I have been a member of the board since 2006 and chair since 2008. The Maura Clarke-Ita Ford Center is an "under the radar" organization that accomplishes a great deal with limited resources. The center provides vital services to the Bushwick community - English as a Second Language Classes, Pre-GED and GED classes, Citizen classes, job training and empowerment seminars. I am very proud to be a part of the organization.
The Maura Clarke-Ita Ford Center is a grass roots organization founded in 1993, serving the immigrant population In Bushwick. it is a dynamic center that provides educational services, job training and life skills , enabling its participants to become economically independent and active in their community. It has been lots of hard work as chair of the board but very rewarding.
My Name is Alejandra Matos, I came from the
Dominican Republic. I was student at MCIF center. When I finish my classes in the center I went to Boricua College to get an Associate degree and at the same time became a assistant teacher at MCIF and few months later I became a 1st level English teacher and a GED Instructor.
In 1999, I got my citizenship and I start working as a Finance Assistant at Providence House.
One Day Sister Mary Burns came and offered me the opportunity to belong to the Board of Directors of MCIF. For me was incredible; a place where I went to learn English and Where I got my first Job in the United States is giving me the oportnunity to be a Board member.
Today I'm a Proud Board Member of this magnificent organization called MCIF center, a place knowing as community resource to learn English and diferent skills as a GED, and computer.
The Maura Clarke-Ita Ford center is named after my sister who was murdered in El Salvador in 1980 while she was distributing food and clothing to the poor. The program comtinues her good work by assisting and empowering women of Brooklyn.
The women learn English, a new trade or profession, and in general are helped to find employment and become active participants in the American life. Words cannot describe the wonderful work this program does.
One of the biggest highlights of each year is to see 120 students walk across the stage at ESL graduation. As each student passes across the stage, it represents a step in their individual journeys to be more economically successful and independent, providing a better life for themselves and their families.
Review from Guidestar
After my sister, Sr. Maura Clarke, was killed in El Salvador in 1980, I wondered how to keep her memory, and her good work alive. The two sisters who began this Center in Bushwick, Brooklyn, have done so. Maura (and her friend) Ita Ford were committed to impoving living conditions and educational opportunities for women, their children, and their families. In Brooklyn, MCIF conducts English as a second language classes, assists people to get their GED, and also broadens their employment opportunities. MCIF helps new immigrants make the challenging transitision from their home countries to become contributing American citizens. MCIF is a friendly, welcoming place where both men and women can come to help them find their place in this country. I am honored to be part of this grass roots organization.
The Maura Clarke - Ita Ford Center has been serving the women of Bushwick for 17 years. We began with 42 women and have reached well over 2,000. The beuaty of MCIF is that it continues to change as the needs of the women who come change. Each woman who comes through the door finds a place. Owning ones gifts and using them is an every day event. I used to think that we all somehow benefitted from the Center. We all are better poeple for having been there.
MCIF is a wonderful organization - making amazing strides with limited resources. MCIF has made an impact in the lives of many women who have immigrated to the US without means. What is special about MCIF is the unwavering commitment of the staff and the director to the students – ensuring that the MCIF participants not only learn English but truly grow and develop as individuals.
MCIF gives the community of Bushwick hope. NYC can be an overwhelming place for New Yorkers, for the newly arrived it can be unimaginably difficult to navigate - from riding the subway to going to the doctor. MCIF gives immigrants a chance to improve, create a better life for themselves and their families.
Obtaining a strong educational base is perhaps one of the most important skill sets that can help any individual succeed in this country. Particularly since a strong foundation can ultimately lead to employment and economic independence. MCIF provides the necessary life skills to the diverse immigrant community enabling the group to independently enrich their lives and ultimately enrich their neighborhood too. As a board member of MCIF I am very proud to see the important and meaningful impact/services the center provides to the broader Bushwick community and I am equally proud of the unrelenting hard work the staff puts into making the center a success.
I have been a member of the board since 2006 and Chair of the board since 2008. I have been amazed by the dedication and drive of the staff and the desire and determination of the participants. MCIF supports the Bushwick community and helps to improve the lives of hundreds of immigrants everyday. Providing educational services and job readiness skills enables participants to empower themselves and achieve economic independence for themselves and their families.
I am moved both by the drive of the ESL students and the passion of the MCIF Center staff in helping recent immigrants live the American Dream. Sometimes that dream is as simple as providing an immigrant mother like current MCIF Center student Wendy Chen with the language skills she needs to communicate with her daughter's teacher.