We posted this video one year ago following Herbert, Ricky and Donnell. We are proud to say Herbert has been employed steadily since July, 2015. Ricky has been employed since September 2012, has completed Project Home, and has been promoted to a Supervisor in his workplace. Our last check-in with Donnell he had remained employed for a full two years from graduating Project Comeback.
“My time with ACE was probably my best experience because it brought me back into reality. My worst time was probably around 5 years ago because that’s when all my legal situations started. It just went down hill. In my teenage years, I was hanging with the wrong crowd. I guess when you’re at that age, you want to be accepted; everybody’s doing the wrong thing and I went along with it and I’m paying for it now. Here’s my advice to new ACE participants: No matter how much you dislike the work, how much you dislike going to classes. Just remember it’s about becoming a member of society and gaining a work ethic. In a month from now, I’m going to getting an apartment with my fiancée in Brooklyn or Far Rockaway. I’m expecting my first child soon too, so it’s crunch time.”
It is troubling to witness homelessness and poverty reach new extremes in our city. On any given day, you might see a dozen or more men and women on the street and in desperate need of help. With winter closing in, the stakes are as real as they get, and there is no quick fix in sight. There is, however, hope for the future if we continue to offer men and women a path to self-sufficiency.
A young ACE graduate named Franklin recently said to me, “Thank you for helping me remember that I matter.” I pass that message on to you today because it captures precisely the way in which you are helping homeless men and women in our city. By offering at risk and underserved New Yorkers work experience and job-readiness education, you are boldly telling them that their contributions to society matter that each one of their lives is important.
Since 1992, ACE partners like you have helped over 2,500 mothers, fathers, wives, husbands, daughters, sons, sisters and brothers become gainfully employed and safely housed. Thank you for helping our fellow citizens gain the practical skills necessary to find and maintain full-time employment and housing. Homelessness may be far from defeated, but you have helped thousands of families rise above it.
If you are reading this now, it is because you share the belief that Franklin, the young ACE Graduate, matters. I am writing it because I want you to know that you matter.
For your past and continued partnership, you have my thanks.
At this year’s Gala we honored two of our staunchest and most generous partners, Ms. Elisabeth Holder Raberin and Mr. Pierre Raberin. You may recognize them as the family behind the legendary brand Ladurée, known worldwide for their Macarons and fine food.
Last year, the Parisian powerhouse opened doors to its first U.S. location, right here in SoHo. It is a beautiful and spacious restaurant, tea salon and pastry shop, colorfully decorated and with with Macarons spilling over the front counters.
The Ladurée brand is known worldwide for their corporate social responsibility. With the intention of contributing to a flourishing NYC community, Elisabeth and Pierre have literally done everything in their power to help ACE get homeless and impoverished New Yorkers into the workforce. They have hired men and women straight from our program, sponsored and hosted events, and donated their resources. They have become a part of the ACE family.
One of ACE’s regular staff, Travis Tinney, caught up with Ms. Holder Raberin and asked her a bit about why Ladurée believes in ACE and what goes into making their restaurant such a special addition to NYC.
Travis: Why does Ladurée support ACE? And how do the two share similar goals?
Ladurée President of U.S. Operations, Elisabeth Holder Raberin: Ladurée is a family business and growing up my brother and I were always taught to give back and help others. ACE echoes that sentiment and we are so thrilled to be a part of such a wonderful organization that is helping to change lives and better our community.
What are your goals for Ladurée as a socially responsible and proactive enterprise?
We strive to set high standards in the company that reflect not only our brand heritage but that help propel our business and staff to be part of the community and give back through organizations such as ACE.
What is it about Ladurée that makes you such a unique addition to the NYC community?
The rich heritage and history of the brand is really unique. Ultimately, Ladurée brings a piece of France to New York through our expertise in food, wine, and pastries—what we call L’Art de Vivre.
What is the philosophy that goes into building the menu at Ladurée? Are you showcasing favorite cuisines? Creating a mood? Do you have a favorite dish?
The menu at Ladurée SoHo is a mix of signature dishes that have been part of Ladurée for years infused with dishes that we knew were a staple in New York. We also have seasonal menu with fresh new ingredients that are in season. My favorite dish is the Vol-au-vent, a puff pastry filled with chicken, wild mushrooms and cream sauce, A Laduree Classic.
What is your favorite aspect of dining at Ladurée in the spring and summer?
The Garden at Ladurée SoHo is my favorite part of the Spring and Summer in New York. It is something we look forward to all Winter. Sitting outside under the cherry blossom trees with the warm sun is just something you cannot take for granted in New York and I am so happy to be able to share that with all of our guests.
We are very grateful to Ladurée for their unceasing support of ACE, and their belief in a better NYC. You can learn more about everything Ladurée at www.laduree.com, and you can taste it for yourself at 398 West Broadway. Bon appétit!
Three years ago, a man named Maceo overcame homelessness and addiction and graduated from ACE’s Project Comeback. At the same time, ACE was unrolling a new housing initiative called Project Home. The idea behind Project Home was simple—provide a rent subsidy for committed individuals and they will have the stability they need to further their education and grow in their career. Maceo applied and was accepted, and we are proud to announce that, as of March 2015, he successfully completed the three-year subsidy program. The results speak for themselves.
Maceo graduated Project Comeback, in 2012, by earning a job as a line cook at IHOP. His hourly wage was $12.50. Fast-forward through three years of stable housing, sobriety, and a renewed sense of purpose and you have today’s Maceo. Currently, he is the General Manager of an entire food court, and his salary has increased nearly 200% since his time at IHOP, plus full benefits. In addition to career success he has strengthened his relationship with his daughter and family.
Maceo’s transformation is yet another demonstration that a dedicated individual can reach entirely new limits when given the proper trust and support. Maceo maintains that, “If I can do it, anyone can do it.”
Every single person who has supported ACE in the past three years shares in Maceo’s success. An incredible fact to consider is that Maceo is one of thousands of individuals that ACE has helped over the years. Imagine all of the family members and friends that have been influenced and inspired by their turnaround. Consider all of the funding and resources that the city and taxpayers would have spent on housing and treatment. Together with you, our partner, we are transforming lives and communities that in a way that will be felt for generations.