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Celebrating Community & Resilience 2021

Our virtual Celebrating Community event was a huge success this year – and the good news is, if you missed it on Monday, you can still watch the event online! 

If you would like to watch the video of our event,

  1. Click here, (or copy and paste this URL into your browser): https://cflcelebratingcommunity.convene.com/user-login
  2. Enter your name, email address, and Access Code CFLSPCELEBRATINGCOMMUNITY (case sensitive) and click ‘Sign In’

The video is under the “live event” tab – we hope you enjoy it as much as we did! 

At our event this year we had the first screening of a short documentary by cinematographer Nick Hartanto, featuring the children, families, and staff of the Center for Family Life. This beautiful documentary is part of the event video so if you would like to watch, head to the link above. 

We had several honorees, and so much to celebrate at our event. This year we achieved a decades-long dream and became a fully independent not-for-profit organization, and we honored two outstanding individuals, Jessica Cohen from Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, and Jason Schlessel from Norton Rose Fulbright, who made extraordinary contributions to our work at the Center for Family Life in this, our inaugural year.

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We also honored the memory of Deborah Foley, a long-time supporter of the Center for Family Life who passed this time last year. 

Deborah (Debbie) Foley, Vice President at Prudential Securities, was a member of the Center for Family Life Board from 1996 through 2007. Debbie was important to the development of the Center in so many ways, but especially as our partner in CFL’s Life Lines production at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. She was treasured by the Center’s founders Sister Mary Paul Janchill and Sister Geraldine Tobia and loved by all of her colleagues on the Board. 
 
We remember Deb with deep affection and are grateful for the contribution that she made to our work in the early years of the Center

We are so grateful for everyone who made the work we do at Center for Family Life possible this year, and we are so happy to have the chance to celebrate and share that work with you. Thank you, for being with us through another remarkable year!

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September : The Launch of the Excluded Workers Fund

This past July, Center for Family Life in Sunset Park was awarded an Outreach and Assistance Grant from the NYS Department of Labor’s Excluded Workers Fund, a first-in-the-nation $2.1 billion fund created to provide critically needed direct cash assistance to workers ineligible for state unemployment benefits or federal COVID-related income relief. Tireless efforts by immigrants, activists, and elected officials brought the EWF to fruition; the challenge now is to make sure as many eligible workers know about the fund and are able to apply, and CFLSP is working to meet that challenge within the Sunset Park community.

Why is the EWF crucial for Sunset Park? The EWF is a vital source of support for essential immigrant workers and undocumented workers who have not been able to receive unemployment, pandemic relief grants, or any other federal benefits like food stamps, cash assistance, or rent subsidies. According to the Center for Migration Studies, Community District 7 (comprised of Sunset Park and part of Windsor Terrace) is home to the largest number of non-citizens in Brooklyn, some 42,000 people, and an estimated 81% of the essential workers in District 7 are undocumented. This means that Sunset Park has a large population of workers who may be eligible for the EWF, and we are committed to ensuring that all community members who qualify for relief receive their fair share. 


What has CFLSP been doing? This month, we have deployed outreach workers in the community and trained navigators to offer application assistance at the main office. On August 30th, we worked with State Senator Zellnor Myrie and CPC (​​Chinese-American Planning Council) for an outreach event, tabling outside the CPC Brooklyn Community Center in Sunset Park to provide information about eligibility and the application. Back at our main office, we have trained navigators to help workers see if they meet eligibility requirements and fill out application forms. CFLSP also created a text hotline specifically for inquiries related to the Excluded Workers Fund.

Since the launch of the application on August 1, the NY Department of Labor has received over 90,000 applications, and approved over $850 million in benefits. This is a huge success for the first month of this program, but NYC has an estimated 360,000 undocumented workers. We have a long way to go in making sure as many eligible workers as possible receive this much-needed support, and here at CFLSP we will continue working towards that goal in the months ahead. 

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August : CFL Summer Camp and the Summer Rising Initiative

This month’s edition of Stories From The Field highlights our action-packed, fun-filled summer camps! 

 As part of the City’s first-ever Summer Rising initiative, we partnered with the Department of Education to provide enriched summer programs for Sunset Park youth as they begin to recover from the pandemic and prepare to return to full in-person learning in the fall.

In our greatly expanded programs, a total of 1,435 youth, 200 Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP) Counselors, and over 200 staff came together in a joyful spirit of community-building.

We enjoyed sports, games, fitness, dancing, drumming, outings at the park, Spirit Days, Camp Olympics, and outdoor performances. From banner-making and creating moon and star mobiles, to cooperative skiing and climbing a human ladder, to solving rhyming riddles on scavenger hunts, our summer days were filled with wonder and discovery!


Most precious of all has been the opportunity to spend time in-person with the incredible children and families of our community. A huge thank you to everyone who made this summer so special.  This summer at CFL was truly magical!