CAMBA’s Earl Whitfield to be Honored by PASE

On Tuesday, February 28, 2023 at Cipriani’s 42nd St. in New York City, the Partnership for After School Education (PASE) will host its 30th Anniversary PASEsetter Awards Benefit, celebrating excellence in afterschool education and three decades of PASE.

PASE is expecting over 400 guests – representatives from the corporate, media, academic, government, and philanthropic sectors, as well as PASE network practitioners and the PASE Board of Directors – to join in this special celebration and honor five of the city’s most innovative and effective afterschool educators.

We are thrilled to share that Earl Whitfield, Program Director of CAMBA’s East New York Beacon 166 Community Center at The Van Siclen Community Middle School in East New York, is one of this year’s honorees.
In his current role at CAMBA, Earl oversees all of the programming provided free of charge at Beacon 166, every day from 3-9 p.m. Monday through Saturday, to students from the 1st grade through adult age.

As Earl explains, “In addition to the after school programming we provide to younger, school-age children, we also partner with outside groups to bring in additional programming for adults, so we can provide things like GED courses and tax preparation courses — anything to help be a resource to the community, and it’s all free of charge.”

Earl began his CAMBA tenure as a group leader, serving as a performing arts instructor, and has moved up to his current role of Program Director, which he’s served in for the last five years.

Earl was nominated for the PASEsetter Award by a peer in the field — Carrie Shockley, Ed.D., Director of the John F. Kennedy, Jr. Institute for Worker Education at the CUNY School of Professional Studies.

“Carrie’s worked with me for many years, long before I was a director, and has known me for a long time as a voice instructor, but has also become familiar with my work at CAMBA and wanted to recognize it.”

“One of the first tasks I took on before I became Director was to partner with the school and build a state-of-the-art recording studio right in this building, and over the years our students have performed at events and we’ve even put out a couple of records. Our chorus has performed multiple times at the CAMBA tree lighting ceremony.”

“We tell all of our kids to ‘Be U’ with a capital U, not Y-O-U… to ‘Be Unique’ in anything you do. ‘Be Unified’, don’t be afraid to be on a team, or to lift up your brother or your sister. ‘Be Undefeated’, victory and success are up to you — they can only be measured and defined by the person who’s going after it.”

“I was fortunate enough as a kid to be able to join different extra curricular activities and have certain people put in my path, so it’s definitely not by accident that I was blessed to have those opportunities that a lot of other kids do not have, so I try to create as many spaces as I can for other kids. I made it to this point very intentionally by folks pointing me in the right direction and giving me what I needed, so I try to do the same thing for other kids.”

Congratulations, Earl!