WHDC Updates

WHDC’s Summer Seniors Employment Program Employs 239 at Local Nonprofits

July 17, 2015

Since 2013, West Harlem Development Corporation has employed 239 senior citizens through our Summer Seniors Employment Program (SSEP). The highly sought-after program places West Harlem residents aged 55 and up in local nonprofits during the summer.

These participants lend their skills to help high-impact service projects in West Harlem, and nonprofits gain fully-funded, valuable workers that help further their mission. SSEP started with 60 seniors in 2013, and has grown to 100 participants as of 2015, with many more wanting to be included in the next round.

Seniors work approximately 12 hours a week for up to 10 weeks, earning a stipend of $10 per hour. Stipends are funded through a $216,000 grant from WHDC provided to ReServe Seniors Inc. In its first two years, SSEP placed seniors at 30 organizations, resulting in 19,200 hours of service.

“For the third year in a row, our partnership with ReServe, will allow us to make a difference in the lives of West Harlem seniors,” said Dean Morris, Director of Programs for WHDC. “We value ReServe’s expertise in helping us deliver a program that’s having not only economic impacts but social/emotional impacts as well. Every year the program becomes more popular and is highly anticipated.”

The program is a win-win for communities, partner agencies and participants, who can give back while earning the stipend. Participants have served in nonprofits, government agencies, churches, community groups, kitchens, food pantries and senior centers as computer technicians, social workers, public relations specialists, maintenance personnel, and in many other capacities.

“We are grateful that ReServe has again been given the opportunity to help WHDC expand its impact in West Harlem and throughout the city,” said Christine McMahon, President and Chief Executive Officer of Fedcap. “ReServe’s innovating strategy in engaging older professionals for part-time service work is a win-win for both the community and these dedicated individuals.”

One of the organizations that will benefit from the efforts of SSEP participants is the Grace United Methodist Church on 104th Street, which has served the community since 1870.

“Having the blessing of the extra staff support that the Reserve Program is providing us with this summer will strengthen our ability to do more for our members and community,” said Alonda Myers, co-chair of the Church’s leadership team.” We are truly thankful for this opportunity and it makes it even better that the participants all have such great spirits in addition to their impressive skills.”

WHDC promotes increased economic opportunities and quality of life to sustain a vibrant West Harlem community. ReServe, a subsidiary of Fedcap Rehabilitative Services, is an innovative nonprofit that places professionals age 55+ with nonprofits and government agencies that need their expertise.