A witness by Efrain Hernandez, associate director of ReConnect Brooklyn and Passionist Father Jim O’Shea, founder of ReConnect Brooklyn, an entrepreneurship program to help at-risk youths; moderated by Rose Tomassi, communications specialist at St Joseph High School in Brooklyn, and adjunct professor of English at New York City College of Technology; co-sponsored by the WorkCenter
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Project Reconnect began on a violence-drenched corner of Bed-Stuy in Brooklyn with the goal of creating an entry level economy for young men looking to change the course of their lives. Its mission is to offer employment that leads to renewed engagement of education, training, and commitment to community leadership and service. Project Reconnect’s plan is to build and grow five new businesses, partner with 50 existing businesses in the area, and engage 500 young people, many of whom will be working for the very first time. Reconnect proposes a radical and realizable vision, one that seeks to develop a working and merchant class among the young adults of the community by creating a desperately needed retail district and partnering with existing employers to offer jobs to local youth. Project Reconnect aims to transform the young partners into the neighborhood’s next generation of entrepreneurs, dreamers, and thinkers as they learn and grow alongside the non-profit businesses Reconnect is launching.
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“How, in the end, faith makes us face human needs? First of all, it makes us always start from a positive hypothesis, no matter how desperate the need is. And, second, it pushes us, almost forces us, to get together with other people, to ‘do-with,’ to unite people’s freedom.”
~Luigi Giussani, Notes from a talk to entrepreneurs in Milan, May 26, 1997