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HFC Featured in Courier Post: Targeting HIV rates in South Jersey

, @CP_KimMulford 12 p.m. EDT September 14, 2015

“CAMDEN Eddie Street learned he was HIV positive on a summer day in 1995. He was in a hospital suffering with a fever and flu-like symptoms. He thought he was dying.

Twenty years later, the 50-year-old Camden resident has undetectable levels of the virus in his blood, thanks to daily medication and careful follow-up with his doctors. But it took a lot to get him into care.

“I didn’t want to get tested,” Street said. “I didn’t want to know. To tell the truth, I was out there doing drugs, drinking, hanging out there.”

To tackle such testing reluctance, the Hispanic Family Center of Southern New Jersey is launching a five-year HIV prevention project targeting high-risk black and Latino men and their sex partners in Camden. The goal is to get people tested and, if they are positive, into treatment.”

To read the full article by Kim Mulford of the Courier Post click HERE.

Woodbury & Glassboro FSCs hosts Community Job Fair

On Wednesday, August 26 the Woodbury & Glassboro Family Success Centers hosted a Community Job Fair at the Courtyard by Marriott in Glassboro, NJ. The event was incredibly successful with over 600 job seekers participating!!

We want to extend a special thank you to our other partners including: United Way of Gloucester County, Gloucester County Workforce Investment Board, The Courtyard by Marriott and The Department of Labor.

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HFC’s Empowerment Center Highlighted by The Daily Journal

HFC’s Empowerment Center program was highlighted by the Daily Journal (Vineland) through a partnership event we participated this month. Check out the article on a coalition of local churches who are helping job seekers dress to impress!

Our staff were onsite to offer bilingual  employment services through the Empowerment Center program. The Empowerment Center provides individuals with intensive workforce development services in our communities looking for employment opportunities. Funding for this program is provided in partnership with the New Jersey Secretary of State, Center for Hispanic Policy Research and Development.

If you or someone you know needs employment assistance, or you might be interested in partnering with our organization to host services onsite at your location please contact our employment specialist at (856) 964-4692 today!

The Daily Journal’s article.

HISPANIC FAMILY CENTER ANNOUNCES NEW MEMBERS ON THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Camden, NJ (July 21, 2015) – Hispanic Family Center of Southern New Jersey, a comprehensive multi-service nonprofit organization, welcomes members Elsa Perez and Ricardo Cajigas to the Board of Directors.

“We are honored to have Ms. Perez and Mr. Cajigas join HFC’s Board of Directors,” Executive Director Elsa Candelario said. “Elsa’s wealth of experience in the financial services industry will be an asset to HFC in planning for the future. Likewise, Mr. Cajigas joins our board with a real passion and excitement to giving back to the community. His work at Virtua correlates well to what we do as a human services organization…improving the lives of those in our community who need our help.”

Board President, Kyle Ruffin noted, “We are thrilled to add Elsa and Ricardo to our dedicated Board. They are a valuable addition as HFC works to address the needs of South Jersey’s fastest growing population.”

They will both provide the organization with expanded knowledge of the growing population we serve and the communities within which we interact.”

Elsa Perez is the former Managing Director at BNY Mellon, an investment management services company where she worked until retiring in 2013. As a Senior Executive she was responsible forEPerez leading Global Business Support with a virtual workforce of 174 associates providing Project Management, Business Analyst and Subject Matter Expertise for Global Custody Operations with an expense budget of $24 million. BNY Mellon has a business presence on six continents, 35 countries and over 100 markets. Her background includes 30 years of experience in financial services. Perez also served as an IMPACT Leader on the Senior Diversity Council. Prior to joining BNY Mellon she worked for PNC, U.S. Bank and Wachovia. Ms. Perez holds an MBA from Saint Joseph’s University and obtained her Bachelor’s degree from Rowan University. In addition to serving on HFC’s Board of Directors, she is a volunteer and Board Member for Literacy for New Jersey.

Mr. Ricardo Cajigas is the Nurse Manager of the Emergency Department at Virtua Health System in Camden. In this role, he is responsible for scheduling, training, recruitment, retention, and Ricky2operations of a 24-hour Emergency Department that sees 37,000 patient visits per year. He has 18-years of experience in the healthcare industry working in various facilities across central and southern New Jersey including Capital Health System, Lourdes and now Virtua where he has been since 2004. Mr. Cajigas is a military combat veteran who served as an Officer in the United States Army. He holds a Bachelor’s degree from Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey; an Associates of Applied Science in Nursing from Mercer County Community College; obtained his Nurse Manager Certificate from Villanova University; and is in process of completing his Bachelors of Science/Masters of Science in Nursing at Thomas Edison State College. Ricardo is member of the Emergency Nurses Association, United States Army Officer Association and Foster/Adoptive Parent Association.

Full bios on the Board of Directors can be accessed at HFC’s website at: http://www.hispanicfamilycenter.com/wp/about/board-of-directors/.

 

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The Hispanic Family Center of Southern New Jersey
is a multi-service agency with locations in Camden and Gloucester Counties. The organization is dedicated to providing the community with a broad range of culturally relevant social services and advocacy programs that promote and encourage empowerment and self-sufficiency. To meet this goal the Hispanic Family Center of Southern New Jersey offers over more than 20 programs including employment and training programs, ESL/Civics, health education and prevention services, mental health services, senior services, substance use disorder treatment and energy assistance programs. Each year the Hispanic Family Center serves 10,000 individuals and families.

PRESS CONTACT:
Amber Oakley, MPA
Director of Development and Marketing
Email: aoakley@hispanicfamilycenter.com
Office: 856.541.6985
Cell: 609.319.2665

HFC collaborates with Camden City School Nurses for Johnson & Johnson School Health Leadership Program

In  December of 2014,  HFC held a successful professional development day with the Camden School Nurses in partnership with New Jersey Health Initiatives (NJHI) and the Pediatric/Adult Asthma Coalition of New Jersey (PACNJ). The training provided a broad scope of pediatric asthma and its effect in the community, along with resources that can help schools, students, and families.

As a result of the training, the Camden School Nurses and HFC (as their community partner) submitted a joint application to Johnson and Johnson School Health Leadership Program. The application was accepted and this week teams are attending a week long training July 12-17, 2015.

The Johnson & Johnson School Health Leadership Program is a nationally recognized fellowship which empowers teams of school nurses and their school and community partners  Johnson&Johnsonwith skills and knowledge to become public health leaders in their local communities. The program includes an intensive six-day Leadership Training Institute, online learning, and the development of community-based health promotion initiatives (Enduring Change Plans).

HFC is excited to continue our partnership with the Camden School Nurses and look forward to working closely together to change and improve the health of our community!

HFC Partners with AccessMatters & Congreso on HIV Prevention Grant

Today AccessMatters announced the receipt of a five-year grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Department of Health and Human Services to provide a comprehensive high-impact HIV prevention project for community-based organizations. The project, funded at $757,793 for the first year, aims to reach African American men and Latino men, including men who have sex with men (MSM), high-risk heterosexual men, and their sex partners in both Philadelphia and Camden, New Jersey.

To view the full press release: CDC Comprehensive High-Impact HIV Prevention Projects for Community-Based Organizations Press Release

 

The Philadelphia Tribute’s coverage of this announcement can be found HERE.

NJAIJ: Jersey City, Largest Immigrant Municipality in New Jersey, Approves Resolution Supporting State Driver’s Licenses for Immigrants

NJAIJ

Jersey City Council passed the resolution with a unanimous vote. Jersey City is the eighth municipality to pass a resolution urging the state legislature and governor to issue licenses to undocumented immigrants.


For Immediate Release

May 28, 2015

Contact: Johanna Calle, NJAIJ Program Coordinator, 973-474-9850 (office) and 201-580-3060 (cell)

Jersey City– The city with the largest immigrant population in the state of New Jersey, with over 40% foreign born residents, has approved a resolution urging the state government to enact legislation allowing the Motor Vehicle Commission to issue driver’s licenses to individuals who cannot provide proof of lawful presence in the United States. The Jersey City Municipal Council voted yesterday by a unanimous vote, making Jersey City the eighth city to pass this type of resolution, following Camden, Elizabeth, New Brunswick, Perth Amboy, Plainfield, Dover, and Bridgeton.

Advocates across the state have been working with local communities to urge their mayors, municipalities and counties to pass resolutions in support the state legislation that would benefit around 464,000 people in the state. The legislation would allow undocumented immigrants to obtain licenses for the purposes of driving in the state, if they pass driving and identity tests. According to New Jersey Policy Perspective, in their report Share the Road, this type of policy would create a revenue of 5 million dollars in licensing fees and it would lower insurance premiums to all residents of the state by creating 209 million dollars in insurance premium revenue.

“These immigrants are our parents, siblings, neighbors and friends who need to get to work and support their families like everyone else in New Jersey,” said Chia-Chia Wang, Organizing and Advocacy Director, American Friends Service Committee. “Driver’s license is a basic and necessary state level policy that only increases public safety and benefit economy and working families.”

Many undocumented immigrants are driving without a license, which many do to go to work or to take their children to school. In many parts of New Jersey it is necessary to travel by car rather than public transportation.

“Based on a survey conducted in April of this year, 9 out of 10 Filipinos in Jersey City agree with allowing undocumented immigrants the privilege to drive. According to our constituents, taking public transportation would take them two to three hours to reach their work places compared to 20 to 30 minutes by driving, “ said Hanalei Ramos, organizer, Filipino Immigrants & Workers Organizing Project.

This policy will also provide some relief to immigrants who are afraid of being deported due to interactions with law enforcement. It also would lower the amount of unlicensed drivers on the roads, therefore making them safer for everyone.

“Caretakers, family members of undocumented families risk their lives to come to the United States to have a better future for their children,” said Monica Calderon, Director at Action 21. “Oftentimes, and in order to survive, fathers and mothers continue to risk their well-being by driving without a licenses/insurance to their jobs, or by walking on highways, where they compromise the safety, not only their own, but also the rest of the population.”

The New Jersey Alliance for Immigrant Justice launched a campaign in March, New Jersey For All, which aims to advance policies that address the need for expanded access to driver’s licenses, the lack of government-issued identification in the immigrant community, wage theft, and the separation of immigrant families. The Alliance views the passing of this resolution to be another great step in the growing momentum from immigrant communities organizing to make New Jersey a more immigrant-friendly state.

 

 

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NJAIJ Member Organizations: 1199SEIU | 32BJ SEIU | American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey | American Friends Service Committee | Catholic Charities Diocese of Metuchen | Catholic Charities Diocese of Trenton | Centro Comunitario CEUS | Community of Friends in Action | El Centro Hispanoamericano | Faith in New Jersey | First Friends NJ & NY | Haiti Solidarity Network of the North East | Hispanic Family Center of Southern New Jersey | Ironbound Community Corp. | La Fuente, a Tri-State Worker & Community Fund, Inc. | Make the Road New Jersey | National Association of Social Workers – NJ Chapter | New Jersey Communities United | New Jersey Policy Perspective | New Labor | Statewide Parent Advocacy Network, Inc. | Unitarian Universalist Legislative Ministry of NJ | Wind of the Spirit

NJAIJ Partners: Anakbayan NJ/NY, The Filipino Immigrants & Workers Organizing Project (FIWOP), and Action 21

NJAIJ: Newark Becomes First Municipality in New Jersey to Issue Identification Cards

NJAIJ

Immigrant communities cheer passage of City Council ordinance establishing Newark Identification card program to benefit undocumented immigrants, the homeless, and other vulnerable communities

 

For Immediate Release

May 20, 2015

Contact: Johanna Calle, NJAIJ Program Coordinator, 973-474-9850 (office) and 201-580-3060 (cell)

NEWARK – The largest city in the state of New Jersey, with over 280,000 residents, has approved an ordinance to create a municipal identification card program for all city residents, making it the first municipality in New Jersey to do so. The Newark Municipal Council voted today by a unanimous vote to create a city-issued ID eligible to all residents aged 14 and older. Newark Mayor Ras Baraka is expected to sign the ordinance soon.

The municipal ID card will benefit all residents of Newark, including marginalized communities such as immigrants, people with disabilities, the young and elderly, formerly-incarcerated people, the homeless, and transgender individuals.

“Newark’s ID card program is a bold step forward for public safety and civil rights,” said American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey Public Policy Director Ari Rosmarin. “It will help ensure all city residents have equal access to basic services and police protection. Newark’s tremendous leadership in promoting compassion and advancing justice should inspire municipalities across the state to follow its lead. We look forward to continuing to work with Newark to ensure that all residents—regardless of immigration status, gender identity, age, criminal history, or housing status—are able to use their Newark IDs to protect their rights and improve their lives.”

While Newark is the first municipality in the state to issue this form of identification, other cities around the country, including New Haven, New York City, and San Francisco, have instituted similar programs.

Highlights of the ID program include:

– Identity and residency documentation requirements accessible to most Newark residents aged 14 and over;

– Valid proof of identification when interacting with all city agencies and departments, including the Newark Police Department, public schools, and Health & Community Wellness;

– Applicant confidentiality protections, including for domestic violence victims;

– Plans to work with local banks to permit cardholders to open and close bank accounts, as well as plans to encourage card acquisition for prescription discount, and discounts on admission to local museums and other attractions and businesses;

– Anti-fraud design;

– Accessible application fee, with fee waivers for homeless and poor Newarkers.

“This is a good day for Newark residents who are already part of our communities but lack documentation,” said Kevin Brown, 32BJ Vice President and New Jersey State Director. “Newark’s Municipal ID program will give immigrants, the homeless and other disenfranchised Newarkers more opportunities to improve their lives and build a bright future for their families.”

This form of identification provides peace of mind to residents in the city who are unable to obtain other forms of identification, including undocumented immigrants.

“The municipal IDs are a great step towards justice for immigrants, who work so hard but often need to stay in the shadows of fear,” said Rev. Moacir Weirich, pastor of St. Stephen’s Grace Community Church and a member of Faith In New Jersey. “With the IDs people will feel more secure and welcomed into our community where they live, work, and contribute.”

Lacking a government-issued identification can discourage people from contacting police to report crimes or from participating as witnesses in criminal investigations. Victims of crimes are less likely to be identified, which can also hinder notification of their loved ones.

“The members and supporters of NJ Communities United applaud Mayor Baraka as he takes this step to ensure economic opportunities and public safety for immigrant families in Newark,” said Trina Scordo, Executive Director, New Jersey Communities United. “It is our hope that Newark will be the model for municipalities across the state in establishing human rights and dignity for immigrant communities.”

The most common form of government-issued identification is a driver’s license. Both driver’s licenses and non-driver state identification cards require proof of immigration status, preventing undocumented immigrants from obtaining them. Immigrants living in Newark will now be eligible to use a combination of documents verified by the City to obtain an official ID and use it in their everyday lives in Newark.

“We applaud the Mayor, the Council and the Mayor’s Office of International Affairs and Diaspora’s leadership,” said Alix Nguefack, Detention Program Coordinator, American Friends Service Committee. “This policy recognizes the fact that New Jersey is the state with the third largest immigrant population and that much of this population resides in the New York-Newark-Jersey City metropolitan area.”

The New Jersey Alliance for Immigrant Justice launched a campaign in March, New Jersey For All, which aims to advance policies that address the lack of government-issued identification in the immigrant community, wage theft, the need for expanded access to driver’s licenses, and the separation of immigrant families. The Alliance views the passage of a municipal ID ordinance in Newark to be a great first step in the growing momentum from immigrant communities organizing to make New Jersey a more immigrant-friendly state.

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NJAIJ Member Organizations: 1199SEIU | 32BJ SEIU | American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey | American Friends Service Committee | Catholic Charities Diocese of Metuchen | Catholic Charities Diocese of Trenton | Centro Comunitario CEUS | Community of Friends in Action | El Centro Hispanoamericano | Faith in New Jersey | First Friends NJ & NY | Haiti Solidarity Network of the North East | Hispanic Family Center of Southern New Jersey | Ironbound Community Corp. | La Fuente, a Tri-State Worker & Community Fund, Inc. | Make the Road New Jersey | National Association of Social Workers – NJ Chapter | New Jersey Communities United | New Jersey Policy Perspective | New Labor | Statewide Parent Advocacy Network, Inc. | Unitarian Universalist Legislative Ministry of NJ | Wind of the Spirit

Creating a Culture of Health

On May 7, 2015 HFC participated in Camden Culture of Health Forum hosted by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) at the Salvation Army Joan & Ray Kroc Center in Camden. The forum included a list of distinguished speakers from organizations across the city who are committed to building a Culture of Health.

The RWJF Foundation debuted their vision to build a Culture of Health nationally, and in our home state of New Jersey, last June. Now they are engaging communities throughout New Jersey to help reach this goal and share how work is already being done locally through various forums.

An article from NJ Spotlight on the event can be viewed HERE.

 

HFC’s Executive Director Elsa Candelario shared about how HFC makes an impact on the Culture of Health in Camden. Her remarks follow:

“In 1735, Ben Franklin said ‘An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure’ in an attempt to convince Philadelphians that an investment in firefighting was worth the alternative. A year later, Philadelphia had its first fire company.

In Camden, for the roughly 50% of the City’s population that is Latino, a pound of cure is elusive for so many reasons from language barriers to lack of health insurance to institutional reasons and the list goes on.
Candelario_taft_rwjf_ccoh_forum_kroc_center_camden__5-7-15-0251-frank_veronsky_harlingenroadstudios.com
For 40 years, Hispanic Family Center of Southern New Jersey has been the ounce of prevention that is critical to addressing the social determinants of health for the more than 10,000 individuals that we serve annually; roughly 80% of whom are Latino. Our services focus on improving health, opportunities and self-sufficiency and we have promising examples of “moving the needle”.   I will highlight three. 

The first is health education which includes HIV education and asthma prevention. Our LUCES prevention program teaches young Latinas, many of whom are new to this country, about HIV. We are breaking down barriers since this topic is rarely addressed in their native countries. By the end of the program, not only is their knowledge increased but they feel confident in their new skill acquisition, a key indicator that the program is effective.

Another successful health education program is our Pediatric Asthma prevention program that addresses the main reason for school absenteeism in Camden: asthma. By removing or remediating environmental triggers in the home, simply put, we improve the health of children. In December, we also partnered with NJ Health Initiatives to multiply our impact by educating the Camden school nurses on the importance of asthma treatment plans so that school personnel are proactive in the prevention of asthma. The proof is in the results: there is an 45% reduction in ED visits and a 60% improvement in school attendance for those who have enrolled in the home based component of the program.

Lastly, language acquisition is critical to new immigrants. We offer English as a second Language classes to nearly 500 adults annually with nearly 40% increasing a level in English language skills after 50 hours of instruction. Language ability touches every area of a family’s life from healthcare to communication with various entities including a child’s school. The popularity of these services dispels the myth that immigrants are not interested in learning English. They learn it every day at our center.

Hispanic Family Center’s many programs tell the story about the ways in which an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. For the majority of the community that we serve, an ounce of prevention may be all they receive for now…which makes it ever so important that it be delivered effectively to our growing immigrant population….because we are their fire company.”