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Reprinted from A Taste of TASK Winter 2010

Sharing Success: An Interview with Rich

Richard Rice started coming to TASK in the spring of 2009. He now has housing, has become involved in a work program, and has started to record original music in his spare time.

"I was coming to the kitchen for a couple of months," explained Rich. "One Thursday I passed by a sign on a door that said, 'SHARE Project Performing Arts and Poetry.' I was interested, so I stepped in the room."

Started in January 2009, TASK's performing arts program, The SHARE Project, was created to give individuals an opportunity to express themselves creatively through original writings and music. SHARE meets each Monday for the music from 11am to 1pm and Thursdays for poetry from 11:30 to 1pm.

"SHARE does a lot," added Rich. "We perform a good number of times. But the performance at the Anti-Poverty Network was one of my favorites. Well, one, because were able to perform for Governor Corzine; but on another level, we were using the arts to draw attention to a good cause."

"Jaime (Parker) [coordinator of SHARE] has helped me out a lot," stated Rich. "She's helped me create a Myspace account, so I can upload my music and photos whenever I need. And she encourages me. Before we met I would only sing my songs, I would never recite them. Now I'm performing more with the band and I practice writing more often."

"I didn't want to go without a home during the winter," explained Rich "I went to Nakeiba, [TASK Social Worker] to see if there was any type of affordable housing. She referred me to the Department of Social Services and within a few days I found that I was eligible, I applied, and I then moved into my place." And when asked if he liked his place Rich responded " I love it. I'm right next door, so if I have off a certain day I'll come to TASK and just jam with the band or just see friends."

Since joining SHARE, Rich has performed at over 20 venues, his writing has been published in Poverty Benchmarks 2010: Assessing New Jersey's Progress in Combating Poverty, and he has become involved in a work program through Catholic Charities in Trenton.

"I enjoy the people, the classes and it keeps me busy," concluded Rich. "The SHARE Project educates me and creates opportunities for people interested or wanting to advance in the arts and I like that. With poverty comes isolation. SHARE takes people out of the isolation and it brings them into the community."

Richard Rice

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In Plain Sight: The Story of TASK

By LEE SEGLEM, Member of TASK Board of Trustees

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