Housing assistance. Help with utility bills. Access to day care and early childhood education. Leadership training for teens. These are just some of the programs that the Community Alliance of the Far Eastside (CAFE) provides for the people who live on the far eastside of the city, with a goal of making the community a better place for all.
Indy’s Child spoke to Rosana Marin, family support coach for CAFE, about the many opportunities CAFE offers to the more than 1,200 people they serve per year.
What is CAFE’s mission?
CAFE’s mission is to enhance the quality of life on the far eastside. We work with the far eastside community and its families by guiding and connecting them with opportunities to become financially independent, to build assets and to lead and serve. CAFE is dedicated to engaging adults, youth and seniors in a community network that strives to keep families strong, empowered and connected through opportunities for leadership, self-sufficiency, asset building and social activities.
Preschool and early-childhood education is so important for young children. Can you tell me how CAFE is helping families with young children?
We have been able to enroll 100 families into our Great Families 2020 program. We implement a two-generation approach to support families, working with parents and children simultaneously. The program supports families with not only early-childhood education assistance, but also financial support and educational guidance, workforce development, social capital, and health and well-being access. Families are connected to the regular services at CAFE through its Center for Working Families, receiving one-on-one coaching services based on each family’s need. Also, families are served with dedicated coaches, a family support coach (myself) and a financial coach.
The program partners with eight different early-childhood education centers, Path to Quality Level 3 and 4, located on the eastside. Last year, CAFE had the opportunity to fund about 51 children of 45 families with tuition assistance for childcare placement. It allowed those families the immediate opportunity to enter in the work force, being able to improve their financial stability.
What are some other youth programs that you offer? What kinds of skills are young people learning?
CAFE’s Youth Employment Services Program (YES) assists youth to prepare for job readiness and skills to succeed in the workplace, offering connection to education, jobs and training. It also assists low-income youth residents in the far eastside through barrier-busting support, providing vouchers for childcare, legal assistance, housing or transportation, and more.
Another of our programs is Job Ready Indy, which was created through collaboration with Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett’s office, EmployIndy, the Indy Chamber, and various employers and community organizations around Marion County. Employers can hire these teens with confidence, knowing that Job Ready Indy participants have the foundational employability skills needed.
In what ways are you helping families get through this pandemic?
Families in the far eastside of Indy who have experienced a loss of income or fallen behind on bills due to COVID-19 can apply for emergency assistance. Call the CAFE office at 317-890-3288 to see if you qualify. Families who have lost their job can work with our career coaches, who help families with unemployment application guidance, job search and follow up.
How can our readers help CAFE help more people?
CAFE continues to seek new partners to fill service gaps in the community. We’re committed to raising additional funds to sustain our current programs, as well as to continue assisting the community of the far eastside. Collecting more funds will allow the flexibility to cover hard-to-fund costs, such as utilities, building maintenance and administration costs. The scalability of this concept is only limited to the amount of funds and resources available.