News and Events

Wednesday, September 13, 2006 Marie Claire's Haute Shopping SoHo Kickoff Party



Sunday, September 17, 2006                   Marie Claire Bra Art Exhibition to Benefit the SoHo Partnership

For more photos, click here.

For more information about joining the SoHo Partnership, call Eric Klapper at 212-274-0550 x. 17, or email him at [email protected].


Tribeca Partnership: One Man's Journey

By Barry Owens

Tribeca Trib
SEPT. 1 , 2006

Ernest Bolling is a likeable guy with a wide grin and friendly manner that makes him easy to picture in a doorman’s uniform or salesman’s tie. But his resume—high school dropout, drug addict, ex-con—needs work.

How can someone like Bolling convince a potential employer that he’s a changed man? He’d have to prove it.

“Somebody has to be able to speak for you,” Bolling said one morning in July. “It’s hard getting a job, period. It takes two things: who you know and God’s blessing.”

Bolling may well have earned both while pushing a broom for the Tribeca Partnership.

The Partnership is a non-profit program, begun in Tribeca in 1997,under the umbrella of the Association for Community Employment Programs for the Homeless. It aims to give job readiness skills to the homeless and others who might need it. Their workers, who earn a stipend of $5.15 per hour, are easily spotted in the neighborhood by their green T-Shirts and rolling trash barrels. Many of their stories are similar to Bolling’s, who came to the Partnership after completing a drug treatment program for his alcohol and cocaine addiction.

Bolling, who is 40, got treatment in lieu of a sentence for assault that could have sent him to prison for a third time. The Partnership was a way for him to develop job interview skills, learn how to fill in some of those holes in his resume, and to prove himself by showing up to work every day.

“What it comes down to in this program,” said Jim Martin, the Partnership’s director, “is that if you in your heart want to change your life, it will come out in your actions.”

When Bolling was not attending one of the Partnership’s seminars on interview etiquette or on using the Internet to search for a job, he was on the sidewalks of Tribeca, sweeping and emptying the corner garbage cans. And when he was not on the sidewalks, he was in one of Tribeca’s shops or restaurants filling out an application.

Bolling was set to end the six-month program at the end of July. But to attend the ceremonies he would need to secure a fulltime job by the end of that month. Martin was pulling for him.

“Someone like him, it is not going to take too long,” Martin said at the time.

Bolling was surely making the effort. One morning on Warren Street, where he was charged with watering the flowers in front of a building mid-block, he noticed a new storefront next door and introduced himself to the proprietor. He learned that it was to be a wine store and that, yes, there might be an opening in September for what the store owner called a “cellar guy.”

“There will be a lot of heavy lifting,” the shop owner told him. “I can do that,” Bolling said.

But Bolling’s last day with the Partnership came and went at the end of July, and he still had no offer. The graduation ceremony went on without him. The job search continued.

“I’m just looking for something where I can get up every morning and say, ‘I’m going to work,’” he had said.

On the first day of August, he found it—in Queens. “I’m a maintenance man at the Queens Center Mall,” he told the Trib by telephone from the Partnership office. His work day begins at 6:30 a.m.“I like it,” he said.

Bolling had stopped in to collect his final paycheck and promised to return for graduation ceremonies in October. In the meantime, Martin said he was still searching for the right guy to take over Bolling’s old job.

“We’re trying to fill his shoes,” Martin said. “It’s not easy.”

To make a donation to the Tribeca Partnership or for information on its sweep services, call Eric Klapper at 212-274-0550 ext 17.


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