In this Issue


10k Distance Added to our Healthy Way Race


CAMBA to help Businesses Become 'Best for NYC'


Local Philanthropist Honored at Shona Benefit


Young Volunteers & Homeless Families Share Games, Music, Food






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CAMBA is a non-profit agency that provides services that connect people with opportunities to enhance their
quality of life.
March 2015

CAMBA's Healthy Way: One Month Away, and Now with a 10k!

With only a month until our Healthy Way run/walk, we're excited to announce that the event will include two distances: a 5k and 10k race!


You can now register for either race -- the 5k still starts at 8:45 am, while the 10k starts a bit earlier at at 8:30 am. 


If you've been wanting to try your legs at a longer distance, this is a great opportunity. Or just stay with your planned 5k ... either way.


WHEN: Sunday, May 3, 2015, 8:45 am (5k); 8:30 am (10k)
WHERE: Prospect Park (at the Peristyle)
96 Parkside Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11226


*Healthy Way Race t-shirt
*Access to a 5k training plan and weekly running tips
*Race-day snacks
*A fun morning and the great feeling that comes from helping others
The Healthy Way Race is an electronically timed and chipped race, thanks to the pros at NYC Runs. The top three male and female runners in each race will receive awards.


For more information, visit or contact Claudia Dymond at or 718-287-2600 ext. 20321. 


SBSCAMBA Partnering to Help Local Businesses Become 'Best for NYC'
Clients of CAMBA Small Business Services (SBS) walk in the door seeking business success, through access to financing, a sound business plan or learning to use new tools and technologies. 

But success also hinges on the well-being of a business's workforce and the business's impact on its community -- both vital to growth, sustainability and the long-term bottom line.

To help foster this kind of holistic success, CAMBA SBS is partnering with the NYC Economic Development Corporation (NYC EDC) and B Lab in the "Best for NYC" campaign. The initiative aims "to inspire and equip New York City businesses to measure and improve business practices that help create well-paying jobs and improve the quality of life in all five boroughs, while also strengthening their bottom-line," according to the NYC EDC.

As partner, CAMBA SBS will reach out to its network of current and past clients to enlist participants to take the "Best for NYC Challenge," an online assessment to help businesses identify strengths, weaknesses and potential improvements. The challenge focuses on customer and community impact, governance, workforce and other key areas. Businesses will gain access to tools and resources to help them improve in these areas and see where they stand in relation to 20,000 businesses worldwide.

"In New York City, good business works -- for a business's bottom-line, for workers, and for our City," said Isaac Roldan, Director of CAMBA Small Business Services. "We are pleased to join the New York City Economic Development Corporation and B Lab in launching Best for NYC."

At the end of 2015, NYC EDC and B Lab will celebrate all participating NYC businesses, which may be recognized as "Competing to be Best for NYC."

Learn more about the campaign here and take the "Best for NYC Challenge."

ginaCAMBA Honors Local Philanthropist at Shona Sculpture Benefit
Honoree Gina Argano (center) with CAMBA President and CEO Joanne M. Oplustil (left) and Chairwoman Katherine O'Neill

Gina Argano is a Brooklyn resident, dance and fitness instructor and personal trainer. But it was for her rare gift as a philanthropist that she was the honoree at our Shona Benefit Reception on Thursday evening, March 26th.


On that night, the CAMBA Shona Sculpture Gallery on Winthrop Street was full of supporters, friends and staff for the opening reception to the 24th annual Shona Benefit Sale. Over the next three days, the gallery would be open to all for a public sculpture sale, with proceeds benefiting CAMBA programs and services and the artists in Zimbabwe who created the hand-crafted works on display.


The weekend's opening night featured a first look at the gallery's collection, drinks and hors d'oeuvres, a raffle and a short program where Argano was recognized for her incredible charity over the past months.


During this past holiday season, Argano spearheaded toy drives for 275 children in our Healthy Families program and hosted a party that included a Christmas tree, music, games and food for the children and their parents.


She also played Santa Claus to 119 homeless children in our Flagstone Family Center, raising support to purchase gifts and gift cards for them.


Argano worked with her business contacts and friends to collect almost 1,500 gifts for CAMBA's young clients in 2014, and she plans to renew her toy drive next year.


Argano's words at the reception that night gave a glimpse into the kind of spirit behind all the amazing work she has done.


"Because CAMBA takes care of the necessities for these children, I can enjoy the pleasure of helping with the extras," Argano told the crowd. "These extras are the holiday presents that bring smiles to faces and joy to their hearts."


CAMBA thanks Gina Argano, her family and friends, and everyone who made this year's Shona Benefit Sale such a success.



A cliffhanger game of Jenga united two groups of people from very different walks of life -- homeless families from CAMBA's Flagstone Family Center and high school students from Connecticut and New Jersey.


After many rounds, when the blocks finally tumbled, it was as if the barriers separating all of the participants fell with them.


The Jenga game was among activities shared on a recent evening, when teens participating in the nonprofit Youth Service Opportunities Project (YSOP) treated kids and parents from the shelter to a night of games, music and a home-cooked meal at the Friends Meetinghouse in Manhattan.


Founded by Quakers 32 years ago, YSOP provides volunteer opportunities aimed at helping homeless shelters and emergency food programs. YSOP volunteers of all ages have been working with CAMBA programs since 2009, primarily with homeless adults.


This evening marked SYOP's first outreach to CAMBA's homeless families, with youth volunteers braving a snowy night to drive into the City from the Marlborough Congregational Church in Connecticut and the Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Montclair, New Jersey.


Emma, 15, one of the Marlborough volunteers, says her YSOP experience "changes my outlook on society and makes me realize how much we have."


Zori, 16, who volunteered with her fellow congregants from Montclair, says she was impressed by similarities between herself, her friends and the Flagstone children. "These kids are so bright," she says. "They could be scientists ... or even the next president."


Their enthusiasm was matched by Nick, who entertained the crowd with his ukulele and song. A former YSOP volunteer and current doctoral student, home on a visit from his university in Berlin, Nick couldn't resist joining teens from his Marlborough Church on the trip. His music won over Brianna, 12, who listened to his songs with rapt attention.


Judging by their wide smiles, Flagstone children thoroughly enjoyed their outing. "This is fun," says 11-year-old Kevin. "I like the games -- and the hot chocolate!"

aheim was captivated by the perilous tower of Jenga blocks and the hold-your-breath terror when it swayed. "I like it best when it falls," he confides.


Scott, who is Marlborough's Youth director, says that volunteering with YSOP is a rewarding experience for the teenagers. "They are doing something that is not just about themselves." And in giving their time and energy, "they get love out of it."