMIC Was Selected to Receive an Empire Award 

Last month, NMIC was honored by New York State Senator Robert Jackson with an Empire Award, along with 15 other Upper Manhattan community organizations, in recognition of our act of solidarity during the pandemic’s peak, our contributions to working-class communities, and our continued commitment to deliver resources in aiding their full recovery.  

We would like to congratulate each organization honored for their unwavering commitment to serving the communities of District 31 throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and present: Altagracia Fath & Justice Works, Centro Evangelistico Pantry, Community League of the Heights, Fort Washington Collegiate Church, Girl Scout Troop #3205, Jewish Community Council, Holy Rood Church, Manhattan Legal Services, Oyate Group, PA’LANTE Harlem, Ryan Health, St. Stephen’s United Methodist Church, Washington Heights and Inwood Council on Aging, and West Side Campaign Against Hunger.  

Please join us in congratulating these organizations for their act of solidarity and leadership!  

Thank You Royal Business Bank! 

We have recently received a grant of $6,500 from Royal Business Bank to support our Education & Career Services!  

NMIC plans to use this grant to address the unjust and disproportionate financial impacts that our community members have experienced due to decades of economic exclusion which has led to limited educational and professional development opportunities for low-income people of colors, and especially immigrants. Through this partnership, we plan to reduce economic inequity by equipping our community members with the knowledge, certifications, and resources necessary to re-enter the workforce and access better employment opportunities. 

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

Cafecito con Maria 

This past month, our Executive Director Maria Lizardo, LMSW, welcomed NYS Assembly Member Manny De Los Santos to our Manhattan office. This visit was particularly special because Assembly Member De Los Santos presented a check reflecting on the $30,000, he secured in the New York State Budget to support our Domestic Violence Project. We are beyond grateful for this support, as we know how crucial these funds are for the hundreds of survivors who access our Domestic Violence services each year.  

Later, on October 28th, Maria attended Latino Social Work Coalition & Scholarship Fund’s 22nd Annual Leadership Gala. Attendees spent the evening honoring trailblazing social workers whose legacies we continue, honor those that are currently making waves, and shed light on those who are charting our collective future forward. Our good tidings continued when we were recognized by Latino Social Work Coalition & Scholarship Fund as the Social Work Organization of the Year.  

Finally, Maria represented NMIC at the 2022 Dominican Film Festival, which we proudly sponsored this past year! The festival celebrated its 11th anniversary of celebrating the best in Dominican Cinema with the overall goal of enriching the artistic experience of New York’s diverse cultural audience. We are happy to support the Dominican Film Festival’s mission to promote the new generation of Dominican filmmakers as well as the established one, its film industry, and to strengthen the vital and expanding economic and cultural relationship with the United States. 

NMIC in the News 

  • Latinx in Social Work is a No.1 Best Seller on Amazon that amplifies stories of challenges and successes of Hispanic social workers. The anthology presents 21 authors who inspire and heal communities, one of whom is NMIC’s Executive Director, Maria Lizardo, LMSW. Read more here
  • Spectrum Noticias NY1 recently published an article on free supportive services in Upper Manhattan and the Bronx. Proud of her Dominican roots and her immigrant parents, Maria Lizardo, LMSW, NMIC’s Executive Director, knows firsthand the power and impact that these services have on Latinos. “And really, creating opportunity for members of the community and that is what we need as Latinos, we are immigrants, we work hard, and we need opportunities, we need those connections, access to education, access to the benefits that we are entitled to have.” Read more here.  
  • Manhattan District Attorney Alvin L. Bragg, Jr., announced the creation of the Office’s first-ever Housing & Tenant Protection Unit, which will target systemic criminal harassment of tenants and abuse of government programs by landlords and developers. “NMIC is excited to work with the District Attorney’s new Housing & Tenant Protection Unit to hold corporate landlords accountable for harassing behavior aimed at pushing long-standing tenants out of their affordable apartments,” said Rodrigo Sanchez-Camus, Director of Legal, Organizing, & Advocacy Services at NMIC. Read more here.  
  • Tenants in rent-regulated apartments say they’re left languishing for months — if not years — on a decision from the state agency charged with investigating landlord overcharge complaints as backlogs persist and rents in New York reach new highs. Matthew Chachere, a tenant lawyer who works with NMIC, recalled one case that started in the first Obama administration, as he put it, and was only recently finalized in 2021 — nine years later. “The ordinary tenant gets lost in this,” he said. “They’re certainly not going to have the means or the inclination to spend the money that it takes to fight this out. It’s terrible.” Read more here.  

Observances 

  • National Native American Heritage Month  
  • National Career Development Month  
  • November 1, Day of the Dead 
  • November 2, National Stress Awareness Day  
  • November 12, Flight 587 Remembrance Day 
  • November 20, Transgender Day of Remembrance  
  • November 24, Thanksgiving 
  • November 25, International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women/Mirabal sisters  

Click here to get NMIC’s monthly newsletter straight to your inbox and be the first to know about upcoming events, volunteer opportunities, and big announcements!

Click here to serve as a catalyst for positive change by donating today.

November 2022 – Notes from NMIC Read More »

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 

July 2022 – Notes from NMIC Read More »

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 

May 2022 – Notes from NMIC Read More »

Twitter
Instagram
Facebook
LinkedIn
Scroll to Top