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Home Depot Co-Founder Brings Cardinal Egan, Schumer To Bronx Store Where New Ken's Kids Program Hires Disabled Youth

Ken's Kids – highly successful nonprofit that helps developmentally disabled young adults achieve dignity and a measure of independence with jobs at Home Depot – is coming to New York City with the help of the Archdiocese of New York

Home Depot Co-Founder Ken Langone, Cardinal, Senator, and others to meet with program participants, vocational trainer, and store manager

His Eminence Cardinal Edward Egan, Archbishop of New York, Home Depot Co-Founder Kenneth Langone, and US Senator Charles E. Schumer visited the Castle Hill Home Depot in the Bronx to see the new Ken’s Kids project there. Ken's Kids is a private nonprofit new to New York that creates jobs for young people with disabilities.

Ken's Kids began in Philadelphia in 1998 and has trained and placed 77 young adults with mental challenges in 34 Home Depots across Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware. Ken's Kids brings together parents, Home Depot middle management, and Home Depot co-workers to help the young adult make choices and learn to live and work with a degree of independence.

Until now, the cost of opening a New York office was prohibitively expensive – but the Archdiocese of New York made the expansion here possible by sharing space, phone service, computers, copiers, and faxes, as well as providing personnel benefits to the program's vocational trainer. Home Depot has also given Ken's Kids several grants, and the company's Chairman, President & CEO Robert Nardelli has awarded the program a $250,000 challenge grant for its work in New York.

Schumer announced today that his office is exploring ways to bring federal assistance to support the Ken's Kids initiative.

Cardinal Egan, Mr. Langone, Senator Schumer, were joined today by Dr. Catherine Hickey -Secretary of Education for the Archdiocese of New York, Connie Solomon - National Executive Director of Ken's Kids, Rebecca Slater - the Ken's Kids Vocational Trainer, Barbara Wray - the Ken's Program Director, Dave Amato, the Manager of the Castle Hill Home Depot, and Pamela Robinson the Director of Personnel and Corporate Polices for that store.

They were also joined by Bill Tully, the former head of New York City School District 75, who now oversees 60 school organizations at more than 300 school sites in New York City and the suburbs. He now runs a research effort at Lehman College to determine if the handicapped are reluctant to apply for employment for fear of losing SSI benefits. It was Mr. Tully's idea to single out Ken's Kids for an award for its work at Castle Hill.

The Ken's Kids at the Castle Hill Home Depot are John Romero and Marianna Martinez. They are both graduates of PS 811 in the Bronx, and their Principal, Toby Moskowitz, also attended today.


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