October has been a busy month at Centro Corazón de Maria.
Our two English classes opened. One is the New York State BOCES class which we facilitate; the other is our private class where the criteria to participate is more flexible. In all, we have 33 students registered for our private class and 15 children in we care for in the two programs. Mornings are lively and joyful!
Excluded Worker Fund
We received a generous grant from New York State to administer the Excluded Worker Fund, a $2.1 billion fund for workers who lost income during the pandemic and could not qualify for unemployment benefits. These workers are undocumented persons who pay taxes, but until now, received no benefit from them. The grant enabled us to hire a project coordinator for a year. Social Service coordinator Silvia Pisano and Jhonatan Zelaya, our new employee, have worked tirelessly to publicize the benefit and process applications. They have screened about 180 people and filled applications for almost 100! The funds, available throughout New York State were exhausted on Oct. 8th. We are working to create new ways to serve excluded workers.
On Saturday, Oct 16th, we participated in the East End march and rally for Immigration Reform. The goal of the event was to press New York Senator Charles Schumer to include this reform in the upcoming reconciliation bill soon to be presented to Congress. Almost 200 participants marched, chanted and spoke compellingly about the need for reform. Local press coverage was widespread.