#GivingTuesday is December 1st

Giving Tuesday
Donald was all smiles at his ACE Graduation Ceremony

Articles and studies are published on a rolling basis that demonstrate philanthropic giving’s direct relationship to happiness and success.  Here is is an op-ed from the New York Times about exactly that. And here is an article from Science Magazine that cites a Harvard study shows buying gifts for yourself negligibly increases happiness, but giving to others dramatically increases positive feelings for yourself and others.

#GivingTuesday is a chance for us to grab the attention of the public and do some true good in our city, in our world, and in our own lives. Giving will make you happier, it will improve the lives of homeless and impoverished, and it will spur true change in our city. Spread the word about #GivingTuesday.

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Thank You for Helping Lance Go from Shelter to Supervisor

Lance moved to New York City with his mother and father when he was seven. He had a middle-class upbringing and was never worried about financial insecurity. “My dad made good money as an accountant. I never imagined growing up that I could be homeless.”Lance and Jim

Lance graduated high school and immediately wanted to start working. He got a job as a bike messenger for a firm on the 86th floor of World Trade Center One. On the morning of September 11th, 2001, Lance locked up his bike and entered a deli across the street from the World Trade Center. As he put in his usual breakfast order, he was jarred by a series of explosions.

“Oh my God, a plane hit the World Trade Center”

I looked out the window and thought, oh my God, a plane hit the World Trade Center. After a while, the deli filled with soot and debris and everyone started to panic. I panicked. I ran out of the deli and headed for the One train. When I got to the station the police were pushing people into the train. Everyone was yelling and crying. It took an hour to get to 34th street, and that’s when they made the announcement that Tower Two had collapsed. I was in a daze. Later that night, when I finally made it home to the Bronx, my parents and my grandparents broke down. They had thought I was gone.”

ing a freight train coming at me”Lance and His Dad Hug“Finding myself homeless was like standing on the track and see

Like many thousands of New Yorkers whose companies were devastated, Lance lost his job. He shifted gears and started taking classes at Devry University. For a decade, Lance maintained a series of steady jobs, but in 2013 his life took a tragic turn.

Lance had a good position working at the Department of Commerce, but budget cuts were implemented and he was laid off. At the time, he was living with his mother and father in a run-down building in the Bronx. His family was forced to vacate the apartment when they refused to pay rent after a bathtub fell through their ceiling. Lance had no income, no home and his fLances Dadamily had nowhere to go.

Suddenly, Lance and his parents were homeless. They entered the New York City shelter program, and it was there that things went from bleak to terrible. After a short time in the shelter, Lance’s mother unexpectedly passed away due to a he
art attack. Lance was distraught and fell into a depression. Looking back on that time he says, “I took things for granted. Finding myself homeless was like standing on the track and seeing a freight train coming at me.”
A counselor at the homeless shelter referred Lance to ACE’s vocational training program, Project Comeback. It was your support that provided Lance this path back to self-sufficiency. You provided the work experience on ACE’s maintenance crew and the classroom resources he needed to build his resume and apply to jobs. After six months with ACE, Lance earned a full-time position as the Crew Supervisor on the Broadway Clean Team.

“Thank you for believing in me”

Lance at the deskAt the ACE graduation ceremony, Lance touched the audience when he pointed to his father and said, “I just want to make you proud.” With tears in their eyes they embraced. This compelling moment happened because you, and others like you, gave a gift to someone in need. In Lance’s words, “Being helped by someone who doesn’t know you, who is willing to give you a chance, that feels great. Because of those supporters, I am actually now in a position to give to others who want an opportunity. It is incredible.”

It’s now a year later and Lance is doing great. He continues to proudly earn a living managing the Clean Team and he rents an apartment in Staten Island. He asked us to pass on this message, “Thank you for believing in me.”

 

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How to Have a Great Time with Your Friends and Help the Homeless: The Art Strut

Getting involved in the fight against homelessness can be overwhelming. There are, however, ways to help those Art Strutin need just by doing what you love.

For example, Danielle Natzinitsky wanted to help homeless New Yorkers, and she knew that her friends and neighbors were interested too. She decided to harness the momentum of her community focused organization the SoHo Strut and donate the proceeds from her community event, The Art Strut, to help men and women at ACE get back into the workforce.

The evening was focused on art appreciation in SoHo and drew a savvy crowd to the Zen House. Featured art included Cernesto, Joseph Maloy, Gumshoeart, Eddy Bogaert, WizardSkull, Ramiro Studios and Brandon Seins. A good time was had by all, and as a bonus, Danielle and each one of you who attended contributed to raising $2,000 dollars for job-training programs at ACE.
you.

If you have a hobby, interest or talent that you want to utilize to help homeless men and women break into the workforce, please reach out to Jessica Cannold at jcannold@acenewyork.org. If that does not sound like you, don’t worry. Your straight forward donation is already providing life-changing opportunities.

 

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Thanks to You ACE is an Emerging Leader

2014-01-23 08.26.26 (1)ACE began in SoHo 22 years ago with one man sweeping one block.  Thanks to your support, we have grown into a multi-faceted organization that addresses all of our participants needs, serving over 400 individuals annually.  We’re proud that just in the past few years we’ve expanded our reach and now provide maintenance services in all five boroughs.  Now, it looks like our influence may even cross the New York State borders as we have been asked to provide assistance for workforce development programs in Baltimore, MD, through a two-year grant, awarded by the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation.

ACE senior staff members travelled to Baltimore in August and met with staff from the Weinberg Foundation as well as city and health and human services officials. The Baltimore based representatives voiced their hopes of replicating ACE’s NYC results in Baltimore.  We are honored to be emerging as a leader in the homeless services field, and that our impact is garnering attention in other afflicted cities.  (Fun Fact: ACE’s graduation rates are consistently 18% higher than similar programs in NYC.)  We thank the Weinberg Foundation for their recognition of an outstanding and effective program, and we thank all of our supporters, partners, and friends, because without your generosity, ACE might have still been on only one block.

Thanks to You, Nicole is Going Back to College

Success Story NicoleNicole, a 2013 ACE graduate, is headed to Metropolitan College! Nicole is the proud recipient of the Henry Buhl Academic Scholarship. Below is a brief glance at her harrowing comeback story:

Nicole’s childhood was not a dollhouse fairy tale, but a crack-house nightmare. Born and raised in Newark, Nicole’s mother was on and off drugs and her older brother was a dealer. Nicole remembers seeking comfort and refuge at her best friend’s house, but that turned out to be a devastating mistake, as drugs were more available and accessible there than a glass of milk.  By the time she was 11 years old, sadly, Nicole was in and out of Juvenile detention and incarceration followed.

“My mother used to kick me out of the house if she thought I used drugs,” remembers Nicole, “but she would also kick me out when she was desperate for drugs herself and I had nothing to give her.”

As a young girl, before the weight of a broken home could be felt, Nicole loved school and spent her free time writing stories. Nicole’s mother even encouraged her to pursue education, but Nicole followed her mother’s example instead of her words and dropped out of school in the 8th grade.

Debilitated by her addictions, Nicole continued a relentless self-sabotage that brought nothing but guilt and despair.  When she did manage to hold a job, she would scrape her pennies together to get her fix. “Life was dull and meaningless,” she said, “getting high was all that really mattered. I was tired of myself, I didn’t even know what it was like to be normal anymore.”

 

In 2012, she mustered the strength to fight her addiction, and reached out to the St. Lukes Detox Clinic of New York. After St. Luke’s, Nicole sought treatment at ARC in the Bronx, and it was there that her roommate told her about ACE.

 

“Honestly, at first when I turned to ACE in 2012, I was only thinking about the money that I would get there while training for a job. But after staying with the program for a little longer, I realized that you could hardly put a price tag on what I was getting at ACE”, says Nicole, noting that after she relapsed in July and was temporarily suspended from the ACE programs, she felt like she was banned from her heartland. “When I came back in August, 2012, I knew I had the best support system here and I better make it work for me,” she said warmly.

Nicole graduated from ACE’s job-training program, Project Comeback, in 2013, where she earned a Food Safety and a Serve Safe Certificate. From there, she secured part time work in the kitchen of an Applebee’s in the Bronx, and now she is working full-time as a line cook at Bond 45 in midtown, Manhattan. “It’s a different world for me. People are so nice and interesting.”  She shared, “I saw Barbara Walters the other day—she asked about the food choices and we chatted!”

We are proud that Nicole is also ACE’s most recent Project Home participant.  This past June, Nicole moved into an apartment of her own and is receiving a 3 year rent subsidy from ACE to relieve some of her financial burden while she pursues her educational goals.

For Nicole, ACE is the place where she finally received the support she needed to balance her professional, legal, financial, healthcare and housing issues. She gave a special thanks to ACE’s Project Stay Coordinator. “Ms. Jackson called me so many times and we talked… She anticipated my needs before I thought I had any!”

We are constantly inspired by the resilience and strength of our participants. We love sharing these hopeful success stories because they are a direct result of your sustained support and partnership of ACE’s programs. Nicole deserved a chance to have a safe home and education as a child, but it was taken from her. Now, thanks to you, she gets that opportunity as an adult. It is a dream come true for Nicole to attend Metropolitan College and pursue a degree as a social worker. She plans on being there for young kids as they struggle in afflicted households.

We are incredibly proud of you, Nicole, and we know that you will use your experiences to break a cycle of generational trauma and make this world a better place.

Class Today Career Tomorrow

custodial trainingHard skills are extremely important to those seeking employment. Last year we implemented an intensive OSHA training and Food Handling certificate course that has been an asset to dozens of men and women, whose certification has been a path to employment. This year, we are going ever further and adding a comprehensive Custodial Training Program.  This is not your basic mopping and cleaning course. This curriculum will include:

  • Basic Chemistry for Custodians
  • OSHA “Right to Know Law”: Hazardous Chemicals
  • OSHA “Blood-borne Pathogens, Bodily Fluids”: Resilient Floor Maintenance
  • Emergency Preparedness and Response

Completing this course will qualify our participants for full-time custodial positions in hotels, hospitals, schools, and government and professional office buildings.  We cannot wait to launch this program, and we look forward to reporting all of the expected success.

Trainings like these are made possible by your donations, so we thank you for your part in creating real change and real jobs for those who need them most!