Find The Future is New York Public Library’s theme for its 100th Anniversary of the historic and recently-renamed Stephen A. Schwarzman Building—that’s the one with the pair of marble lions, Patience and Fortitude, that guard its magnificent entrance.
It was appropriate that Coming of Age: NYC, a new national program from Philadelphia that’s launching in NYC under Presbyterian Senior Services, held its inaugural event at this iconic institution. The New York Public Library is an institution that honors its past, finds its strength and looks towards a brighter future.
The event began with a panel followed by a reception. The panelists were comprised of Carole Artigiani, founder of Global Kids, Mark Goldsmith, founder of Getting Out and Staying Out, Emira Habiby-Browne, founder of the Center for the Integration and Advancement of New Americans, and Daniel Luhata Shungu, founder and executive director of United Front Against Riverblindness, and they were moderated by writer and the first editor of Ms. magazine, Suzanne Braun Levine.
In Levine’s introduction of Levine panelists, all winners of the Purpose Prize, she remarked that “So often, the conversation comes down to ‘How do you get from here to there?’ and that the idea that you have to have a gigantic commitment is often unhelpful.’” Levine pointed out, “What is important about this stage of life is that it is about change…and the challenge is to get a grip and push forward.”
Mark Goldsmith, a Purpose Prize-winner who described himself as a marketing executive who understood business practices and was solutions-oriented, believed that these traits served him well in his new career in the nonprofit sector providing mentorship to reduce recidivism rates for people in prison. “I knew I could help these young men. They had never spoken to a successful person in life.” He saw himself, and the members of his Baby Boomer generation as role models. “These young people need us, and they need us desperately.”
Carole Artigiani, a former high school teacher from the Bronx, was guided by her values in founding her nonprofit. “I really believe that there was too much injustice in the world,” she said. “Even though I was not a superstar, I could do something.” Artigiani’s politics, which included involvement in many social movements in her life, informed what her organization, Global Kids, became.
The theme of Coming of Age: NYC’s panel was “In Search of Passion, Purpose and a Paycheck,” and that last part was discussed during the question and answer session. Alice Greenwald, a ReServist who is placed at ReServe’s national office as a New Partner Development Coordinator, suggested that ReServe can provide a way for baby boomers to earn a paycheck while fulfilling a social purpose, allowing boomers to give back to their community while also being rewarded. ReServe’s unique model, which was first implemented in New York City, involves a uniform hourly stipend provided to continuing professionals 55+. This model is now being replicated nationally.
Coming of Age: NYC will be providing workshops for boomers to guide them in the second stage of their lives, and they will be training nonprofits on how to make the most out of boomer’s talents. In New York City, they have partnered with the Abyssinian Development Corporation, Community Service Society/RSVP, JASA, SAGE, and The Transition Network. Coming of Age: NYC is spearheaded by Presbyterian Senior Services. For more information about Coming of Age: NYC, please visit their website here.