Ferguson’s Crisis of Opportunity

Posted by The Doe Fund on August 25, 2014 under News | Be the First to Comment

CBS News reports that young Black men in Ferguson, Missouri, are suffering from an unemployment rate of nearly 50%. Our founder and president George T. McDonald released the following statement in support of peace, opportunity, and prosperity for the people of Ferguson.

“If a man doesn’t have a job or an income, he has neither life nor liberty.” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Ferguson is at war with itself. The city is burning, its citizens are outraged, the police have militarized and we, the rest of the country, are wondering how and why a violent confrontation between a police officer and a young man has sparked a national crisis.

Then, last Friday, a story came out that offered some insight.

According to the CBS Evening News, unemployment for young Black men in Ferguson is nearly 50%. One out of every two young men of color in the city has no work; no way to support themselves or their families; and none of the dignity, economic equality, or independence that comes from employment.

When we talk about unemployment as a nation, we talk about the financial impacts: slumping industries, a receding GDP, an increase in poverty. But unemployment causes more than financial hardship; it causes a terrible, aggressive form of social decay. Without the hope of prosperity, how can people hope for justice? Without the self esteem that comes from work, how can people aspire to better lives?

Chronic unemployment and the poverty that comes with it is toxic to the American ideals of equality and freedom. And when unemployment endures, we should expect nothing less from Americans suffering under that kind of economic oppression than revolt.

To restore peace in Ferguson, we must restore opportunity. The young men there are Ready, Willing & Able to work; not only that, they’re asking us, right on the evening news, for the chance to work.

It is time for us as a nation to stop wondering why and how Ferguson erupted in violence. While Michael Brown’s death was surely the spark which ignited the city, the suffocating fumes of unemployment and poverty have been building for years.

Let us come together to give the people of Ferguson the hand up they need, the prosperity they hope for, and the opportunity they deserve. No city will go to war with itself when everyone has the dignity and security of work.

Gen. Loree Sutton named Commissioner of Veterans’ Affairs

Posted by The Doe Fund on August 18, 2014 under News | Be the First to Comment

Gen. Loree Sutton and Mayor de Blasio

Today New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the appointment of Brigadier General Loree L. Sutton to Commissioner of Veterans’ Affairs.

After a 30-year career in the US Army and becoming the highest ranking psychiatrist in the force, Gen. Sutton will now lead one of our city’s most important agencies at a critical time for the thousands of men and women in uniform returning home.

Our founder and president, George McDonald, released the following statement of support:

All of us at The Doe Fund congratulate Brigadier General Loree L. Sutton, M.D., on her appointment to Commissioner of Veterans’ Affairs by Mayor Bill de Blasio.

Gen. Sutton has set an example for all of us to follow through her lifelong service to her country and fellow citizens. The city of New York is fortunate to have her skill, experience, and compassion driving one of our most important agencies.

The issues that veterans face during their transition to civilian life are extraordinarily complex and touch every aspect of their journey home: from securing employment, to accessing health services, to simply reuniting with family and friends with the health, confidence, and security they deserve.

As greater numbers of our men and women in uniform return home, their long term health and well-being is our responsibility, as a community, to ensure. Under Gen. Sutton’s leadership, we’ll be a step closer to doing just that.

The Doe Fund’s programs have connected hundreds of veterans with employment and housing opportunities. But there is so much more work to be done. We look forward to assisting Gen. Sutton and collaborating with her office to realize her vision of a city replete with the resources and services our heroic veterans need to return home and begin the next chapter of their lives.

Learn more about The Doe Fund’s Veterans programs here.

 

A local hero in Astoria

Posted by The Doe Fund on June 24, 2014 under At Work, Community Comment | Be the First to Comment

One Astoria resident recently wrote Council Member Costa Constantindes, to share a good deed that she witnessed from Jerome Fowlkes, a participant in the Ready, Willing & Able Program.

“On May 31st, at the corner of 30th Avenue and 31st Street, I observed Jerome Fowlkes save a child.

“He was on duty in Athens Square Park at about 12:45 PM.  As a person in the Ready, Willing & Able program, he was there to keep the park clean.  I observed Jerome run out into the intersection between the park and the 7-Eleven franchise and scoop up a child about two or three years of age who had stopped in the intersection to turn to look around.  If a car came down the street, a driver may not have seen the small child.

“Out of bad comes good. If there were no Ready, Willing & Able program, there would not have been Jerome Fowlkes in Athens Square Park to do what he did. Bravo to Jerome and to you for overseeing the project that is helping keep Astoria clean.”

In honor of his quick-thinking and kindness, we proudly presented Jerome with a certificate of recognition.  Please join us in commending Jerome for his heroic actions!!

Jerome Fowlkes Image

#GivingTuesday

Posted by The Doe Fund on November 26, 2013 under Uncategorized | Be the First to Comment

#GiveTue_logo

We are proud to share the news with you: The Doe Fund is participating in a national movement called #GivingTuesday!

Now in its second year, #GivingTuesday celebrates philanthropy and community under the premise that since we have a day for giving thanks and two for getting deals, it’s time to have a day for giving back.  This year, we invite you to join The Doe Fund on Tuesday, December 3rd to celebrate a day of giving!

Publicly endorsed by the White House, Bill Gates, the Clinton Foundation, Mayor Bloomberg, and socially-conscious celebrities, #GivingTuesday harnesses the power of social media to create a national effort synonymous with the act of giving during the holiday season.

Here’s what you can do to help make this initiative a success:

 1) Mention @TheDoeFund and #GivingTuesday on twitter. You could even include a link directly to our online donation page (found here) or retweet @TheDoeFund’s own #GivingTuesday messages.

2) Tag us in your status updates on Facebook by typing @TheDoeFund! Include #GivingTuesday and let your friends know why you support the “men in blue.” You can also share The Doe Fund’s Facebook posts and include a personal message.

3) Email your friends and family and let them know you support The Doe Fund. With the gift-buying season officially underway, encourage your loved ones to give the gift of opportunity to the “men in blue”!

4) Share your support for The Doe Fund on a personal blog, on a charitable board on Pinterest, or through photos of the “men in blue” on Instagram.

#GivingTuesday is about ordinary people coming together to doing extraordinary things, so join us in celebrating a day just for giving back!

 

Remembering David Williams

Posted by The Doe Fund on October 22, 2013 under Uncategorized | Be the First to Comment

 

Photo taken by staff member Kira Madden

Photo taken by staff member Kira Madden

This month, we said goodbye to a dear friend and a beloved colleague who was a truly inspirational man.  David Williams joined Ready, Willing & Able in 2000 as one of the “men in blue” and went on to become a trusted case manager just a few years later after working in the private sector.   This November would have marked David’s 10 years of service with The Doe Fund, and he will be sorely missed by the “men in blue,” graduates, and staff.  An incredible friend to all who passed through his door, David will be remembered for his infectious good mood, his mesmerizing passion, and his integrity.

At the 2009 Ready, Willing & Able Graduation Ceremony, David spoke to hundreds of graduates as our first-ever alumni speaker.  The below passage from his speech is a beautiful reflection on the man that David was – and the type of man he inspired our “men in blue” to be.

“Early on in my time as one of the ‘men in blue,’ I found a wallet with $300 in it.  I remember coming out of a building and seeing my supervisor standing with a woman who was holding her baby and crying.  He asked me if I found a wallet.  At that moment, the man I was working to become was at a standoff with the man I used to be.  I could have kept the money and nobody would have known about it.  I asked, ‘Why, what happened?’  The woman told us she had lost her last $300 – money that she needed to pay her babysitter so that she could keep working.  As I heard her story, something inside me made me reach into my pocket and hand her the wallet.

“When I got back to my facility, my director Nazerine Griffin sat me down in his office and said, ‘David, do you know what integrity is?’ I answered, ‘Yes, Mr. Griffin, I sure do.  Integrity is doing the right thing when nobody else is looking.’  At that moment, I realized that integrity is the principle on which every part of Ready, Willing & Able was built – from the trusting relationships between staff and the trainees to the drug counseling and testing, and especially in that broom and bucket.  By giving back that wallet, I demonstrated integrity.

“Over the years, I have helped hundreds of men, passing on the lessons I learned during my time in Ready, Willing & Able, with the fundamental principle of integrity as my guide.  The ‘men in blue’ I work with think I’m giving them strength, but what they may not know is that they give me strength in return.”

NYSE Euronext Welcomes Doe Fund Veterans for Career Workshop

Posted by The Doe Fund on September 16, 2013 under Uncategorized | Be the First to Comment

On Wednesday, September 11th, participants from The Doe Funds Veterans Program joined NYSE Euronext employees and volunteers for the third annual Veterans Career Workshop.

The workshop was designed to assist veterans with the civilian transition into the workforce from active duty military service. The day was divided into interactive modules which addressed specific areas of the job search experience.  The veterans and volunteers were greeted by an opening statement from NYSE CEO Duncan Niederauer, who spoke about the commitment NYSE has made to supporting the veteran population through their transition into the community.

After a resume overview workshop, the veterans toured the exchange floor, where they paused for a moment of silence to remember those lost 12 years ago during the September 11th attack on our nation.  The veteran participants also witnessed the notorious bell ringing on the Stock Exchange floor, which marks the start of the day’s trading session.

Veterans and volunteers continued  the morning session by participating in resume-enhancement sessions, a series of one-on-one mock interviews,  and networking exercises, which all highlighted key aspects to a successful job-search experience.

Each veteran was presented with a personalized packet, which included an outline of each of the modules, documents with valuable job search  tools and the professional contacts they’ve made during the networking activities.

 

– Written by Stacy S., Veterans Program Manager

Men from The Doe Fund's Veterans Program

Men from The Doe Fund’s Veterans Program

 

A Ready, Willing & Able Graduate reflects on the assignment that saved his life

Posted by The Doe Fund on September 11, 2013 under At Work | Be the First to Comment

Lucius Haynes, a 2002 graduate, reflects on 9/11

On September 11, 2001, I was working in the Hudson River Park at Pier 54, by West 13th Street.  I was a member of the Jersey City program, and Ready, Willing & Able had just started cleaning Hudson River Park.  I was one of the first 10 people to work under the contract.

Normally, my route was on a bike path that went right by the World Trade Center on West Street.  That morning, my assignment was changed to clean up at Pier 54.  I wasn’t too happy about that decision because I loved cleaning the bike path – there was a lot of shade!

About 15 minutes after I got to my station at Pier 54, a man standing next to me said, “Look at that plane!”  I noticed it was flying very low, and as it headed towards the North Tower, it suddenly turned and crashed right into the building.  I alerted the Park Ranger, and the joggers in the park began to notice what had happened.  As I was telling people what I saw, my back was turned.  That’s when someone in front of me screamed – the second tower had been struck.  I turned back around and saw a ball of flames coming out of the second tower.

We began helping direct the traffic that was coming from downtown, and when the towers collapsed, the whole park shook like there was an earthquake.

After that, we were taken back to Harlem for a while.  We tried to take the George Washington Bridge to get back to Jersey City, but they weren’t letting vehicles over.  So the van drove us to the bridge, and we walked across.

Days later, when we went back to the park, there were garbage bags stacked about 10 feet high.  We had a lot of work for the next couple of months, cleaning up the city.

My supervisor’s decision to change my route that morning may have saved my life, and I will never forget that day.

Celebrating a Partnership with the John Jay College of Criminal Justice

Posted by The Doe Fund on September 5, 2013 under Partnerships, Uncategorized | Be the First to Comment

JJ Group 9.4.2013editedOn Wednesday, September 4, 2013, Bianca Van Heydoorn, the Director of Education Initiatives at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, along with Krystlelynn Caraballo, visited The Doe Fund’s dispatch center to thank the organization for the important work that they do with the college’s Prisoner to College Pipeline.

This innovative research program, an initiative of the Prisoner Reentry Institute, makes a college education accessible to men who are incarcerated at the Otisville Correctional Facility. In this partnership, The Doe Fund provides transportation so that students at John Jay College and the men at Otisville Correctional can attend monthly seminars taught by CUNY professors, an integral part of John Jay’s learning exchange.

“It is clear to us that The Doe Fund is filled with fierce advocates for justice who are not only guided by the mission your the agency, but also by the larger vision of a community that provides opportunity for people who seek to redirect their lives,” writes Ann Jacobs, Director of the Prisoner Reentry Institute.

The Doe Fund is immensely proud of the work that our transportation arm carries out in conjunction with the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, and we are thrilled to have such inspired allies in the mission to break down the barriers to opportunity that incarcerated and formerly incarcerated men and women are facing every day.

Click here to read the full letter.

Our Dream for the Youth of New York City

Posted by The Doe Fund on August 28, 2013 under Uncategorized | Be the First to Comment

indexFifty years ago, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his powerful “I Have a Dream” speech during the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom

While progress has been made, we have not come close to realizing this dream.  New York City’s poverty rate is up to 21% percent in the poorest communities of every borough.  Citywide, the unemployment rate is 8.4% percent, and more than 350,000 youth between the ages of 16 and 24 in New York City are not in school and without a job.

Without opportunity, the number of disenfranchised youth in our most vulnerable communities will continue to grow.  Crime, generational poverty, and unmet potential are poised to engulf even larger areas of our city.  Today, extraordinary numbers of youth are filling New York’s homeless shelters.

The Doe Fund is now focusing on the needs of this generation through a new initiative, which provides housing, on-the-job training, education, and a strong support network.  Our goal is to help these youth find full-time employment while reinforcing independent living skills and connections to the community.

The young men in our program have already demonstrated that they can and will succeed, given the opportunity.  Over and over again, they tell us, “I’m young.  I still have hopes and dreams,” echoing Dr. King’s historic message.

Help us help these young men maintain hope and fulfill Dr. King’s dream.

Graduate Profile: Joseph Calhoun

Posted by The Doe Fund on August 21, 2013 under Graduate Profiles | Be the First to Comment

Joseph CalhounFor almost eight years, Joseph Calhoun has been an esteemed member of The Doe Fund family, and a role model for trainees and staff alike. With an eye on advancement, Joseph is a dynamic example of how far you can go if you let your passions and motivation guide you.

Joseph entered The Harlem Center for Opportunity in late 2004 wanting to turn his life around. He began training in security and achieved his 8-Hour, 16-Hour, & Fire Safety Coordinator certificates while also focusing on CLIC classes to hone his computer skills. “I motivated myself  because I never wanted to fail again,” Joseph said of his time as a trainee. “Failing is not a pretty sight.”

His higher-ups took note of his unquenchable drive, and in 2005 he was hired as a staff security officer at TDF’s Peter Jay Sharp Center for Opportunity in Brooklyn. The next eight years for Joseph were a whirl of promotions and awards, including the Employee Rewards & Recognition Program award in 2008. This award honors TDF employees who best exhibit TDF’s 10 Key Leadership Characteristics, and Joseph had been nominated for the caring way he handles all trainee issues.

As an RWA grad, Joseph was eligible to participate in the Graduate Career Advancement Program (GCAP), which helps grads focus even further on advancement goals. GCAP helped Joseph land another promotion last month, making him the new Training Coordinator in charge of managing Ready, Willing, & Able’s occupational training tracks. This new role will help Joseph continue to achieve his long-term goal of helping people. “I’ve wanted to help people since I started at The Doe Fund and saw it helping me,” Joseph said.

Next, Joseph will work toward a degree in social services so that he can continue helping people.

 “Stay clean. Work. Save money and respect people, ” Joseph advises current trainees. “Be professional in everything you do, and you will succeed.”

Congratulations, Joseph; we are excited to continue watching you grow!