MCIF, The Maura Clarke - Ita Ford Center, is truly changing the lives of immigrants. MCIF is helping individuals to improve their own lives, by giving them the tools for a better life. Those that participate at the Maura Clarke - Ita Ford Center leave with hope and the opportunity for success. I have been impressed that MCIF does so much good, with limited resources. The focus of the agency is helping those that walk through the doors. If there were more Nonprofits like the Maura Clarke - Ita Ford Center, the world would be a better place.
The community that the MCIF Center has built is incredible. It's a veritable one-stop-shop for immigrant families. Siblings, friends, and strangers alike come here to improve themselves, becoming citizens, learning English, and learning other life skills. And the caliber of instruction is unparalleled in such a setting. The instructors are not only passionate about their participants and the subject, but they have experience, most holding Masters degrees. I've worked with a lot of non-profits in Brooklyn and while it may be a small operation, it's as effective as anything out there.
MCIF is an incredible community resource! Through GED, Citizenship and leveled English classes, MCIF provides a wide range of educational opportunities to empower communities members in the greater Bedstuy/Bushwick area. Through personalized attention and a strong sense of community, MCIF creates a space were student thrive. As I English teacher at MCIF I saw my students grow immensely. With the confidence they gained through improving their English and being a part of the community they attained better jobs and were able to better advocate for their children in school.
I taught at the MCIF Center for a year and have continued to volunteer since. The MCIF Center is a wonderful resource for the greater Bushwick community; from the English classes to GED and computer literacy courses, MCIF helps the women and men who attend better engage in their communities. Further, the leaders of MCIF have a deep commitment to helping students find other resources. The students themselves are an inspiration, as they commit not only to juggling classes with parenthood, work, and family obligations, but also work together to fight for community causes, like park improvements. It is such a privilege to be a part of the greater MCIF community!
I have worked in close partnership with MCIF to improve the neighborhood for the past two years. In this role I work with many MCIF participants, the vast majority of whom speak very highly of the program. MCIF is a place where participants stay for several years, and go from having minimal English skills, to being able to communicate effectively. In addition, MCIF offers other programs, besides ESL, that students take advantage of, including: nutrition classes, GED preparation, computer classes, and leadership training. Maybe most importantly, at MCIF participants develop strong relationships with one another and their instructors, making the center memorable for everyone involved.
I have been the Head Instructor at MCIF for over a year, and I was drawn to this organization because of its community-centered environment. The Center not only offers a range of classes (ESL, GED, citizenship, computer, and entrepreneurship), but also brings in outside resources and workshops for students such as nutrition classes, legal assistance, and safety presentations. Students participate in regular celebrations, a weekly flea market, and have a daily coffee break during which they mingle with students from the different ESL classes. The Center even has a student council - elected by peers - that works to communicate about issues and events related to the school. We have a dedicated staff who, due to the consistent work hours and paid staff meeting time, really get to operate as a team. It's a fabulous place that deserves all the support it can get.
I joined MCIF as an instructor recently, and it has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my career as an educator so far. Coming from a large organization to a small one was a significant change, but the staff and students at MCIF have made my transition easy. The students have been especially welcoming, and I continue to be inspired by their dedication and passion. MCIF is definitely a leader in the field of ESL education.
I don't know of any other ESL program in Brooklyn that serves the whole immigrant student by providing not only 5 levels of English instruction but also crucial information and resources to establish a productive life in the U.S. This should be a model for other ESL programs around the country, and it's doing it on a shoestring budget. The dedication of the staff and solidarity of the student body sets this school apart from any other I'm familiar with.
I had the enormous pleasure of working with Miss Licata last year. I am a high school teacher in West Plam Beach, Florida. My Leadership and Spanish classes exchanged traditional letters with some of the students at the center. At the end of the process, my sudents wrote about their experience, and for most of them, it was a pleasant and fulfilling journey.
Keep up the great and much needed work!
Review from Guidestar
The Maura Clarke-Ita Ford Center can change the lives of the women and men who attend the Center, and the lives of their families. Because of the dedication and sacrifice of the participants, they learn English and are able to communicate in every day life. Many have achieved their high school diploma and gone on to further their education.May the doors of the Center continue to welcome immigrants and open doors of opportunity for themselves and their families.