Giving Tuesday has arrived, and we have so much to be thankful for. Over the last few weeks, we’ve shared stories from our community with the hope they would stir you to support our efforts to catalyze positive change. Collecting these stories has allowed us to reflect on the past year and take stock of the many things we’ve accomplished.
Last week, you met Fred Arcoleo, the local artist who has been a loyal client (through sickness and in health) of our first worker coop, Ecomundo. We told you how NMIC is putting collective power into community hands through programs like our worker cooperatives.
We introduced you to Eugenia, who came to us looking to improve her career and left happily employed. You learned how our education and career services are helping people on the path to self-sufficiency by providing them with the tools to improve their careers.
We told you about the Cruzes, the disabled family of four who came to us from a shelter. We connected them with expert legal advice in housing and immigration issues, and to healthcare and a food pantry. Our capacity to address several urgent client needs under one roof is what makes us a cornerstone of our community.
This Giving Tuesday help us raise $5000 for these critical services. With today’s donation you make it possible for us to provide free services that help community members resolve their crises and achieve their goals. Thank you for all you do to support our work.
At NMIC, we often talk about how much pride we take in building futures, changing lives, and empowering communities. That’s because these are more than words for us. We don’t just offer free services; we’re providing our clients with the resources and opportunities they need to reach their full potential as community assets.
This is why when you donate to NMIC you’re actually investing in our community members—and they go on to strengthen our neighborhoods.
These past two weeks, we’ve shared our client’s stories here and here. Today, we’re doing something different. Meet Fred Arcoleo. He’s not a client of ours, he’s a client of our first worker coop, Ecomundo.
Fred has lived in Washington Heights for 22 years. He is a teacher at a local high school, an artist, and a loyal customer of Ecomundo Cleaning. Some time ago, Fred became ill and was no longer able to clean his own apartment. He remembered his friend Jennifer, a former NMIC staff member, telling him about a worker-owned small business she had helped get started through her work with us. Intrigued by the idea of a small worker-owned cooperative where the owners shared their profits with each other, he booked a session.
It was a “saving grace. Really, they saved me,” Fred told us. Working with a coop was a completely different experience. By making the business model communal, the dynamic among the workers and between them and Fred was unlike anything he’d ever experienced. “It’s a beautiful thing, I love how they operate. Our whole society should be more like this.”
Fred has since gotten better and was married last year. He still books Ecomundo to clean his apartment despite the added expense because he feels it brings a bit of equity to the neighborhood. He’s built a rapport with the worker-owners who clean his home and is continuously amazed by their “outstanding work ethic” and partnership. His wife, a former cleaner herself, is meticulous with high standards for cleanliness. He says, even she thinks Ecomundo’s work is done thoroughly.
What makes Ecomundo Cleaning so special? For one, it’s a small green cleaning business entirely owned by its members. More than half are survivors of domestic violence, many of whom were referred by our Domestic Violence Project. Others came to Ecomundo through other NMIC programs or organizations throughout the city. You can book their services here.
We are proud of how far Ecomundo has come since its founding in 2012. Last year, they booked $550,000 in revenue which provided a living wage for all 18 member-owners. Together, they’ll reinvest money to grow their business. These investments will translate into more profit in the future!
NMIC is putting power back into collective community hands. By providing these innovative tools, we are helping our clients break cycles of violence and poverty. It wouldn’t be possible without your support.
It’s the end of the year, and everyone from the charity next door to your own family is hitting you up for money. We could tell you we have been serving our community for 40 years, that we served 14,000 people and got them over $14 million in cash benefits last year.
But we’re not going to do that.
Instead, we’ll let our clients’ stories speak for themselves. We hope, after reading how NMIC has changed their lives, you’ll feel inspired to support them by donating today.
2019 was going to be Eugenia Nuñez’s year. The 20-year resident of Inwood had been working as a home health aide since 1995 and was ready for a change. Wanting to put her compassion and people skills to work, she completed a course at Lehman College to be a medical assistant. But her English felt like a barrier that kept her from advancing her career. Inspired by encounters with a growing number of professionals who spoke less English than she did, Eugenia decided to “go for it.”
Eugenia first came to NMIC looking for help updating her resume. Our Education & Career Services staff enrolled her into Jobs to Build On and connected her with one of our Career Solutions Managers to assist in her job search.
Later, Eugenia returned to NMIC with her mother, who needed assistance with an immigration issue, and saw something on the wall that would change her life.
The flyer was for an Intro to Healthcare Opportunity event, a partnership between the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone (UMEZ) and the 1199SEIU union to connect upper Manhattan residents with union employment.
After years of unsuccessful applications with 1199 that never resulted in a call-back, Eugenia attended NMIC’s event. There, she was referred to 1199’s Employment Center and sent to interview with two major hospitals.
Her interview with a department head at NewYork-Presbyterian’s Lower Manhattan Hospital went better than she’d imagined possible. “Right away we had a connection, and he said, ‘I got you, Eugenia.'”
Eugenia started a part-time housekeeping position in the hospital’s Environmental Services department in September. She plans to work her way up the ladder and become a medical assistant.
“You guys made the whole connection.”
We may have made the connection, but Eugenia sealed the deal. She’s currently happy at her new job and says they may offer her a permanent, full-time role soon.
NMIC is more than the services we offer our clients; we are an institution that signifies hope, opportunity, and empowerment for our community. Together, we are capable of changing lives right now. Tell Eugenia, and others like her, that you got them.
One story, one client, one life we’ve changed because of you.
With Giving Tuesday and the end of the year around the corner, we know your inbox is flooded with requests to donate to worthy causes. We have 14,000 reasons we need your support: our clients. Every week leading up to Giving Tuesday, we want to share their stories. One story, one client, one life we’ve changed each week because of the generous support we receive from people like you.
THE CRUZ FAMILY
As a disabled family of four living in a shelter, the Cruz family faced significant challenges ranging from housing to immigration to food insecurity. With three family members in wheelchairs, mobility access was also a concern. After multiple outreach attempts and surmounting difficulties with scheduling Access-A-Ride, we were finally able to get the Cruzes in to see us.
Once with us, we made the most of the opportunity by leveraging our full breadth of services and partnerships. These included same-day legal consultations with an immigration attorney and a housing specialist, immediate enrollment in our on-site mobile food pantry—offered with West Side Campaign Against Hunger—and a connection to specialized health insurance through another partner agency. This breadth of support, all offered by bilingual and culturally competent staff, had an immediate and profound impact on the Cruzes.
This is what makes NMIC such a critical resource to our community. Our staff can identify and address a broad array of urgent needs with our numerous crisis intervention services, all under a single roof. By providing flexible scheduling and coordinating care among multiple programs, we put this family on the path to better and more empowered lives. Partners like SOMOS, a network of doctors who refer patients to community-based organizations for wrap-around services, understand that; it’s why they referred the Cruz family to us. Today, we’re asking you to help support us in this work.
The end of the year is coming and at NMIC we have much to celebrate and be grateful for. First, we fixed a technical issue that was causing our emails to go to spam, so if you signed up for our newsletter and hadn’t heard from us until today–welcome! Also,
we celebrated our 40th anniversary by raising a whopping $115,000,
NMIC was in the news with PIX11’s Monica Morales and Assemblymember Carmen De La Rosa,
in commemoration of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, we inaugurated a new memorial garden in front of our building, and
other End-of-Year updates.
NMIC’s Benefit raised $115,000 for critical services
Earlier this month, NMIC celebrated its 40 years of service with a benefit celebrating our inspiring honorees, clients, board, staff, and sponsors. Thanks to the support of our generous community, we raised over $115,000, which we will invest in our innovative services for the 14,000 clients we serve annually.
Salomon Severin is one of those clients and we were pleased to present him with the Inspiring Hope Award. When he came to us, he was living in a group home. After four years of hard work, Salomon received his High School Equivalency diploma and is now living independently and awaiting the spring to begin college. During his acceptance speech Salomon said, “With shared effort, we all can be great and learn something new. I want to thank everyone at NMIC for believing in me and encouraging me to pursue my passion and my dreams. It was a shared effort. They did a terrific job of helping me out when I was struggling. I could [always] turn to them for guidance. I hope that this encourages other students to believe in themselves and pursue their diplomas and dreams. You just got to go get it. You have to give back to your community and encourage people to pursue their dreams.”
You can watch the video we played during the event by clicking the image above.
Monica Morales, of PIX 11, came by NMIC earlier this month and filmed a segment on our tenants’ rights workshops and ESOL classes, which empower our community members to speak out and advocate for themselves. Monica visited one of these classes to speak to our students along with our Executive Director, Maria Lizardo, and Assemblymember, Carmen De La Rosa. Here, she learned how hard it can be for tenants to preserve their housing rights and how important NMIC’s range of classes is to empower tenants to do just that. Tenants’ rights workshops educate community members about the rights they have as tenants while ESOL classes help them learn the English they need to better advocate with their landlords to leverage those rights.
If anyone you know needs ESOL or High School Equivalency classes, our next cycle begins in January. For more information, call 212-822-8314 to schedule an intake appointment. You can attend any of our free bilingual tenants’ rights workshops on the first Wednesday of every month. The next one will be held on November 6th, from 6:30 to 7:30 PM at our offices at 45 Wadsworth Avenue (175th Street) on the first floor. Mark your calendars and we hope to see you there!
Yajaira Parra was only 24 when her husband killed her in 2004. She was a mother to a four-year-old child. After immigrating to New York from the Dominican Republic, Yajaira was working and sending money back to support her family, including a paralyzed sister.
Through a generous grant from the City Gardens Club of NYC, NMIC is pleased to announce the inauguration of a memorial garden in front of our building. We dedicated it to Yajaira, along with all victims and survivors of domestic violence, and it has been tended to and nurtured by a group of survivors. Together, we hope it can serve as a visual reminder to raise awareness and as an outlet for healing by reconnecting us to nature in an urban landscape.
At NMIC, every month is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. We will continue to provide counseling, legal support, and holistic services for survivors throughout the year. Will you?
The weather is getting cooler and the holidays are around the corner. As you prepare to celebrate with family and friends, we ask that you think of our clients. Many of them are immigrants facing holidays marred by separation from their families, some are victims of domestic violence, and others are grappling with housing issues.
Your end-of-year contributions are tax-deductible and also have real-life impacts on our community. This year we served over 14,000 clients. More than 1,000 students were enrolled in classes and trainings that put them on paths to secure, sustainable, and prosperous futures. We stopped over 1,300 evictions, including one that threatened to put a 91-year-old immigrant on the streets. Every day, the world grows more hostile for the communities we serve. You can help us fight for our clients by becoming a catalyst for positive change. Become a monthly donor; encourage family members and loved ones to do so, too.
Thanks to your generosity, NMIC was able to collect nearly 4,000 school supply items and distribute them to 40 families affected by domestic violence. The items included backpacks, pencils, notebooks, crayons and more! You have helped give these children everything they needed to begin the school year prepared.
You can learn more about the ways our Domestic Violence Project supports victims and survivors of intimate partner violence by clicking the image above.
For 40 years, NMIC has been changing lives and building better futures for our community members. Today, we’re inviting you to celebrate with us at our 40th Anniversary Benefit dinner, on October 3rd at 320 Park Avenue starting at 6:30PM. Join us in celebrating our honorees, clients, board, staff, and you—our supporters. Cocktails and dinner will be followed by an exciting award ceremony you’re not going to want to miss.
You can support our event by purchasing a ticket, becoming a sponsor, or making a donation.
Last month, the crew from the In the Heights movie visited NMIC during a career panel facilitated by NY Cares for the students in our Education & Career Services department. The panelists inspired our students to look outside traditional career opportunities and exposed them to new and exciting paths they might not otherwise have had access to. It was an engaging morning for both our students and panelists. The In the Heights crew also personally built NMIC a brand-new podium that our students will use when making their own speeches during graduation ceremonies.
Support our students on their paths to self-sufficient futures.
Nelly Rodriguez and Jess Perez-Algarin, the dynamic duo of Bronx natives behind NellyXJessProductions and Curls in the City, invite you to join them and us on Saturday, October 26th for Curls in the City: Love Shouldn’t Hurt. This fun event will celebrate the natural hair movement while helping raise essential funds for NMIC’s Domestic Violence Project. A portion of proceeds will be donated to support the counseling, case management, and legal services we provide to victims and survivors of intimate partner violence.
To stay on top of updates around this event follow them on Instagram at @_curlsinthecity_
As summer draws to a close, many families all over New York are getting ready to go back to school. Our August newsletter has information on how you can help families in need as well as updates on the happenings at NMIC. Read on to learn more!
As the summer ends, NMIC is launching a Back-to-School drive to collect supplies for the families we serve. Every year, 5 million children witness domestic violence. School-aged children in this category often do participate in school activities or get good grades and have fewer friends than others.
NMIC’s Domestic Violence Project offers community-based counseling, case management, and legal services for victims and survivors of intimate partner violence.
You, too, can make an impact on a family and ensure that a child has all the tools they’ll need to succeed by filling a backpack from the comfort of your home. With just one click you can purchase items from our Amazon Wishlist. Your package can be addressed to the Domestic Violence Project at 45 Wadsworth Avenue, 1st floor, New York, NY 10033.
We are collecting supplies until August 26. Items can also be dropped off in our lobby. For more information contact Rosanna Montilla-Payano, Director of Development, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Earlier this year, Lovie Martinez found herself unemployed and searching for options at her local Workforce 1 when she saw a flyer for NMIC’s Security Guard Training program.
After enrolling, she received fireguard, customer service and employment readiness training and earned her 8- and 16-hour security credentials. Afterwards, NMIC’s Workforce Solutions staff referred her to Custom Protective Services and she was hired on the spot!
But she didn’t just gain a new job and skills from this program. Lovie believes NMIC’s program gave her confidence, “[When] you have that confidence…it shines through you. I left NMIC with that.”
Click below to find out more about the job readiness programs NMIC has to offer.
NMIC supports its worker cooperative community members as they develop the skills needed to reap financial success while ensuring better working conditions and livable wages. That’s why we helped launch NannyBee in October of 2017.NannyBee is the first worker-owned childcare cooperative in Upper Manhattan.Essentially, it’s an agency for nannies owned by the nannies!
Last month, community member Rosa Peña led an all-day training to prospective new members of NannyBee. Rosa and a few other NannyBee members have been trained to facilitate these workshops through the We Rise Nanny training program, a joint project of the Worker Institute at Cornell ILR and the National Domestic Workers Alliance. This allows them to train other community members who are nannies, as well as new candidate members for NannyBee.
Click below to watch how our co-ops are paving the way to business ownership.
These were the words of 91-year-old Raul* as he faced eviction from his Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) Section 8 apartment. Raul hadn’t reported a family member was living with him and lost an administrative hearing. At his advanced age, he was in danger of being evicted from his long-term home and becoming homeless.
We wouldn’t let that happen.
Our Legal Services team launched an advocacy campaign that pulled in directors of different city agencies, like the Director of Leased Housing at HPD, who immediately worked with us to find ways to resolve the issue. A grant from the Human Resources Administration, obtained with the assistance of the Department of Aging, allowed us the resources to contribute the funds ordered by the administrative judge. As a result of our team’s tireless efforts, and without having to commence a case, we were able to keep this 91-year-old resident in his home.
We can’t do this work without your support. Your donations help us serve people like Raul and other community members in crisis.
*We’ve changed the client’s name to protect his privacy.
Summer is here and we’re gearing up to celebrate our 40th anniversary. Today we want to take the time to honor our courageous clients, partners, and you—without you all, NMIC couldn’t exist. From awards to graduations – we have some exciting updates we’d love to share!
Forty years ago, NMIC began in a small apartment in Washington Heights as two individuals armed with nothing but a fierce passion to protect, strengthen, and organize recent immigrants to New York City. This October, we’re celebrating these forty years of building futures, changing lives, and empowering communities at our 40th Anniversary Benefit—and you’re invited.
When our client, Ashley Mata, passed her High School Equivalency (HSE) exam, she never imagined she’d be graduating on the same day as her ten-year-old son. “I had to leave school at 16 when I had him. When I tried to go back to get my diploma, you know how many times I wanted to give up? But NMIC believed in me and called and texted and made sure I came to class. They gave me so many words of encouragement.”
Ashley now shares that encouragement with her sister, Flor, who is currently enrolled in NMIC’s HSE program just like her brother, Yorky, who provided it to her after he graduated from our program last year.
There’s something incredibly special about the way NMIC can touch whole families and support them as they reach their goals, but we can’t do it without you.
On June 28th, we celebrated the 167 young adults who successfully participated in our Intern & Earn, Train & Earn, and YouthBuild Bootcamp programs this year during our 2019 Bridge Ceremonyat the Isabella Geriatric Center. After undergoing rigorous programming, training, internships, and high school equivalency prep, our students secured a combined total of 253 certifications that will put them on paths towards more prosperous futures.
We’re so proud of them and feel privileged to have walked with them as they embarked upon their journeys to self-sufficiency and will continue to support them as they transition to Alumni Services.
We don’t want to brag but we have the best staff around and The New York Bar Association confirmed our suspicion. The association awarded our very own Director of Legal Services, Rodrigo Sanchez-Camus, with the Legal Services Award which recognizes the efforts of lawyers who directly provide free legal services to low-income clients. Rodrigo’s passion for justice and his commitment to our community is exactly why we are so grateful to have him on our team. Felicidades, Rodrigo!
Support Rodrigo and all our attorneys, paralegals, and advocates on the frontline fighting for equity.
Yorky shares his journey to earning a High School Equivalency Diploma
“At the end of the day, we’re all adults and we make our choices. Certain circumstances in life led me to self-doubt. I still pushed myself to try again.”
The traditional path for obtaining a college degree begins with graduating from high school and moving on to a four-year college or university. This path is not accessible to everyone. In 2018, Yorky enrolled in NMIC’s High School Equivalency (HSE) course. These courses help students performing at 4th -12th grade levels study and prepare for the Test Assessing Secondary Completion (TASC) formerly known as the G.E.D.
“It really has to be something you want to do just like anything else in life. Put your mind to it and do it. I believe it will serve as a catalyst for bettering yourself. The most important thing is believing in yourself and never giving up.”
Yorky expresses the difficulty in returning to his education “trying to obtain my G.E.D I faced a few challenges along the way, but I never gave up” aside from being intrinsically motivated, having a strong support system makes a big difference for students completing their education. Jennifer Arguetta who is NMIC’S Adult Education Program Manager played a helpful role in Yorky’s journey, “I’ve done it a few times trying to get my GED and I have failed, not in the sense of failing tests or anything like that, I’ve failed to follow through on going to take the actual test and Jennifer spoke to me about it she was trying to figure out what was going on to formulate a solution and I thank her for that, along with Bocko. Mark and Rojas for their part too, great teachers.” Jennifer and educators like Bocko, Mark, and Rojas all play a critical role in the success of their students by creating a welcoming and supportive environment.
“I have my GED which opened up and created opportunities for bettering myself”
In the winter of 2018, Yorky successfully passed his exam and obtained his High School Equivalency Diploma giving him the platform he needed to continue to pursue his goals for a bright future. “I want to do something in the medical field whether it be an RN or a Paramedic. I can do those things now because I have my GED which opened up and created opportunities for bettering myself. Even if I decide to do something else, I wouldn’t regret getting my GED because it can do two things for you – one keeps you moving forward and two create opportunities for you and your future. Both of which I have experienced.”
Having multiple pathways for completing an education takes into account the varying circumstances in people’s lives. There is no longer just the standard path to education – options create the possibility for anyone to pursue their goals regardless of past circumstances.
To learn more about our High School Equivalency course, visit our office on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays between 11 am and 12:30 pm or call 212-822-8343.
Click here to learn more or here to make a donation.
NMIC’s free course offers immigrants a safe space to learn a new language.
Not being able to speak English creates a multitude of challenges for new immigrants such as applying to college, asking for directions, or honing-in interview skills. There are nearly 2.2 million New Yorkers who lack English language proficiency. NMIC actively seeks to ease the transition into learning a new language while creating opportunities for clients joining the English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) course.
“One of the wonderful things about ESOL is seeing all of these people with different educational backgrounds coming together to support each other,” says Jason Bocko, NMIC’s Academic Coordinator. According to the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs (MOIA) all 5-boroughs have significant documented and undocumented immigrant populations, and their backgrounds are just as diverse as their countries of origin.
The increasing negative rhetoric and portrayal of immigrants has overshadowed the ‘American Dream’ that most of us pursue. “Two of my grandparents were born in Italy and came to the US not knowing English and had a rough go at it. Both later became teachers – and I think in some way my work honors their legacy,” says Jason.
Winnifer Sanchez is an immigrant from the Dominican Republic and is enrolled in an ESOL course here at NMIC. When asked about her motivation for increasing her English language proficiency, Winnifer explained, “I live in NYC and a basic skill if you want growth. I want to go to college and open new doors and opportunities.” Learning a new language as an adult can be a difficult process, Jason explains that the trick to teaching a new language is “not to over correct. The goal is to communicate, not to speak like Shakespeare – so unless they ask, I never correct them while they are speaking. As a teacher, the last thing you want to do is discourage participation in exchange for perfect speech.”
Like Winnifer, most immigrants recognize learning English is the gateway to being able to pursue their dream. “I want to study Marketing and to work in a creative field like fashion. I have a color (pauses) …creative brain, so I’d like to be able to use that.”
“If I can do it you can do it too…. do it now, don’t wait – don’t think too much about it… just do it!