Keith Carney has a knack for assisting others, but he’s also learned how to help himself through services offered at New Community.
A resident of New Community Associates, 61-year-old Carney is known in his building for helping new neighbors move in furniture or hauling out belongings for folks departing the senior and disabled complex at 180 South Orange Ave. in Newark.
“He’s kind of indispensable to us,” resident Elnora Haynes said of Carney. “He’s helpful to all of us.”
He’s also your go-to man for tidying up the community room after a social event, carrying groceries or making a trip to the convenience store, for which Carney’s neighbors will oblige him a few dollars out of gratitude for his helpful service.
“We all need somebody to help,” Carney said. “One day, I’d like to see somebody help me.”
In fact, Carney has already availed himself of support offered at NCC—specifically in the form of counseling at NCC’s Family Service Bureau, located at 274 South Orange Ave. in Newark. (FSB also has a satellite office at 379 Kearny Ave. in Kearny.) About two years ago, Carney began one-on-one counseling sessions at FSB, on the recommendation of NCC Health and Social Services, which is overseen by Director Sharon Pleasant-Jones.
“He’s come a long way,” she said, noting that Carney receives counseling on life skills, such as controlling his temper, as well as assistance applying for jobs. “He’s very teachable,” she added.
But Carney acknowledges that he still has more work to do. “I have to be patient sometimes,” he said. “So far, I didn’t give up.”
Jasmin Lopez, Care Coordinator at Associates, notes that Carney’s demeanor seems brightened after he visits FSB. “Whenever he comes back, he explains how his visit went and (how) he’s looking forward to his next session,” Lopez said.
A Newark native, Carney worked for 15 years at a McDonald’s in Bordentown. Later he was transferred to the fast food chain’s restaurant in Belleville, where he worked for five years.
Pleasant-Jones said she sees a lot of potential in Carney, especially with his weekly counseling sessions at FSB, and hopes he will be able to land a job in the near future.
“He’s a very sharp guy,” Pleasant-Jones said.