In this Issue 


Hydroponic Farm on MSNBC


Save the Date: CAMBA Casino Night Out


CAMBA Gardens Wins Building Brooklyn Award


Shelter Shorts: Art & Fashion, Recycled Props, Tasty Treats


Family Night at CAMBA After-School







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CAMBA is a non-profit agency that provides services that connect people with opportunities to enhance their
quality of life.
May 2014

msnbcHydroponic Farm Takes a Star Turn on MSNBC
Our emergency food pantry's hydroponic farm caught the interest of MSNBC anchor Craig Melvin, who recently featured it on his show, "What's the Big Idea?"

This national program showcases innovative ideas that can have a huge, positive impact on people and problems.

CAMBA's Caitlyn Brazill, VP of Strategic Partnerships, joined Melvin on the show to describe how the farm is growing 4,000 heads of lettuce, bok choy and other greens a year to help feed New Yorkers in need.

"It's cheap, it's clean, it's easy to do year-round, it's something that can really engage our community,"said Brazill.

Interns and volunteers at the pantry showed MSNBC how they plant seeds, add nutrients to the water, guard against bacteria and harvest the plants. But the real stars of the program were the burgeoning crops, just waiting to provide farm-fresh, healthy meals to hungry families. Watch the show here. 


cnoSave the Date for CAMBA Casino Night Out:
October 30, 2014

cgCAMBA Gardens I Wins Building Brooklyn Award
Photography by Vanni Archive

CAMBA Housing Ventures' newest affordable and supportive housing development has garnered yet another high honor. The Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce named CAMBA Gardens I winner of a 2014 Building Brooklyn Award this month, in the "Residential Affordable" category.


Now in its 14th year, the Building Brooklyn Awards recognizes recently completed construction and renovation projects that enrich Brooklyn's diverse neighborhoods and economy. CAMBA Gardens I was one of 13 winners, sharing the spotlight with Whole Foods Market, Kickstarter, The Weeksville Heritage Center and nine others.


CAMBA Gardens I is a $66.8 million, 209-unit, LEED Platinum development on the Kings County Hospital Center (KCHC) campus in Wingate, Brooklyn. The development represents a new national model for partnerships between public hospitals, nonprofit developers, social service providers and community stakeholders.


"We're honored to receive this award, and to have the Chamber of Commerce recognize the innovative approach CAMBA and CHV are taking to affordable and supportive housing in Brooklyn," said Joanne M. Oplustil, President and CEO of CAMBA and CAMBA Housing Ventures.


CAMBA Gardens I was built on underutilized hospital property, providing revenue for KCHC and New York City's Health and Hospitals Corporation while giving tenants access to high-quality preventative healthcare at KCHC. CAMBA provides comprehensive onsite supportive services.


"Brooklyn is a place where people want to try out new designs and new find inventive ways to face the unique challenges of building in an urban environment," said Chamber of Commerce President Carlo A. Scissura in the press release announcing the awards. "These awards represent the very best Brooklyn has to offer in a variety of disciplines and we congratulate all the winners for designing and building interesting projects that enhance Brooklyn's communities and quality of life."


Learn more about CAMBA Gardens I here.


shelterShelter Shorts: Art & Fashion, Recycled Props and Tasty Treats

Elizabeth Stephens, CAMBA Senior Program Manager at Flagstone Family Center (right), picking up donated cupcakes from Baked by Melissa.

Almost everywhere you looked at CAMBA shelters this month, there was something special going on...

The Flagstone Family Center was the site of a very tasty Mother's Day, when Baked by Melissa generously donated 300(!) cupcakes to shelter moms (above).

Magnolia House Women's Shelter hosted a rooftop art and fashion show, with participants from around CAMBA's shelters. More than 20 women took part in the fashion show, showing off ensembles that included items donated to CAMBA's shelters by generous supporters.

CAMBA's Claire Harding Keefe (left) and Eleni Toumarides
And the Park Slope Women's Shelter (PSWS) received a prestigious honor: A Golden Dumpster Award (the "You Rock Partner" award, for outstanding partner charity) from the nonprofit Film Biz RecyclingFilm Biz Recycling accepts used props, clothing and set materials from New York's production communities and donates them to nonprofit partners in the NYC area. PSWS receives much-needed household items and gives them to women moving out of the shelter and into transitional housing.
"It's our belief that... we are morally bound to make sure that every item we get in goes to the place where it can serve the greatest good," said Eva Radke, Founder and President of Film Biz Recycling. "CAMBA is an incredible operation." 


familyCAMBA Kids Share After-School with Families

Eager young workers and their parents sat leaning over tables, measuring ingredients and pouring colored dyes into liquid-filled bottles. On the day's menu: artisanal lava lamps.

Yes, this experimental scene was in Brooklyn, but it wasn't taking place in a newly converted hangar or warehouse. It was in a third-floor classroom at P.S. 139 in Flatbush---just one of the many activities at the CAMBA Creative Kids after-school Family Night.

Creative Kids was holding one of 10 such Family Nights this month at CAMBA's after-school programs, giving kids a chance to share their post-3 p.m. activities with their parents, guardians, brothers and sisters. After-school staff at programs from Bay Ridge to Bed-Stuy led hands-on workshops for the whole family (like the "Mad Scientists" workshop above) and each program served up a catered meal for participants and families.

Family Nights have been a CAMBA tradition for more than a decade. "It's been since at least 2000," said Christie Hodgkins, CAMBA VP of Education and Youth Development. "This year, the focus was on using an inquiry-based approach in the staff-led workshops, covering topics in literacy, STEM, conflict resolution, creative arts and recreation."

"I always try to come to Family Night" said Sandra Israel, whose fourth-grade daughter is a participant at CAMBA Creative Kids. "It's great to have quality time with the kids at school."