I caught up with one of our newest faculty members about her work.
You recently were a speaker and panelist at our annual conference along with artist Wangechi Mutu and psychologist Dr. Dawn Besemer. What was a standout moment at that event?
Monica: The standout moment for me was realizing that even though I had not met these impactful women previously, there was a link to each of our messages and at the same time an enriching back and forth conversation of differing views, that had me question and enhance my own.
How was the conversation at the conference relevant to the work you do at Coalition for Hispanic Family Services?
M: This conversation was very relevant to the work I do at the Coalition for Hispanic Family Services. As an agency, CHFS strives to be culturally competent while working with an underserved and very diverse population. As the Director of the Student Placements and internships, I not only work with all the programs but also with all the disciplines within each program. In my role, I am able to support the training of students of different fields in the area of cultural awareness, which is very significant. Being engaged in the back and forth of this dialog was both reflective as well as informative of the current work at the agency and to assess our efficacy in working with this diverse population.
Can you describe what these various programs are and maybe talk a little bit more about the goals of the organization?
M: The Coalition For Hispanic Family Services began as a small foster care agency in 1986, 25 years ago, as a response to address the needs of children of color in the child welfare system. All the other programs developed out of providing services for the foster care program and evolved to serve the community at large. Its main goal is to empower children, youth and families with opportunities for success and self-reliance while reinforcing their sense of culture and self-identity. This is achieved through a holistic, culturally competent, family based approach.
Our agency provides culturally sensitive services through programs primarily in the Bushwick Brooklyn community, but also expanding to Brownsville and Bed-Stuy in Brooklyn and in Jamaica, Jackson Heights, Corona and Elmhurst in Queens.
We have the following programs:
FOSTER CARE AND ADOPTION
TREATMENT FAMILY FOSTER CARE
OUTPATIENT CHILD, ADOLESCENT AND FAMILY MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES
CHILDREN’S COMMUNITY RESIDENCE
AFTER SCHOOL & SUMMER PROGRAMS
BEACON AND CORNER STONE COMMUNITY CENTERS
PARENTING SUPPORT PROGRAMS
CHILD ABUSE PREVENTION
INTERNSHIPS AND STUDENT PLACEMENTS PROGRAM