Immigration

October 2023 – Notes from NMIC

Autumn’s arrived in NYC, and with it, our latest newsletter brimming with updates and inspiring stories. First, we will delve into our ongoing efforts to ensure EBT restitution, a vital issue that needs our attention. Next, we share a remarkable journey from Elias, who was an unaccompanied minor and recently became a lawful permanent resident – it’s truly inspiring.  Later, we discuss an exciting cultural-exchange between NMIC staff and members of Der Paritaetische, a group of social workers and practitioners based in Germany.

And that’s not all- we are elated to announce West Harlem Development Corporation’s new grant awarded to NMIC, reinforcing our commitment to making a positive impact in CD9 community members’ lives. Lastly, October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM), a time to illuminate the importance of raising awareness and supporting survivors.

We extend our heartfelt thanks for joining us on this journey toward a brighter future for all.  

Empowering Communities: Ensuring EBT Restitution in NYC 

Families across the city have encountered a troubling issue as they visit their local grocery stores with Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cards, which hold their Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, only to discover that their funds have vanished. According to Pix11, City Officials estimate that approximately 22,000 EBT thefts have occurred in NYC. In response to this urgent problem, the city has launched an online portal to provide thousands of New Yorkers with a means to file their claims. 

We are proud to partner with the Department of Social Services to offer financial restitution to victims who have had their SNAP benefits wrongfully taken from them. Recognizing that not everyone in our community is technologically proficient, we have conducted two separate workshops this month in partnership with the Department of Social Services. These workshops have assisted clients who may not be tech-savvy, ensuring that they can confidently navigate the online portal and successfully submit their claims.  

Our unwavering belief is that access to essential benefits should be equitable for all. We are committed to providing benefits access services and ensuring that every application is processed with the utmost fairness. The deadline to file a reimbursement claim is October 31st. Learn more about NMIC’s Benefits & Finance services here

Meet Elias 

In 2015, Elias embarked on a life-altering journey from Guatemala to the United States, as an unaccompanied minor. Laden with dreams of escaping the harsh economic realities of his homeland and in pursuit of a stable, hopeful future, his story is emblematic of countless young individuals who take this challenging path. Guided by the dedicated support of our Immigration Team, Elias began navigating the intricate process of applying for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status through the Family Court—a lifeline for young individuals like him. 

Elias’s path was far from straightforward, particularly during a time of shifting immigration policies and uncertainties. Together, Elias and Marc Valinoti, the immigration attorney assigned to the case, worked together for six years with determination and hope. Finally, Elias’s petition was granted, lifting the heavy burden of uncertainty that had weighed on his young shoulders for far too long. 

In April of 2023, and after a long and challenging journey, Elias received the life-changing news that he had been granted Lawful Permanent Resident Status. This milestone meant he could now live and work in the United States with the assurance of safety and security. Additionally, Elias could finally plan to reunite with his family in Guatemala, bridging the eight-year gap that has kept them apart. 

Elias’s story is a bittersweet reminder of the stark reality that many children and families are still grappling with. It’s disheartening to know that kids should bear such burdens on their journey to find safety. Elias’ success story serves as a glimmer of hope in an otherwise somber landscape. His achievement adds to the growing numbers of young individuals who, like him, have managed to overcome the formidable hurdles of being underage and unaccompanied.  

We extend our heartfelt congratulations to Elias, celebrating his tenacity and resilience on this new path. But let’s also remember that there are many more young children still waiting for a chance to find their way through this challenging journey to a safe future. 

To learn more about NMIC’s Immigration services, click here.   

Thank You, West Harlem Development Corporation! 

We extend our gratitude to the West Harlem Development Corporation (WHDC), for their invaluable support in enabling us to offer essential, free crisis intervention and supportive services to residents of Manhattan Community District 9 (MCD9). WHDC is dedicated to enhancing economic opportunities and the overall quality of life in West Harlem, fostering a thriving community. The generous grants provided by WHDC are strategically directed towards programs that wield a profound and lasting influence within our community. These programs encompass safeguarding and preserving affordable housing, supporting our youth and senior citizens, and igniting economic growth throughout the district. 

NMIC is uniquely equipped to deliver these vital services, as our organization places importance on culturally sensitive service delivery. We are committed to ensuring that our team mirrors the diverse communities we serve, thereby enhancing our ability to meet their specific needs. Our outreach efforts for crisis intervention and supportive services, as well as our offerings, are accessible in both English and Spanish. We also acknowledge that many residents of MCD9 grapple with disproportionate systemic obstacles that contribute to poverty. Through dedicated in-person and virtual outreach events, we seek to engage with community members, encouraging them to utilize our comprehensive range of services. By doing so, we aim to empower residents to overcome systemic barriers and forge a path towards accessing life-changing services. Click here to learn more about NMIC’s comprehensive programming.  

Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM) & #GiveForDV 

October marks the start of Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM)! As we embark on this month-long journey, we’re reminded of the strength that comes from uniting to address a critical issue that affects countless lives. Everyone knows someone impacted by domestic violence, and everyone has a role to play in preventing domestic violence and supporting survivors. In the US, on average, nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner.

Here’s how you can make an impact during DVAM:  

  • Social media: Engage with us on social media using the hashtag #Every1KnowsSome1 as we share stories, resources, and messages of hope, spreading the word and creating a united front against domestic violence. 
  • GiveForDV: Visit https://givefordv.nnedv.org/organizations/nmic to make a gift to NMIC’s Domestic Violence Project (DVP). Every gift makes a difference for survivors as they rebuild their lives free from abuse.  

Thank you for being a part of this movement and for standing up against domestic violence. By raising awareness, sharing stories, and supporting survivors, we’re making real progress toward safer communities for everyone.  

Cafecito con Maria  

Earlier this month, NMIC’s Executive Director, Maria Lizardo, LMSW, and our dedicated staff welcomed a group of social workers and practitioners from Der Paritaetische, based in Berlin and other parts of Germany, as part of a cross-cultural exchange. This event was organized by Jacob A. Riis Neighborhood Settlement, who recommended NMIC to Der Paritaetische for their exploration of New York City’s community organizations, particularly those dealing with migration.  

During their visit, the group immersed themselves in NMIC’s practices, promoting the exchange of innovative ideas and expertise. This experience also offered a global perspective on addressing challenges in our increasingly interconnected world. This enriched perspective will guide us in making informed decisions and developing effective strategies within our organization. 

NMIC in the News

  • The Seaman Avenue Block Association fought for their safety, respect, and dignity. Tenants represented by NMIC took center stage at a press conference in front of their building. Check out the powerful coverage by Telemundo 47 here.

Observances

  • Domestic Violence Awareness Month
  • Breast Cancer Awareness Month
  • October 5, Latina Equal Pay Day
  • October 9, Indigenous Peoples’ Day
  • October 10, World Mental Health Day
  • October 19, Go Purple Thursday
  • October 28, National Immigrants Day
  • October 31, Halloween

October 2023 – Notes from NMIC Read More »

March 2023 – Notes from NMIC

In a few short weeks, we will be celebrating the first day of spring. New Yorkers across all five boroughs will be shedding their winter coats and emerging to enjoy the public parks and outdoor venues our city has to offer. Speaking of outdoor venues, NMIC’s annual benefit, Unidos: A NMIC Benefit, is coming up on June 15th, 2023. The cocktail reception and award ceremony will take place at The Hudson, an outdoor space with unforgettable views of The Hudson River and George Washington Bridge. We are looking forward to celebrating the transformative work that our community members tackle each day to catalyze positive change in our neighborhoods.  

Click here to learn more about our upcoming benefit.  

NMIC Celebrates Women’s History Month: A Success Story 

In honor of Women’s History Month, we’d like to spotlight Jocelyn, one of our exceptional NMIC Education & Career students. Recently, Jocelyn completed our holistic Security Training program, which she found to be the most comprehensive and effective compared to other workforce development programs. This program equips students with both hard and soft skills necessary to succeed in their careers and beyond. 

Throughout Jocelyn’s participation in the program, she engaged in various interactive courses, including career building, emotional intelligence in the workplace, customer service, cultural competency, FEMA security awareness, Fireguard F-01, and the NYS 8- and 16-Hour Security Guard. Additionally, she and her cohort participated in empowering workshops covering topics such as mental health, worker’s rights, and financial literacy. The program also provided opportunities for participants to connect directly with job recruiters, increasing their chances of securing gainful employment. 

We congratulate Jocelyn on her achievement and wish her the best of luck in her future endeavors. Let us use this Women’s History Month as a reminder to uplift the women in our lives and celebrate their contributions, not just during this month, but throughout the year. All accomplishments are worth a celebration. 

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

We Welcomed New Members to our Advisory Board (NAB)  

We are pleased to introduce Jordan Green, Caitie Adams, and Morgan Siegel, the newest members of NMIC’s Advisory Board (NAB). They are committed to being agents for change and innovation and we warmly welcome them to our team. Members of NAB develop awareness of NMIC’s programs and provide opportunities for our organization’s growth by leveraging resources to support the advancement of the communities we serve in Upper Manhattan, adjacent Bronx neighborhoods, and New York City as a whole. 

Click here to learn more about NAB.  

Introducing Katje Lilah King 

We welcome Katje Lilah King, our new Director of Education & Career Services. Ms. King has over 20 years of experience in the nonprofit sector, including roles in fundraising, evaluation, and program management. She most recently served as Senior Program Officer at PENCIL, where she partnered with hundreds of New York City schools and businesses to execute annual Principal for a Day events and deliver college and career readiness programming to over 5,000 students annually.  Katje also led the establishment of PENCIL’s Internship Programs, collaborating with partners including the New York City Department of Youth and Community Development, the Pinkerton Foundation, and Bloomberg Philanthropies to provide paid work-based learning experiences to over 500 youth each summer. 

Join us in welcoming Ketje!  

Fresh Prints  

We have a big announcement—NMIC will be collaborating with Rene Clairin, YumaYorkNYC, and Benny Cruz on art prints! The prints are inspired by Washington Heights, the hometown of the YumaYorkNYC team, and the Latin culture they were raised with. YumaYorkNYC’s work often includes vibrant colors, organic shapes, and imperfect lines—all brought together to create images that bring about joy.  

“It’s beautiful to see a local organization dedicating their time to help some of the most vulnerable members of our ever-growing community uptown: immigrants that are landing in NYC in search of stability and peace of mind. Sometimes a legal or government form can seem like an insurmountable obstacle when it’s presented to you in a language that you don’t grasp.  

NMIC specifically sets up time to provide legal access, benefit access and advocacy for these new members of our Heights neighborhoods; that’s a beautiful thing because this would have been a valuable resource for our relatives when they first arrived in the Heights decades ago. We’re happy to support their work with the proceeds of this limited collaborative work between us, YumaYorkNYC, and Benny Cruz,” Rene Clairin.  

A portion of proceeds from the sales will be donated to NMIC to support our wrap-around supportive services. To find out how to purchase a print, follow @nmicnyc on social media, we will post a link as soon as the print drops. Click here to learn more about YumaYorkNYC.  

Know Your Rights Panel Discussion 

 Community Services with Faith Hope & Charity, Inc. teamed up with the NYC Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs to host a panel discussion titled “Know Your Rights” at The Annunciation Church on March 5th. The event centered on the rights of immigrant New Yorkers, updates on potential shifts in immigration laws, and a Q&A session for community members. NMIC’s immigration attorney, Marc Valinoti, was a panelist who shared expert views on the challenges of accessing legal representation for immigrants and the available resources for immigrant communities. 

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

Cafecito con Maria 

As of March 1st, Congress ended Emergency Allotments, the federal COVID-era emergency food funding, to SNAP benefits. With 21% of the population of New York City receiving SNAP benefits, the impact will be dramatic, leaving a great number of New Yorkers in danger of going hungry. Every household using SNAP benefits will see a decrease of at least $95 in monthly benefits. As the emergency food funding expires, food prices continue to rise. Over the past year, food prices rose 8.4%, and as benefits are cut further, more households will become dependent on food pantries to be able to provide for their families.  

Telemundo 47 reported on the possible crisis for our city, and interviewed our Executive Director, Maria Lizardo, LMSW, to discuss the increased need and to advocate for the needs of our community. 

NMIC offers emergency food pantry services with the West Side Campaign Against Hunger and Hungry Pets Project. These partnerships allow our organization to alleviate hunger within our community through access to locally sourced, fresh produce. All people, regardless of income, deserve access to quality food. No one should ever have to choose between paying their rent or purchasing groceries.  

To get involved with NMIC’s food pantry services, click here to sign up for our volunteer newsletter to be notified of upcoming volunteer opportunities and click here to donate today.  

NMIC in the News 

  • On March 1st, Telemundo 47 featured our Executive Director, Maria Lizardo, LMSW, and NMIC clients during a news report on the current SNAP cuts. Click here to read more.  
  • Telemundo 47 had a news report on Promise NYC, a program funded by New York City that covers the cost of childcare for families who are ineligible for federally funded childcare due to their immigration status. The report featured Wilbert Negron, Program Manager of Promise NYC at NMIC, and current clients in the program. Click here to read more.  

Observances 

  • Women’s History Month  
  • Social Work Month  
  • March 2nd, Women’s Equal Pay Day  
  • March 8th, International Women’s Day  
  • March 12th, NMIC’s Anniversary  
  • March 31st, International Transgender Day of Visibility  

March 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 »

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 »

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