Golf Outing Benefits Homeless Families, Education
Jasmine Thompson’s greatest fear in becoming homeless was having her family split apart. When she arrived at Harmony House, New Community’s transitional housing facility for homeless families, she discovered a 102-unit haven in Newark with apartments for each family, 24-hour security and supportive services.
“The most important thing was keeping my family together,” said Thompson, 31, of Newark, who came to Harmony House with her husband, Gordon, and their two young children after Gordon lost his job and they could no longer afford rent.
Thompson shared her personal story at New Community’s 22nd Annual Golf Outing, which benefited Harmony House and educational programs at New Community. More than 90 golfers registered for the event, dubbed as “Golfing For A Cause,” hosted at the Montclair Golf Club in West Orange.
Golfing For A Cause brought together prominent leaders in the business, finance, construction and real estate industries for an afternoon of golf followed by a cocktail hour, networking and an evening reception that featured testimonials and remarks from Monsignor William J. Linder, founder of New Community, and Dr. A. Zachary Yamba, board member of New Community. Philanthropy Officer Tracey Battles headed the event committee. Golfers in foursomes and twosomes played 18 holes on 300 acres of lush rolling hills at the Montclair Golf Club. Spirits were high despite a scattered afternoon drizzle.
During her family’s 11-month stay at Harmony House, Thompson participated in job training and secured permanent employment. She enrolled in New Community Workforce Development Center’s ShopRite Partners-In-Training, where she gained skills in customer service, cashier and store management and was hired as a front-end supervisor at the ShopRite in Newark, where she continues to work today. She also renewed her lapsed Certified Nursing Assistant license.
“We’re here to help people,” said Monsignor Linder, also board chairman of the Newark-based community development corporation.
During the evening reception, golfers also heard powerful testimonials from two additional speakers—Maurice Culley, a graduate of the New Community Workforce Development Center Building Trades Program, and single mother Harvishia Murray, who currently resides at Harmony House with her children after leaving a domestically violent relationship. “I love the staff at Harmony House and I am a survivor,” said Murray, who is actively seeking permanent housing.
Culley, an East Orange resident, learned skills such as electrical, plumbing, hanging sheet rock, roofing and painting from the Building Trades Program. He initially landed a job as a pipefitter. Soon thereafter, he applied for a job at Delta, based at Newark Liberty International Airport, and was hired as a painter before being promoted within six months to the position of mechanic.
“My goal is to be better tomorrow than I was today and help young men like me reach their ultimate goals,” Culley said during his testimonial.
The golf outing co-chairs were Michael Kasian, senior vice president at Tishman Construction; Michael Pintabone, partner at Withum; and Dr. A. Zachary Yamba, Essex County College president emeritus and a board member of New Community.
“The lives that are enhanced by the work of New Community is really worth the effort,” said event committee member Antonio Lolo of Ferry Carpet.