We love the opportunity to revisit past BronxWorks stories and share updates on our past participants’ success. Crisbelly Contreras was a part of BronxWorks Children & Youth after-school programs and returned to BronxWorks as a Program Assistant in our SNAP-Ed Nutrition Education and Obesity Prevention program.
In 2012, for our 40th Anniversary, we highlighted Crisbelly’s family. She and her two brothers came up through BronxWorks after-school and summer camp programs at 1130 Grand Concourse. Her mother, Cristina, was a working single mother who relied on BronxWorks as a “safe place” for her children. She spoke to us about how she loved the BronxWorks staff and programming, saying she felt that, “This environment is good for them…I see the difference!”
Crisbelly, who started attending programs at age 7 in 2004, spoke about how at BronxWorks she learned moral values like “respect, responsibility, and caring”. She also recognized how frequently the staff integrated the themes of “Going Green” and making healthy food and beverage choices into the programming. She says today, “The programs were definitely good for me. I have really fond memories of going camping, going to Coney Island every year, Santa coming to visit, swimming, making smoothies and much more. It felt great to be in a space where I was able to make friends, learn and still have fun during after school and summer camp. My brothers also expressed to me how much fun they had.”
Crisbelly joined BronxWorks as a summer camp counselor in 2017, achieving one of her childhood dreams. “Since I was a kid, I always knew I wanted to work for BronxWorks when I became an adult. It was one of my dream jobs to work as a summer camp counselor!” She came back in 2022 to join the SNAP-Ed program full time. In her work as a program assistant, she goes out into the community and offers nutrition education classes along with her peers that focus on the MyPlate nutrition plan and how to cook healthy meals on a budget.
“Working for BronxWorks again as a Nutrition Assistant was definitely influenced by everything I learned while being a participant here,” she says. “I learned the importance of eating healthy and being active at a very young age and understood the importance of sharing that information to my community because of BW. It feels like such a full circle moment to be able to assist in nutrition workshops and create healthy living content to share with my community today.” Crisbelly also manages the BronxWorks Healthy & Livable Mott Haven social media accounts, crafting messages that go out into the community to further the message of SNAP-Ed.
In addition to her work with the SNAP-Ed department Crisbelly is also a co-chair of the BronxWorks LGBTQ+ Committee, a group of staff members from across the organization dedicated to ensuring BronxWorks is an open, welcoming, and affirming environment for LGBTQ+ service recipients, staff, and the community. She says, “I decided to become co-chair of the BronxWorks LGBTQ+ Committee because I wanted to continue to support my communities in different ways. I love that BronxWorks has different committees that help support and inform staff members on a variety of things.”
Folks like Crisbelly who return to BronxWorks after being a participant are evidence of the large impact BronxWorks has had on the Bronx over the past 50 years. Meet some more of our incredible staff and read more stories like this.
To see the original story written for our 40th Anniversary, click here.