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Making it in Brooklyn: SCO’s Center for Family Life Celebrates Neighborhood Entrepreneurs

May 5, 2014 / SCO News

BROOKLYN, N.Y. – Immigrant entrepreneurs – including world-famous chocolatier and chef Jacques Torres and Sunset Park worker cooperative leaders – will be honored May 8th at the 2014 SCO Family of Services/Center for Family Life Gala Fundraiser & Cocktail Party to be held at Jacques Torres’ chocolate factory at the Brooklyn Army Terminal in Sunset Park.

The success of these immigrant entrepreneurs has been a major force in Sunset Park’s economic revival and has inspired its residents to believe that they, too, can “Make it in Sunset Park,” the theme of the fundraiser. The event will take place from 6:00 to 8:00pm May 8th. For tickets and more info: sco.org/CFLgala.

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.

The four cooperative leader honorees are also immigrants. They are all involved in worker cooperatives which were incubated by SCO Family of Services’ Center for Family Life, a nationally recognized co-op developer. The cooperative leaders being recognized are:

  • 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.

For interviews with the cooperative leaders, please contact SCO Communications Director Sharman Stein: sstein@sco.org, (718) 797-3068.

Event sponsors include: Mike’s Hot Honey, Jacques Torres, Brooklyn Slate Co., Morris Kitchen, Industry City Distillery, With love, from Brooklyn, Mumm Napa, Goldman Sachs and CBRE.

Center for Family Life, a program of SCO Family of Services, is a neighborhood-based family and social services organization with deep roots in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. SCO Family of Services provides human services for 60,000 children, youth, families and adults each year in New York City and on Long Island. For more info, go to www.sco.org.

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