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Service Learning Projects

The projects CCBH works with can be classified under three broad types: voter education, youth development, and reintegration into society (of homeless people, many of whom have gone through the incarceration system). The community organizations include the following: the DOE Fund – Ready, Willing & Able Project, the New York City Voting Assistance Commission, the Harlem Education Activities Fund, and Harlem Fifty.


DOE Fund – Ready, Willing, and Able:

Ready, Willing & Able is the Doe Fund’s holistic, residential, work, and job skills training program which empowers, employs, and supports homeless individuals in their efforts to become self-sufficient, contributing members of society. The program targets the segment of the homeless population considered the hardest to serve: single, able-bodied adults, the majority of whom have histories of incarceration and substance abuse. Criteria for acceptance into the program is that the applicant be ready, willing, and able, both physically and mentally, to work and maintain a drug-free lifestyle.

Over 75% of the homeless men who enter a Ready, Willing & Able facility have a history of incarceration. Some are homeless at their release from prison and join Ready, Willing & Able immediately, others come to us after failing to re-integrate into the community. By offering housing, meaningful work and support services, Ready, Willing & Able offers a perfect platform for homeless ex-offenders to successfully overcome barriers to employment. From past success working with homeless people with criminal backgrounds, Ready, Willing & Able has become a model program for prisoner reentry not only for those who are homeless but also for those living in the community without employment and supports.

To learn more about this program visit their website at: www.doe.org


NYC Voting Assistance Commission:

The role of the Voter Assistance Commission (VAC) is to encourage and facilitate voter registration and voting by all eligible United States citizens residing in New York City. VAC's mission is to increase participation in the democratic process. To achieve this goal, VAC monitors voter registration and voting in New York City. VAC also works with Mayoral agencies, private groups and individuals, and community-based organizations to promote voter registration and voter participation. VAC is comprised of 16 Commissioners and its day-to-day operations are managed by the Coordinator. VAC is strictly nonpartisan, and does not promote any candidate for elected office, political party, or political agenda.

For more information on the NYC Voting Assistance Commission visit their website at: http://www.nyc.gov/html/vac/html/home/home.shtml



The Harlem Education Activities Fund (HEAF) is a comprehensive college preparatory program that helps motivated students develop the skills, knowledge and confidence they need to ensure success in school, career and life. HEAF Continuum identifies scholars in middle schools and support and develops those scholars academically and socially until they graduate from college through a variety of after-school, Saturday and summer educational and youth development programs.

As a volunteer, students get the chance to work with children from ages 12-18, in a series of activities. Students can volunteer in one of their main programs such as the Social Identity Program, Youth Development 101, Counseling Program, High Expectations.

The Social Identity Program explores the student’s gender, socioeconomic status, race, ethnicity, and religion. Students learn how social identities influence their experiences in society. The Youth Development 101 provides the foundation for the youth development programming introducing students to key life skill concepts (positive values, self-esteem, communication, decision making, goal setting, conflict resolution) that will encourage and develop the social and personal competencies. The Counseling Program provides short-term goal oriented individuals and family psychological counseling to both middle school and high school students. Counselors work closely with the youth development and academic staff to provide crisis intervention, conflict resolution and behavior modification for students. The High Expectations participants are accepted into the program in 6th grade. These students will have academic enrichment classes, test preparatory sessions, and college preparatory programs. 

To learn more about these programs visit their website at: www.heaf.org


Harlem Fifty:

Harlem Fifty is a newly created organization currently supporting and educating 15 young African-American men with the ages of 18-25. Most of these men have been in prison or in other kinds of detention centers for minors and many of them have no High School diplomas (or a GED equivalent).

If you volunteer with Harlem Fifty you will get a chance to do a variety of different activities with them. They are currently taking seven classes at the center, some of which include: a course designed to prepare them for the SAT but mostly as a foundation for them to learn how to think critically and analytically; a reading course that will cover different works of literature all of which deal with social unrest; GED and computer literacy classes; and a course on social and moral values.

Harlem Fifty’s men have had numerous problems in the past and most have been rejected by their communities and families. The program’s main objective is to get them out of the streets and prepare them to apply and to get accepted into a college. An integral part of the volunteer project is the creation of an open space in which Columbia students and Harlem Fifty’s young Black men can discuss the impact of the African American experience in the United States. They are the effects of many of the policies inflicted on African American communities, and together, you will be able to discover why and how this has come about.

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