BY YVETTE BROWN
Borough President Melinda Katz appointed seven new members to Community Board 4, one of which happens to be Ingrid Gomez, a social worker at the Child Center of New York. On her first attempt at applying, she was able to get a seat as a board member of CB 4.
“I joined because I want to be able to represent and give voice to members of my community and focus in particular on issues that are affecting CB 4 like overcrowding of schools, human trafficking, domestic violence and rising rent,” said Gomez. “I’m a social worker in Corona, I work as a mental health therapist at the Child Center of New York and so I’m able to see day to day the different issues that are affecting us here, in particular in Corona, and so I felt that it was important to work in the community board.”
She mentioned that she especially wanted to work with immigrant families because she is an immigrant from Colombia.
“I was born in Colombia, moved to Miami when I was seven, then I moved to the Bronx when I was 10 and then I lived in the Bronx for about 20 years, and then when I was about 30 or 31, that’s when I moved to Corona,” said Gomez. “It’s been about two years that I’ve been able to work and live here so as I mentioned earlier, I’m a social worker at the Child Center of NY and I work with Pre-K kids and their families, so most of the children and families are immigrant families from Ecuador, Colombia [and] Mexico and so I really enjoy that, I enjoy the fact that I can live and work here and I’ve been definitely getting out there and getting involved in different community events and supporting our elected officials, supporting our community leaders. I would say that this is where I live, this where I work, this is where I want to be, hopefully for the rest of my life, so this is my home.”
Gomez said that she has always been involved in community work because it’s in her blood.
“I think it’s always been my calling to be of service to others, to help others. I come from a line of helpers, from my mom, who works with psychiatric patients as an activity therapist to my cousin, who is a social worker with elementary school kids to my brother who’s also doing work in his community, so I think it’s really in the blood,” she laughed.
Gomez said that she is hoping that she can bring to light some of the issues that she mentioned before like the overcrowding of schools.
“That’s a big issue here in Corona. We have a lot of large immigrant families and we’ve had schools that have had trailers in the back and I think that that is a problem, however, I know that we recently heard from our Council members that we’re going to have funding for the building of schools, so I think that’s a great move,” said Gomez.
“Going forward there are issues that really concern me especially domestic violence issues that go on with the families that I work with and so that concerns me and again a lot of the women and families are undocumented so getting resources for them, getting them the help they need is something that concerns me, so we’re talking about the people that I deal with every day and I see this happening and I also see that because rent is really high, families are doubling and tripling up, there is no space for kids to really be in their home and read and study comfortably. We do have a very vibrant, growing community and I think that being an immigrant myself, I’m Colombian by birth and I was raised in the Bronx and then came [to Corona], I think I have part of that immigrant experience and working with immigrants day to day helps me to really see that this is what is going on,” she said.
Gomez went on to talk about the training session held on Monday by Katz for all 318 appointees of the community boards.
“They were discussing a lot of very heavy issues [that] I’ve never really known about [like] the Land Use and a lot of situations that deal with governmental organizations and what they have to go through like with the budget. So all of it was pretty new to me and learning it all for the first time was a lot to process. And then we have our swearing in ceremony in June, so I’m really excited about that,” said Gomez. “I’m really honored to have been selected and I take this responsibility very seriously, so I’m super excited,” said Gomez.
Reach Yvette Brown at (718)357-7400 ext. 128, firstname.lastname@example.org or @eveywrites.