The New York Red Bulls have been taking care of business on the field this season as they are in contention for another Supporters Shield which is given to the Major League Soccer club with the best regular season record and they are one of the favorites to capture this year’s MLS Cup. But the Red Bulls are more than just what Bradley Wright-Phillips, Luis Robles, Danny Royer and Tyler Adams have been accomplishing on the field.
This is an organization that is deeply involved in the community and the team’s third annual Vocational Day this past Friday at Red Bull Arena is a perfect example of that. In conjunction with partners Southern New Hampshire University, Covenant House New Jersey and The Leaguers, an organization that that enhances the quality of life for children and families through diverse educational and cultural programs, the Red Bulls welcomed more than twenty underserved individuals to participate in an educational program to help them work towards their career goals.
“It was a great day,” said Christina Giunta-Quarino, the Red Bulls’ Senior Director of Field Marketing and Community Relations. “Just teaching some young people how to do simple things to get jobs like a resume or building a LinkedIn page… things that they don’t necessarily have access to or know about so it was just a great day overall.”
Throughout the day, there were professional workshops hosted by the Red Bulls staff and Southern New Hampshire University. The attendees learned how to build their resumes, went on mock job interviews, and took part in multimedia/video education. They also participated in LinkedIn training as well as sales and marketing workshops before the day concluded with on-site job interviews and the distribution of complementary work-attire that was provided by “That Suits You”, a 501c3 organization.
Among the attendees was 18 year old Samory Wilson who was born at Beth Israel Hopsital in Newark and would later move to Woodbridge with his parents. When he was in 9th grade, Wilson lost his mother to a sudden heart attack and because of a rocky relationship with his dad, he found himself homeless at an early age.
“I had nowhere to go,” said Wilson. “I was homeless for my whole senior year. Thank God I did graduate.”
Another positive for Wilson was that his girlfriend’s sister recommended that he take a look at Covenant House of New Jersey. She had been in a similar situation and told them how they can help him find a job and put him in school and pay for certain things.
So he decided to go and it turned out to be the right decision.
“I met a lot of people that I’ve come to enjoy,” said Wilson. “They’re very friendly and they all try to help you as much as they can. They’re only going to help you if they see that you’re trying to help yourself.”
At the Covenant House, Wilson received the help and support that he needed and then this past Friday, he enjoyed an experience that could certainly help him establish an opportunity in the workplace.
“Vocational Day (was) very helpful for me,” said Wilson. “I specifically enjoyed the resume building class and the LinkedIn training to better my social media skills in order to meet people in the business I want to end up in. More than anything, today really brought the confidence I needed to go forward.”
Within the magnificent facility that is Red Bull Arena was a day that meant the world to these people who are trying to get back on their feet and find a career. What they experienced was a wonderful project by an organization that is more than just a soccer team. With the help of their partners, the Red Bulls have now completed a hat trick of vocational days that have given so many individuals the opportunity to find some great jobs.
“The day was great this year,” said Giunta-Quarino. “I think this was probably our best day yet. The attendees were really engaged and really wanted to make a change in their life. They came ready to learn and I think they learned more than they thought they would learn.”
Over the first two vocational days in 2016 and 2017, not only did many individuals find jobs, but several of them would be hired by the Red Bulls in various departments throughout the organization like the event marketing staff as well as jobs in the stadium for the Red Bull Arena concessionaire Delaware North.
This year, the Red Bulls are looking to make hire some more good people.
“Hopefully this year, we have some interviews for the sales academy and some callbacks,” said Giunta-Quarino. “Hopefully we’ll get people into the sales world as well.”
Each year, the Red Bulls Vocational Day has grown and is now an event and a date that everyone in the organizations, their partners, and the community has circled on their calendars. It’s blossomed from an idea, a concept, and a modest beginning to a day that can now be simply referred to as a smashing success and a godsend to so many people that are eager to be a success in the workplace.
“I think from an attendees standpoint, the first year we really had to ask people to come and now it’s more of a sign that people want to come and want to learn what they can do to further their careers,” said Giunta-Quarino. “It’s something that we’re excited about for years to come.”
The Red Bulls and their fans are hoping that the club will finally be able to hoist that elusive MLS Cup this season, but that reality is that the franchise, with their outreach efforts like Vocational Day, has already captured a title that has a different but in reality a greater meaning.
They are champions of their community.