Monthly Archives: November 2009

Fair Work: Symposium on Cooperative Development

On December 18, 2009, we are hosting a symposium on Fair Work: Building and Strengthening Ties within the Worker-Owner Cooperative Community in New York City. Part of Center for Family Life’s Annual Sister Mary Geraldine Symposium series, the event will bring together cooperative members, organizers and others interested in discussing issues related to the growing worker-owned coop movement.

Following a closed morning session for cooperative members and developers, afternoon programs will include presentations on a variety of topics:

  • Keynote speech by Stu Schneider of Cooperative Home Care Associates.
  • The role of expert consultants in helping cooperative businesses succeed in a highly competitive marketplace (Presenter: Michael Melcher, CFL Advisory Board member).
  • The role of cooperatives in advocacy and organizing for workers’, immigrants’ and environmental rights campaigns. (Presenters: members of the Beyond Care Cooperative and representatives of Domestic Workers United).
  • A workshop on decision making, conflict resolution and the social/emotional benefits of participating in a worker-owned coop. (Presenters: members of the We Can Do It! Women’s Cooperative and Unity Cleaners)

The event will be held at the Murphy Institute in Manhattan; attendance is free. Programs open to the public will begin at 12:00 and end by 4:00 pm. Lunch will be served, courtesy of the Emigre Gourmet cooking collective.

If you have questions about the event, don’t hesitate to contact Vanessa Bransburg at or (718) 633 4823. Please RSVP by December 11 so we can reserve a seat for you!

Location: Murphy Institute for Worker Education and Labor Studies,  25 West 43rd Street, New York, NY.


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Center for Family Life Remembers Sister Mary Paul


Sister Mary Paul Janchill, 1920-2009

On November 11, Center for Family Life staff gathered at the new Sunset Park High School for an annual retreat dedicated to the memory of our beloved founder and leader, Sister Mary Paul Janchill, who passed away last May.

Speaking at the memorial were several of Sister’s longtime friends and colleagues, including Gretchen Lord, supervisor in the Center’s family counseling services; Hélène Onserud, director of our community school project at P.S. 1; Robert J. McMahon, executive director of our parent organization, SCO Family of Services; Brenda McGowan, James R. Dumpson Chair in Child Welfare Studies at Fordham University Graduate School of Social Service and co-author of a book about Center for Family Life; Vanessa Baez-Sacasa, coordinator of our neighborhood-based foster care program; Amy LaTorres, director of our afterschool program at P.S. 503/P.S. 506; and Sister Paulette LoMonaco, executive director of Good Shepherd Services.

For those who could not attend the event, or would like to preserve memories of it, we are posting excerpts of the speeches below and some of the rare photos of Sister Mary Paul that were on display. The entire slideshow is available for download here (.ppt, 39 Mb).

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Cooking East to West: A Cultural Culinary Course

cookingflyer_smallIf you love to cook, don’t miss our new, three-day course that introduces participants to the culinary traditions of Southeast Asia, the Middle East Latin America & the Caribbean. We invite you to learn techniques and recipes from the experienced home chefs of Émigré Gourmet – culinary craftswomen who will help you conjure the exotic flavors of their native cuisines – and chef instructors from Kingsborough Community College.

Those familiar with the neighborhood know that Sunset Park is a fascinating culinary destination. In its diverse immigrant communities, the ancient “spice route” is recreated in miniature within these three square miles of New York City. In the cultural groups that make up the Sunset Park, many families have preserved the culinary customs and traditions of their ancestors, and exotic ingredients they use to prepare these foods are relatively easy to come by. In this course, participants will not only to learn preparing traditional foods; the class will also provide an opportunity for informal discussion of the cultural context of each cuisine; for example, whether a certain dish is served to celebrate a bride’s wedding shower, to break the fast at Ramadan, or has some other particular significance.

Course sessions will take place on three consecutive Tuesday nights, beginning December 1, in our kitchen at Center for Family Life (345 43rd Street in Brooklyn). Sessions run from 6pm to 9pm. Cooking lessons are, of course, followed by a dinner together to enjoy the foods prepared by you and the instructors! The fee for the course is $150.

Class size is limited – reserve space now!

For more information, please contact Jessica Bonilla at (718) 633 4823 or


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