News from Fedcap

ReServe, West Harlem Development Corp. Announce 2nd “Summer Seniors Employment Program"

ReServe (www.reserveinc.org), an innovative nonprofit that places professionals age 55+ with nonprofits and government agencies that need their expertise, and West Harlem Development Corporation (WHDC), which promotes growth and quality of life in West Harlem, today announced their second "Summer Seniors Employment Program (SSEP)." ReServe is part of the Fedcap Rehabilitative Services family of programs.

Through this collaborative effort, ReServe will recruit 100 West Harlem residents age 55+ who will lend their skills and expertise to high-impact service projects at nonprofits throughout New York City. Participants will work approximately 12 hours per week for up to 10 weeks during the summer, earning a stipend of $10 per hour. Stipends are funded through a $216,000 grant provided to ReServe by The West Harlem Development Corporation.

"Through ReServe’s innovating matching strategy and expertise in engaging older professionals for part-time service work, ReServe is poised to help WHDC expand its impact in West Harlem and throughout New York City," said Christine McMahon, President and Chief Executive Officer of Fedcap.

"ReServe is delighted to partner again with West Harlem Development Corporation for a second Summer of Senior Service," said ReServe Director Laura Traynor. "This year, we’re doubling the size - and impact - of the program by including up to 100 West Harlem seniors who will be placed in non-profit and public service organizations throughout the city. We’re grateful to the West Harlem Development Corporation for organizing this grassroots initiative that demonstrates the value older adults bring to their community. We look forward to another successful summer!"

"The Summer Seniors Employment Program helps a demographic that has a hard time finding a job to afford food, medicine and spending money," said WHDC Executive Director Kofi A. Boateng, PhD. "Many seniors also end up learning a new skill, and their employers are happy to have extra staff at no-cost to them."

The 2013 SSEP was a great success, with participants contributing their services to numerous nonprofits, community groups and church-based programs including PALANTE Harlem, Mid-Bronx Council Services, Our Lady of Lourdes Church, MAMA Foundation, Bronx AARP, Harlem Arts Alliance, New Song Church, Fedcap and more.

ReServist Jewel Johnson worked as a Community Liaison at WHDC in 2013, talking to Harlem residents about ReServe and helping them prepare resumes. Active in community groups and church councils, Jewel, a lifelong Harlem resident, is looking forward to participating in SSEP 2014, which she expects will be even more successful than last year, given the level of community outreach and enthusiasm.

"ReServe helps Harlem residents stay active and informed, and lets them know what is happening in their community," she said. "Some seniors feel left out, and ReServe helps them stay connected. "

ReServists helped Pastor Adrienne Croskey of New Song Community Church clean and repair her building. They fixed doors and windows, answered phones, greeted visitors and provided a range of other services.

"It was great for us, and great for the participants to be able to be so helpful," she said. "I am looking forward to participating again in 2014."

After a highly successful engagement with ReServists in 2013 Elsia Vasquez, founder of PALANTE Harlem, a housing rights group, is looking forward to working with more ReServists through SSEP 2014.

PALANTE employed two ReServists last year, as well as youth from Fedcap’s Summer Youth Employment Program. The youth/senior teams worked with tenants – many of them seniors – of a six-floor Harlem apartment building in which there were numerous safety violations, including a broken elevator. They teams provided tenants with literature, taught them how to identify housing code violations and helped them form a tenants association.

As a result of the team efforts the elevator was restored, and all of the violations in the building’s public areas and eight private apartments were fixed. In addition, the landlord reimbursed $319, 923 in overcharges to the eight families living in the building.

None of it would have happened without ReServe. "Because the ReServists were from our community the tenants were much more comfortable working with them," Elsia said. "They empowered the residents to take action."

Information sessions for SSEP 2014 will be held at the Jackie Robinson Center at 1301 Amsterdam Avenue (Entrance through 123rd street housing development) on Tuesday, April 15th, 2:00 PM- 3:30 PM; Morningside Retirement and Health Services 100 LaSalle St. #MC (Between Broadway & Amsterdam Ave.) on Thursday, April 17th, 10:00 AM- 11:30 AM and Tuesday, April 22nd, 10:00 AM- 11:30 AM; and Our Lady of Lourdes Church 463 W. 142nd Street (Between Amsterdam and Convent Ave.) on Wednesday, April 23rd, 4:00 PM- 5:30 PM.(this session translated to Spanish).

For more information about the Summer Seniors Employment Program or to register for an information session, please contact summerseniors@reserveinc.org or call 646-476-3394 ext 201.