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.
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.
- 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