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Center for Family Life “Making it in Brooklyn” Gala a Great Success

May 8, 2014 / SCO News

SCO/Center for Family Life’s 2014 Gala Fundraiser & Cocktail Party was a great success! The smell of chocolate led supporters through the Brooklyn Army Terminal and into the magnificent Jacques Torres Chocolate Factory, where we celebrated the spirit of entrepreneurship, leadership and community development.

We honored five individuals with our “Celebrating Community” Award: Cooperatives United for Sunset Park (represented by Sara Castillo, Elvira Rojas, Yuri Sanchez, and Monica Valerio) and Jacques Torres, individuals whose success as immigrant entrepreneurs has lead our neighborhood’s economic revival and inspired its residents to believe that they, too, can “make it in Sunset Park.”

About the honorees

Elvira Rojas came to the U.S. 24 years ago from Puebla, Mexico and held low-paying factory jobs until 2010, when she helped to launch a new worker cooperative, Beyond Care, a child care service.

Sara Paredes Castillo came to the United States 19 years ago from the Dominican Republic. A year ago, she joined the cooperative Golden Steps, which works with the elderly.

Yuri Sanchez came to the U.S. 9 years ago from Tlaxcala, Mexico. After working in the textile industry, she recently began working to help launch and manage Trusty Amigos, the newest CFL cooperative for pet care and dog walking, which will open in June 2014.

Monica Valerio came to the United States 22 years ago from the Dominican Republic. A nutritionist in her native country, Monica found work in the U.S. as a babysitter and by cleaning buildings – including CFL’s offices. She became a founding member of Si Se Puede!, a cleaning cooperative, and is often sought after for her expertise in training and development of the business process.

Jacques Torres was born in Bandol, France. He came to the United States 26 years ago as the Corporate Pastry Chef for the Ritz Carlton, and opened his first chocolate factory in 2000 in DUMBO, Brooklyn. Today, Torres produces his chocolates at a new state-of-the-art 40,000 square foot chocolate factory in Sunset Park.


of residents in our group homes for adults with developmental disabilities attended Day Habilitation and receive vocational services

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