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Meet Emely. She is a young woman whose life was threatened when she was an infant. But she overcame enormous hurdles and is now a bright student with a promising future. The CHCF Young Women’s Advocacy Program helped her through some rough spots, and now she is learning to be a community leader and an advocate!
At the end of his freshman year, David Molfa was at risk of not graduating on time. He struggled with excessive absences, and was behind in credits.
In 10th grade, David enrolled in the CHCF attendance improvement and dropout prevention program and began attending CHCF’s weekly leadership development classes. Gradually, David began attending school more regularly and showed a passion for learning.
“I used to be satisfied with mediocre grades,” commented David. “But now that I’ve had the opportunity to work with CHCF, I see myself having a prosperous future.”
Due to his commitment to transformation, he was invited to participate in CHCF’s Opening Doors to the Future internship program, where he excelled and showed a tremendous work ethic.
David was asked to make the opening remarks and share his story at CHCF’s President Grace Bonilla’s Welcome Reception on January 15, 2015.
“My relationship with CHCF staff is great…. They care about my future,” David shared. “As a student in CHCF programs, I’ve been challenged to think critically about social issues that impact my community. I’ve learned to be a stronger leader and more a more introspective person.
David is now a “Principal” honor roll student (90% and above GPA) and an active voice in CHCF’s Young Men’s Leadership Project at PROGRESS High School. He plans to pursue his bachelor’s degree and hopes to one day become an attorney. He has been asked to participate in a second round of internships, and is the first participant in our Opening Doors program to be placed at a law office, McKinley Onua & Associates in Brooklyn, NY.
The Committee for Hispanic Children and Families, Inc.’s (CHCF) Board of Directors is pleased to announce that Grace C. Bonilla, Esq. has been selected as the new President and Chief Executive Officer of the organization. She assumed her role January 5th, 2015.
After thirty two years of dedicated service, founder and long-time president of CHCF, Elba Montalvo, retired. Filling Ms. Montalvo’s shoes was a tall order; however, Ms. Bonilla’s talent, passion, and vision along with her commitment to working for underserved families and children make her a strong successor.
Ms. Bonilla has dedicated her career to the public sector, advocating for the rights of underserved communities. She was with the New York City Human Resources Administration/Department of Social Services (HRA/DSS) from 2004-2014, most recently serving as the Deputy Commissioner overseeing the Office of Community Affairs and Immigrant Services. In this capacity, Ms. Bonilla worked on issues regarding language access, immigrant eligibility, disability rights, and community engagement.
“The CHCF Board is excited about Grace’s appointment as the new President and CEO. Grace is an inspirational and visionary leader who is mission-driven. She will be a passionate champion and strong advocate for Latino children and families,” said Denise Durham Williams, Board Chair.
Ms. Bonilla’s commitment to the wellbeing of all children and families will carry CHCF into the future as the organization grows and as it continues to be the source of information, education, and advocacy for Latino families in New York.
She received her BA in Political Science from St. John’s University, and her JD from Brooklyn Law School. She is a native New Yorker and currently lives in Queens with her husband and three sons.