July 28, 2015
Construction executive Joe Jingoli Jr. is just as invested in building communities as he is in rebuilding the lives of those in need. Jingoli is CEO of Joseph Jingoli & Son, Inc., a firm responsible for constructing major projects throughout the Northeast.
A longtime advocate for recovery, Jingoli is also the founder of F.A.R.M. Team, or Facilitating Active Recovery Mission, an organization dedicated to mentoring young men looking to reenter the workforce.
How does F.A.R.M work? Jingoli employs a rotating team of young men in recovery to work on his once non operational family farm in Lambertville, New Jersey. Their goal? To turn the property into a fully functioning farm. On their journey, they build teamwork, trust and a strong work ethic. Then, Jingoli connects them to professionals in his network with the express goal of helping them find careers.
Why do you think it's so important to help those in need?
On my journey, there have been countless individuals who have helped me along the way. I believe it is my responsibility to help those in need. Nothing gives me greater satisfaction than providing someone an opportunity to help himself or herself.
When did you launch your outreach program? What inspired the idea?
I have been working with those in recovery for over three decades. At a young age, I was fortunate to have opportunity. Having that opportunity influenced many of the decisions I made as a young man. From years of working with young people in recovery, it has been my experience that if the opportunity for a career and a place in the community is achievable, and an individual's past mistakes are not completely insurmountable, there is a much greater likelihood of longer-term recovery and a true change. The F.A.R.M. Team was a manifestation of this, with the simple goal to empower individuals by providing opportunity, and a chance at a career.
What is it about the work of farming that connects with addicts on their way to recovery?
It is less about the farming, and much more about the camaraderie and the sense of responsibility. Responsibility for showing up on time, for being part of a team, for having others depend on you, for having other living things depending on you. Earning money, having a support structure, interacting with others, and having an opportunity to interact with executives who may be future employers.
The farm is simply one stop on a way to a career, whether with our company or other companies. I see this every day with young people working on the farm. The responsibility and friendships create such empowerment, and that empowerment translates off of the farm in terms of personal responsibility, responsibility for one's actions, being part of a community, contributing, etc. It is an opportunity with tangible results.
In what ways have you seen some of the program's participants transform for the better over the years? What do they learn through their work on the farm?
We have seen participants become successful entrepreneurs, successful tradesmen, successful artists, successful laborers and successful employees at a number of companies, in many different industries. In terms of what they have learned, among other things they learn that those same survival skills that they developed through their addictions, when focused on a sober life and a career make them a good match for anyone in a competitive career marketplace. And to they learn to never give up on yourself, or on anyone else.
What are some misconceptions that potential employers have about recovering addicts or job candidates who were formerly incarcerated?
Misconceptions: That past actions always indicate what future results will look like. That because someone is in recovery or was incarcerated, that individual can't be a contributing member of an organization, a community or a company.
Who is your biggest success story thus far? How has his or her life changed?
I wouldn't say there is one "biggest" success story. It has been my experience that everyone that I have met that stayed sober and focused on living a better way of life were, and are, successful in their careers, and more importantly, in life.
You are launching a program to give women opportunities in the workplace as well. How did that idea come about?
A young woman who went through treatment on one of our treatment scholarships, is very successful, and is now a member of The F.A.R.M. Team board brought this idea to the table, along with ideas of how to create opportunities. We now have several successful women who have gone through treatment on scholarship and are all gainfully employed.
Do you have any other programs currently in development? What's next?
In my role as CEO of Joseph Jingoli & Son, we have instituted an award winning Community Outreach program to create opportunities in urban areas where we work for young residents, small businesses and businesses owned by women. This goal of the program is to contribute to the well-being of each community in which we work by providing opportunities for residents and businesses. We are very proud of this program and are excited to watch it grow.
In my role on The F.A.R.M Team, the goal is to continue the program. We now have program success stories helping new participants, and that is much more important than anything I can do, or that the organization can do.