was down on his luck and new to homelessness when he showed up at
Crossroads Rhode Island looking for help. Hoping to make himself more
employable and get his life back on track, he enrolled in GED classes at
Crossroads led by Mary Lou Wernig.
"Peter was very shy, but exceptionally kind and hardworking," she recalls. “I was really rooting for him.”
An opportunity presents itself
few months later, with his newly-earned high school equivalency degree,
Peter's strong work ethic helped him land a temporary position at Kenney
Manufacturing, a leading manufacturer of curtain rods and shower bars. The
company, which has been in business for 105 years, has more than 500
employees worldwide, about 300 of whom work in its manufacturing
facility in Warwick.
Peter was thrilled. In fact, he loved his
new job so much that he shared his good fortune with a group of men at
his church ministry. Word of that discussion soon made its way through
mutual friends to Bruce Bialy, Kenney Manufacturing's Chief Financial
Intrigued by Peter's story, Bruce started asking around.
Kenney Manufacturing's Assistant Warehouse Manager raved about Peter,
telling Bruce about Peter's incredible work performance and strong
relationships with other employees.
Eager to learn more, Bruce
asked to meet with Peter in person. After hearing Peter's story about
overcoming adversity first-hand, Bruce was so impressed that he
encouraged Kenney to make Peter a full-time offer of employment. They
did and Peter soon became a favorite at the warehouse.
co-workers went way out of their way to help Peter be successful," said
Bruce. "They brought him food, made sure he had clothes to wear, even
offered him rides when he needed one."
Things started to turn
around for Peter. After several months of full-time employment, he
finally had enough saved to end his homelessness and move into his own
Peter opens the door for others at Kenney Manufacturing
Inspired by Peter's success story, Bruce reached out
to Mary Lou at Crossroads to see if there were more people that Kenney
"I know how blessed I am and the harder hand others
have been dealt," said Bruce, "and our owner thought it was awesome that
we were working with Crossroads."
Mary Lou soon recommended
Nate*, a young man who ended up at Crossroads after fleeing domestic
violence with his mother. Because of his difficult past, Nate had been
unable to graduate from high school and had no job experience, which
made it very challenging for him to care for his mother and himself.
completing a successful interview, Kenney offered Nate a job doing light
assembly work. Nate was excited and grateful for the opportunity. A dedicated employee, he rode his bike to work every
day from Providence to Warwick--until he got into an accident.
about Nate's well-being, Crossroads helped him obtain his COVID-19
stimulus check, which he used to purchase an electric bike. Now Nate's
daily commute is much faster--and a lot safer.
Nate was hired, Mary Lou also referred Dan* to Kenney Manufacturing. In
his early 60s, Dan had been living in Crossroads' permanent supportive
housing at 160 Broad Street for a few years, but was looking to become
more independent. Kenney Manufacturing hired him without hesitation.
Dan takes the bus to Kenney's warehouse every week, working hard to save
money and create a better life for himself.
"The folks that
we've hired from Crossroads are very eager," said Bruce. "They have
proven to be even more motivated and goal-oriented than some of the temp
workers that we've hired in the past. Crossroads' clients are
committed to serving our company and determined to fulfill their end of
the bargain to those who have helped them at Crossroads."
Kenney Manufacturing seeks to help more neighbors in need
Based on his experiences so far, Bruce said he looks forward to continuing Kenney's employment partnership.
partnership is a wonderful gift, for both myself and our company," said
Bruce. "It has allowed Kenney to find hard-working, committed
employees, and to solidify our culture as a family-owned business that
cares about its employees and our community."
Mary Lou couldn't agree more.
to Kenney Manufacturing, three men's lives have completely changed for
the better," she said. "Without a hand up, these men would have faced
serious challenges finding employment and housing. I can't thank Bruce
and Kenney Manufacturing enough for creating opportunities for
candidates who they knew were facing struggles."
*names have been changed to protect client identity