Mayor De Blasio Visits Sheepshead Bay Cornerstone Vaccination Site
Starting in late January, CAMBA's Cornerstone Community Centers have hosted 'vaccination pop-ups' for community Seniors.  CAMBA's Stuyvesant Gardens Cornerstone Community Center worked with vaccine distributor, SOMOS Community Care, while our other Community Centers at Pink, Boulevard, and Sheepshead Bay/Nostrand Houses worked with NYC Health & Hospital Test & Trace Corps.

On Friday, February 12th, Mayor De Blasio visited the pop-up vaccination site at CAMBA’s Sheepshead Bay/Nostrand Cornerstone Community Center and spoke to a number of residents waiting for vaccinations.  After a tour of the clinic the Mayor gave a brief press conference outside. He thanked the community for getting the word out about the importance of getting vaccinated. The Mayor shared that one of the residents who is in his fifties told him that this was the first time he's been vaccinated in his entire life. The resident explained that he never felt comfortable before, but was informed and understood what a threat COVID was to him and his family leading to his first vaccine. Another senior resident shared with the Mayor that she was hesitant but her 95 year old sister got vaccinated and said it was 'ok'!  It was a wonderful surprise for the residents to meet Mayor De Blasio and we thank him for visiting our Community Center.

With an upcoming event this weekend, more than 1,000 seniors will have been vaccinated at CAMBA Community Centers.

NYCRUNS 5K Benefiting CAMBA

Support CAMBA and help us stabilize the tens of thousands of families who were disproportionately impacted by the pandemic by setting up a GoFundMe campaign and let your friends and colleagues know you are walking/running virtually or in person to support CAMBA. Then on April 17th send us your best picture, a video clip, or a link to a TikTok video and we will post on social media (or post it yourself and tag us!). Everyone who raises $250 or more will receive a classic CAMBA T-Shirt and a shout out on social media!


Program Spotlight:
Food FARMacy Reduces Food Insecurity

Starting in July 2020 CAMBA partnered with New York-Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist Hospital, Columbia University and the West Side Campaign Against Hunger to create a new initiative to relieve hunger in New York City. The program is funded by New York-Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist Hospital.

The CAMBA Food FARMacy is a community-based food pantry program that provides food insecure community members with nutritious groceries on a bi-weekly basis. CAMBA recruited participants living in Brooklyn who were food insecure, and had access to a kitchen, with a special focus on undocumented participants. Although all of the CAMBA Food FARMacy participants could be classified as food insecure at enrollment, of particular concern were the 70.2 percent who were classified as experiencing high food insecurity (defined as multiple reports of disrupted eating patterns and reduced food intake). Previous research has linked moderate and high food insecurity with an increased risk of chronic conditions.

The participants in the CAMBA program had a mean household size of 3.91 upon enrollment. Among the participants that reported their annual household income, over 60 percent reported an income of less than $10,000 per year, while 17 percent of participants reported a household income between $15,000 and $20,000.

In addition to the main focus on food insecurity, few participants reported receiving public benefits, with only 54.2 percent of participants receiving Medicaid, 20.7 percent of participants receiving Public Assistance, and 25.9 percent of participants receiving SNAP. Through the Food FARMacy program, and as part of CAMBA’s pantry services and holistic supports, we connect participants with other benefit programs and resources to increase their stability during times of crisis.

The goal of CAMBA and our Food FARMacy partners, is to ensure that these struggling households, particularly those that are not eligible for public benefits, receive adequate and healthy food and ultimately improve their socioeconomic status to ensure self-sufficiency. CAMBA has already helped almost 200 individuals and families through this program and hopes to continue the Food FARMacy service through December 2021.

Staff Spotlight: Dzemal Hamzic

Dzemal Hamzic will celebrate 26 years at CAMBA in our Workforce Development program in late March. CAMBA’s Workforce Development provides low-income people, immigrants, refugees, human trafficking victims, those at risk of homelessness, opportunity youth, and others with employment, training, resettlement, and financial counseling. As with all our programs, CAMBA seeks dedicated staff, like Dzemal, who have both the experience and compassion needed to engage community members in crisis, giving them the support they need to create their own success and path forward.

Dzemal graduated from the Faculty of Law in Mostar, Bosnia, where he worked as a journalist and Editor-in-Chief at a local newspaper, Sloboda (Freedom). During the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina he served as Director and Editor-in-Chief at Radio Bosnia and Herzegovina - War Studio Mostar. He was subsequently arrested and imprisoned in a concentration camp. He came to the U.S. as a refugee in 1994. His background, involvement, and commitment to the Bosnian community helped him to find his position at CAMBA. Dzemal started as a Career Advisor and Job Developer working with refugees. He was later promoted to Program Manager of Refugee Resettlement before becoming the Program Director of Workforce Development.

 “Looks like all my life prepared me for working at CAMBA. Jurist by education, journalist by vocation, and someone who personally understands the experience of arriving in the United States as a refugee. When I arrived in New York, I first worked in a perfume factory where the working conditions were awful. I was fortunate to meet Mila Santos, a great teacher, in an ESL class in Astoria who introduced me to CAMBA and the agency’s services.

One of my most memorable experiences working for CAMBA was when the U.S. State Department...
Beacon Karate Alumni Shares Life-Changing Impact
Dr. Michael Dealy (Founder) shakes hands with a Beacon 361 Karate participant at a tournament.

Thank you Program Alumni Rudy Chase for sharing the following personal and heartfelt description of the impact of the Beacon Martial Arts Academy:

“The Beacon Karate program started in January of 1994 and has continued to be the true beacon of light to thousands of young people and adults in the Flatbush, and surrounding community. Students did attend the program to learn to fight, but quickly realized that the program was an opportunity to change something in our lives or home circumstances. Many of us didn’t have a father or a mother, many of us were doing poorly in school and many of us had a choice to join a street gang - or join the karate program.

Rocco Lombardo, the instructor welcomed and mentored us to believe in ourselves, look at the world and find the good in it and to love and help our community. Many of us were failing in school with less that 60% GPA. We were motivated to raise our grades while moving through the ranks to Black Belt. I joined with a 60% GPA and within 6 months my GPA went to 80% .

Many of our students made it to the rank of Black Belt. There is a saying in our Martial Arts Association: Every Black Belt represents 100 students that have joined and for some reason have decided to do something else. They left with the foundation of discipline, self-confidence and self-control that we gained at the PS 269 Beacon Karate Club. In 27 years, more than 38 Black Belts came out of the Beacon Program. Many of them would be in jail or...
CAMBA Is Hiring!
CAMBA offers excellent career opportunities to candidates who are interested in growing with one of New York City's largest multi-service nonprofit providers. Please share our jobs link or visit CAMBA.org/careers to learn more about our programs and achievements.