BRANCH OF THE VINCENTIAN FAMILY INVOLVED IN THE PROJECT: Sisters of Charity, Halifax
NAME OF SYSTEMIC CHANGE PROJECT: The Maura Clarke-Ita Ford (MCIF) Center
PROJECT ADDRESS: 138 Bleecker Street Brooklyn, New York 11221
CONTACT PERSON: Mary Burns, SC
LENGTH OF TIME THE PROJECT/PROGRAM HAS BEEN IN EXISTENCE: 17 years
PROJECT WEBSITE: http://www.mauraclarke-itafordcenter.org
The aim of the Center is to provide opportunities for women to grow in self esteem through, education, job training and leadership development. The Center has its own 501 c 3 with Sisters of Charity serving on the Board. Project participants fill leadership roles with Vincentian family member serving as advisors. We hope to continue to have a presence on the Board and provide some funding through applied grants.
Women Religious gathered for many years for support and would speak about meeting the needs of women. In 1993 I decided to do something. I began talking to women in the neighborhood and it was determined that an education Center would be a good place to begin. A site was found in Bushwick, Brooklyn and the need was for ESL so that is where we began.
The project has always been organic. The needs of the women are listened to and then the center tries to move in that direction and continue to develop from there. In terms of leadership and collaboration, MCIF is a member organization of East Brooklyn Congregations which is part of the Industrial Areas Foundation. Local trainings take place at the Center and issues are addressed. One such issue currently being addressed is the poor quality of public schools in the area.
Opportunities are provided and women are given the chance to get involved. Some great leaders have come from the Center. Women learn from each other and one by one they learn to speak for themselves and their families. The strategy employed to achieve systemic change is education.