After more than 20 years working at Harlem Children’s Zone, Charles Trimble has touched a lot of lives.
For proof, check his inbox: he regularly receives thank you cards, emails, and Facebook messages from clients he’s helped over the years. He’s helped them move into permanent housing, access critical community benefits, and even file their taxes.
Many come from the children — now all grown up and with children of their own — he supported when he started at Harlem Children’s Zone two decades ago.
“It’s amazing to see how well they’re doing,” says Trimble, a former family worker who now serves as a a senior coordinator at our Community Benefits Support program. “It’s a reminder that this isn’t just work. This is something more.”
Two decades later, Charles’ feelings about his work haven’t changed.
The Key is Opportunity
Charles is one of the hundreds of dedicated staff members who serve as the backbone of our comprehensive, cradle-to career programming — the foundation of our approach to ending intergenerational poverty in Central Harlem and beyond. Ranging from early childhood, education, and career programs to wellness initiatives and community outreach services, this programming is designed to help children and families thrive in school, work, and life.
In his current role, Charles helps Harlem residents access government resources and free legal and financial counseling — life-changing services for many families.
Charles’s job at Harlem Children’s Zone may have changed. But he’s still doing what he loves: doing whatever it takes to help our families and children prosper.
“The key is to give people the opportunities they need so they can thrive,” the community benefits coordinator says. “You need to give them the same respect that you would want if you were in their shoes.”
Proud Promise Academy Parent
Trimble has helped make an impact as a Harlem Children’s Zone staff member. But he’s also experienced that impact as a Promise Academy parent.
Charles’ daughter graduated from Promise Academy High School and is attending the University at Albany (this year, our high schools had a 100 percent college acceptance rate).
“It’s been a beautiful ride at Promise,” Charles says of our top-performing charter schools. “That children can transform their lives here is truly incredible.”
One of Charles’s earliest memories of working at Harlem Children’s Zone was when he walked a client, a young girl, to her new home. By the time they reached the front door, he felt a huge lump growing in his throat.
It was the client’s last day of living in a housing shelter. It was also Charles’s last day of supporting her as a family worker.
“We boohooed like it was a funeral,” he recalls. “I’ll never forget it.”
It’s those memories — and the cards, emails, and messages he received — that reminds Trimble of why he’s spent the last 20 years doing the work that he does.