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Edible Arrangements CEO Helps Youth@Work Rebound

by Melissa Bailey | Jun 5, 2014 5:17 pm

(11) Comments | Commenting has been closed | E-mail the Author

Posted to: City Hall

Melissa Bailey Photo After losing thousands of dollars from the feds and the state for its summer jobs program for teens, New Haven has reached a milestone in an effort to raise private money to rebuild the program.

New Haven has raised enough money to pay for 500 teenagers to get summer jobs through its Youth@Work program, Mayor Toni Harp announced in a press conference Thursday. Youth@Work, which places kids aged 14 to 17 into 5-week summer jobs, served 748 kids last year. This year, the program is at risk of shrinking dramatically due to a reduction in funding from the state and federal governments, Harp said.

Harp’s youth services chief, Jason Bartlett, has been sending out letters to businesses asking for private donations to keep the program going. The goal is to restore the program to serve 1,200 teens, as it did at the height of the program a few years ago.

Harp pitched the Youth@Work program as a solution to quelling the violent crime that has been plaguing city streets—and that typically spikes in summer months.

“If they really want to see the streets safe, they should be hiring our young people,” she said.

Tariq Farid (pictured), the founder of Edible Arrangements, heard that pitch from Bartlett and answered with a $35,000 donation. He presented a check to the city Thursday afternoon from his new personal philanthropic arm, the Tariq Farid Foundation.

Farid, who moved to the U.S. from Pakistan at age 12, grew up in West Haven. In 1999, he started a small company in East Haven, Edible Arrangements, offering gift baskets of fresh fruit, cut in fun floral shapes. The company now has 1,400 stores in 49 states and 14 countries (including one in downtown New Haven). It pulls in $500 million in sales every year, he said.

Farid credited his first employer, Farricielli’s Flowers by Ginger in West Haven, with putting him on the path to a successful business. He got a job there when he was 14, stocking shelves for $20 per week.

“That was the inspiration for me getting into business,” he said. His donation to Youth@Work will enable 30 teenagers to land paid jobs this summer.

Bartlett said he has also secured donations from United Illuminating, which gave $25,000; and Bank of America, which gave $7,500. The program costs $1,200 per teenager.

Harp said 1,200 teenagers applied for the program this year; 700 will have to be turned away unless other donors step up.

She introduced James Baker-Howard (pictured at the top of this story) as a poster child for the program. Baker-Howard did Youth@Work three times. He worked at the city lighthouse and at the Hot Shot basketball program at Hillhouse High. That experience helped him land a spot as an intern at the city’s youth services bureau.

Arifa Singh (pictured), a Hillhouse High senior who also attended the press conference, said she spent one summer at Youth@Work, working for Chaka Felder’s Higher Heights college readiness program. She said she learned important skills, such as how to take phone calls. Initially, when she answered the phone, she would hang up without taking a message.

“Ms. Felder, someone called,” she would say.

“I got in a lot of trouble for that,” Arifa recalled. She learned to write down the name and number of the caller. She said when she does an internship with United Illuminating this summer, she’ll make sure not to repeat that mistake.

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posted by: Bradley on June 5, 2014  6:07pm

I had the pleasure of meeting Tariq Farid and his wife last week and his donation only confirms my impression that they are wonderful people.

posted by: Elm City Lifer on June 5, 2014  6:58pm

Mr. Farid apparently has some learning to do about being an employer. Asking a female employee to check out his abs and referring to her as a monkey bitch is not the example we want to give to our children is it?  Or can money just buy acceptance of such behavior.
Poor choice of a donor. Maybe the guy from the LA Clippers will get on board.

http://www.nhregister.com/general-news/20140321/suit-against-edible-arrangements-alleges-discrimination

He doesn’t appear to be a good neighbor either.

http://www.nhregister.com/general-news/20140412/branford-neighbor-dispute-centers-on-property-line-surveillance-camera

posted by: Threefifths on June 5, 2014  7:40pm

Tariq Farid (pictured), the founder of Edible Arrangements, heard that pitch from Bartlett and answered with a $35,000 donation. He presented a check to the city Thursday afternoon from his new personal philanthropic arm, the Tariq Farid Foundation.

Farid, who moved to the U.S. from Pakistan at age 12, grew up in West Haven. In 1999, he started a small company in East Haven, Edible Arrangements, offering gift baskets of fresh fruit, cut in fun floral shapes. The company now has 1,400 stores in 49 states and 14 countries (including one in downtown New Haven). It pulls in $500 million in sales every year, he said.

What is up with this.

Suit against Edible Arrangements alleges discrimination.

The lawsuit filed by Tara Perino, who worked as controller at the Wallingford-based company from May 2011 to September 2012, alleges Farid routinely belittled her work, even though she had received strong performance reviews and a raise. Perino also alleges that in September 2012, just weeks before she was replaced as controller, Farid approached her, lifted up his shirt and asked her to look at his abdominal muscles, according to legal papers filed in the case.

http://www.nhregister.com/general-news/20140321/suit-against-edible-arrangements-alleges-discrimination

EDIBLE ARRANGEMENTS, Tariq Farid Franchise Complaints

http://www.unhappyfranchisee.com/edible-arrangements-tariq-farid-franchise-complaints/

posted by: RHeerema on June 5, 2014  9:33pm

Well done Jason Bartlett & Mayor Harp!  So glad that Tariq Farid, UI and others are stepping up to provide valuable learning opportunities for young people to be valued for their contributions to our city!  The earlier young people get jobs, the higher their lifelong earnings will be.  The more potential for professional careers, etc.  The research is clear: jobs for young people are a Big Win all around.

posted by: BenBerkowitz on June 6, 2014  12:50am

Excellent to see Tariq in the Indy. He’s a true local inspiration.

posted by: robn on June 6, 2014  7:53am

If it was known that supporting grant money was lost, why wasn’t this rolled back into the budget, and cuts made elsewhere to support it? It’s the mayors job to balance our budget within some equitable tax system. Although this is a decent program I’m troubled by the implications of this kind of funding. Going to private individuals and asking them to personally fund public projects opens up the possibility of too many quid pro quos. These donations are essentially like campaign donations but unregulated.

posted by: LookOut on June 6, 2014  8:38am

whether the guy is a discriminator remains be seen (the allegations are by a person let go for poor work performance) but I think ROBN is on to something. 

How can Harp and the BOA cut this program while adding a bilingual receptionist?  Well, it is much easier to strong arm ‘donations’ for Youth at Work than for excess staffing.  In the end both get funded and the businesses involved are owed favors by the city. 

Nice slight of hand.

posted by: Elm City Resident on June 6, 2014  11:48am

Either the mayor balances the budget on the backs of the taxpayer or the voluntary 1%.  This particular outcome is that young people, who wouldn’t otherwise, have jobs this summer.  However folks want to spend their person $ is their business.  Kudos to this 1%‘er to contribute to the masses.  It’s no different than a StrattonFaxon contribution to a community-based organization trying to stay afloat or the New Haven Independent receiving funds from the Community Foundation.

posted by: robn on June 6, 2014  2:20pm

ECR,

Not the same when private donors are assuming the financial responsibility that the city created. Thus isn’t a charity or a road race or a news organization. And there’s the quid pro quo issue which is inescapable.

posted by: anonymous on June 6, 2014  5:12pm

For the price of the newly-created Mayor’s special police driver unit, we could expand this program to another 150-200 youth.  Is the (remote) chance to protect one life more important than the chance to save 200?

posted by: NunofYurBizness on June 11, 2014  1:41pm

How is this a victory? Why are people smiling at the fact that less youth will be offered jobs? How is this being tolerated with every appointee making more money then the predecessor who was in the jobs for years and grew to their salary? You want less youth violence give them jobs , something to be responsible for and groom them for adulthood .

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