This week, Huntersmoon Hall resident Bruce Mangio celebrated one year of employment at Upper West Side performing arts venue Symphony Space. Bruce works as an usher three or four times a week, and in his year there, has seen some wonderful shows. He has watched everything from the UN Symphony Orchestra perform for international dignitaries to educational performances for children, but Bruce says his favorite performances have been in the Valentina Kozlova International Ballet Competition.
Bruce is a printer by trade, and for many years worked with his father in their family business. Their company had grown from three employees to thirty, but as the industry became increasingly digital, they were forced to close. After that, Bruce became stuck in informal construction jobs and had pushed aside any hope of getting a more secure job.
That all changed when Lantern introduced our Individual Placement and Support (IPS) program. The program takes a unique approach to employment support, with specialist workers focused on building strong relationships with local employers, to improve people’s chances of getting and keeping a job. Our IPS Specialist created a relationship with Symphony Space, and when an usher opportunity came up, asked Bruce if he’d like to interview for it. He says the interview went well, and best of all, they offered him the job on the spot. Nicholas Perez, Huntersmoon’s IPS Specialist, still keeps in touch with Symphony Space, and helps Bruce with submitting his timesheets and schedule online.
A year in, the job has made a huge difference to Bruce. It’s meant he’s been able to pay off all his debts, and he enjoys the time he spends with his Symphony Space colleagues. And more than anything, he loves the atmosphere of the theater. He’s says he would tell anyone who was in his position to just go for it and apply for jobs:
“It’s worth it. It’s so fulfilling. It gives you something to do every day, you get to meet people, and it’s very rewarding.”