PIP Honor Award 2020

Elba Cruz Schulman

Elba Cruz Schulman was born and raised in Arecibo, Puerto Rico.  After coming to New York City when she was eleven years old, she was educated in the New York school system.  She attended the University of Massachusetts and graduated New Hampshire College, now Southern New Hampshire University with a Batchelor’s degree in Human Services.  She also attended the University of Connecticut School of Social Work with credits toward a Masters in Social Work.  

     Mrs. Schulman has led a full life of service to the community, including employment as a drug counselor, family and youth Counselor and Therapist, Coordinator for Northern Connecticut for the Cuban Refugee Entrants Program, Community Educator and, for the last thirty (30) plus years, as a Medical Social Worker for the City of Hartford, starting first in a new program over thirty-five (35) years ago as a supervisor in the Maternity Infant Outreach Program.   She was the Coordinator for the Hartford Mayor’s Passport To Success program, aiming to provide all youth in the City of Hartford with the opportunity to succeed in life.   She also coordinated and raised the funds for the annual Festival of Lights program in Hartford where 1000 children receive Christmas and holiday toys.

     However, that does not tell the full story about Mrs. Schulman.  She has served on the Boards of Directors of numerous community organizations, including My Sisters Place, the United Way Allocation Committee and Y-US, Inc.  She has served as President of the Advisory Board of the Institute For The Hispanic Family, President and then member of the Capital Region Board of Directors of Catholic Family Services/Catholic Charities and Charter Member and President of the Hartford Multinational Lions Club.  She has served on the Lions District 23B Cabinet in various capacities over the years, and has served as organizer and Guiding Lion of several area Lions Clubs, including the Greater Hartford West Indian Lions Club and the Hartford Hispanic Seniors Lions Club.  She currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Hispanic Health Council, Inc. and Jewish Family Services, Inc.  She is Vice-President of the Larrabee Foundation. She is on the Board of the Hispanic Health Council, Inc. She has served as a member of her parish council at Sacred Heart Church in Bloomfield and serves further as a Commissioner of the Bloomfield Housing Authority.  

     Mrs. Schulman has received a number of awards and recognitions, including the 1999 Lewis Fox Middle School Outstanding Woman Of The Year Award, the Maria Sanchez Award for outstanding community service and a University of Connecticut Certificate of Appreciation for a lifetime of outstanding commitment and dedication to help issues effecting women and children and being a role model for all citizens.   

     Mrs. Schulman is married to Attorney Sydney T. Schulman, who is a former Mayor of Bloomfield.  She served as First Lady of Bloomfield and is or has been involved in many organizations and efforts in Bloomfield, such as the Association for Bloomfield’s Children, School Readiness Council, Rehoboth Church of God Community Development Group and others.  She has seven (7) children, thirteen (13) grandchildren and two great-grandchildren, who are the light of her life. 

PIP Community Award 2020

On behalf of the members of The Board of Directors of the Collin Bennett Building, I humbly accept the 2020 Community Award you have so generously offered to North Family Life Center.

North Family Life Center, Inc. (NFLC) 501(c)(3) was established in December 2017 as the community outreach arm of North United Methodist Church incorporating projects such as NUMC Food Share Pantry, Gifts for God’s Children Clothing Bank and Gardners’ House.  In 2018, North Family Life Center partnered with Upper Albany Hunger Action Team to create, and remain the Fiduciary of, Promise Zone Community Farmers’ Market.

Our mission is to enhance the lives of the residents in the Greater Hartford community through acts of love: providing educational programming, support services and access to basic needs such as clothing and food. The programs are administered with contributions and grants, which allow us to serve hundreds of families weekly with groceries and provide access to affordable fresh fruits and vegetables while supporting our local farmers. A Diaper Bank was recently added and children up to age 12 can also get items of clothing. Youth are engaged in training and employment programs through our endeavors with community advocates and the state, to minimize youth violence.

Earlier this year at the start of the pandemic and considering the higher risk in our community due to the continued health disparities, exasperated because of pre-existing underlying conditions, we started a MOVE (Mobilizing Our Vulnerable Easily) initiative. In partnership with Connecticut Area Heath Education Center Network at UCONN Health we have encouraged dozens of residents to be more active wherever they are and measure their steps with a free pedometer.

Strategically, the furtherance of our existing programs to minimize hunger, prevent youth violence, address other issues around homelessness and suitable housing for our aging population are paramount.

With much appreciation, we sincerely thank Gardner’s’ House for making a difference in the lives of so many in our community and taking the time to recognize North Family Life Center.

In God we trust.

Donna Trowers-Morrison

Board Member

Hope a Journey to Triumph Book Project

This project which highlights the stories of 20 individuals whose lives have been transformed by Cancer.

Many of these individuals are cancer survivors, or relatives of an individual who had cancer.  Their stories are one that illustrates hope, faith resiliency towards their journey to Triumph. Each author writes an individual chapter which illustrates their personal journey. They are each on a mission to bless the lives of others.

In addition to celebrating and honoring these co- authors in this  book, Triumph will serve as a fundraising and promotional campaign for Gardner’s House as they assist cancer patients and survivors. Gardener’s House mission is to bridge the gap between the medical support system of the patient as they readjust to the activities of daily life.

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Empowering Breast Cancer Survivors

Hartford, CT, Wednesday, August 7, 2019–
The national rate of breast cancer detection is on the rise. Connecticut has the second highest rate of breast cancer detection in the country. Interestingly, while early detection is on the rise, so are the rates of breast cancer survival.

Executive Director, Maggie Gardner of Gardner’s House, Hartford, CT attributes this astounding rate of survival only partial to the rates of early detection, but rather attributes rising early detection rates to the rising rates of breast cancer screening; together with compassionate care post diagnosis, all three are responsible for the rates of increasing breast cancer survival. Research suggests that rising rates of early breast cancer detection are due to routine breast health screening, as well as the early detection of breast cancer, the location of the cancer when localized to the breast, and patient centered care the patient received post diagnosis. Gardner explains, “With a cancer diagnosis may arise fear, shame, humiliation, housing threat, job loss, which put tremendous pressure on the patient and family. Pressure is often unanticipated, thus interfering with one’s ability to “survive their breast cancer diagnosis.”

The Mission of Gardner’s House is to bridge the gap between the medical support of the cancer Patient and the needs of the Person struggling to return to the requirements of daily life. A generous grant from Pink Aid, Westport, CT, in support of Gardner’s House, Empowering Survivors Program will offer 11 women, diagnosed with breast cancer in CT, alleviation of the pressure of breast cancer through physical and emotional support, focused on family centered care, during the process of regaining their health and economic well-being following a breast cancer diagnosis. With this grant, Gardner’s House will provide community resources that may otherwise be denied to survivors due to ineligibility. Empowering Survivor’s patient centered care offers support through home visitation and the provision of basic needs, so that survivors can remain in their homes, access necessary medical care and focus on their health and economic well-being as survivors.

Executive Director, Maggie Gardner is a two-time cancer survivor and together with the Board of Directors and team of volunteers, provides patient centered care for cancer survivors and their families. Director Gardner affirms, “We believe that helping people help themselves makes them stronger and gives survivors the courage to overcome challenges associated with the cancer, so that they can find the strength to overcome any weakness.”

To learn more about Empowering Survivors, please call Maggie Gardner at (860) 206-7754.

Travelers Golf Championship Birdies for Charities

The Mission of Gardner’s House is to bridge the gap between the medical support of the Cancer Patient and the needs of the Person who is struggling to return to the requirements of daily life. Should community resources be denied due to ineligibility, Gardner’s House provides the necessary direction and referral to opportunities and resources for support. We believe in helping people help themselves, offering survivors and families’ accessibility to the resources needed for survival and the hope and strength needed to overcome a battle with cancer. We focus on the basic needs of the whole family and engage the community, so that the unity of the family is preserved and real-world services and referrals are made, received and helpful. Volunteers are vital to our success, collecting basic needs, harvesting school gardens, and spreading Gardner’s House’s mission, as well as sharing in our fight for the betterment of cancer survivors and their families and the good deeds of the community.

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