Unleashing Inner Excellence with Urban Upbound: Terence Richardson Success Story

Urban Upbound NYC
3 min readMay 6, 2022


By Tori Kammer, Development & Communication Manager

Twenty-one year old Queensbridge Houses Resident, Terence Richardson, was struggling to get back on his feet and find his way after facing COVID related challenges and ending his contract with the Navy. Upon moving back to New York, Terence was homeless, staying with different friends, relatives, and homeless shelters. He then accepted a job doing grocery deliveries where he was making minimum wage, with the opportunity of overtime. His primary goal was to be able to provide a roof over his head and then find a more stable source of income.

“I was never afraid of hard work. I took on as many shifts as I could possibly handle, sometimes working 18+ hours a day. I was willing to do whatever I could to make ends meet.” says Terence.

After tirelessly working to secure an apartment in Queensbridge Houses, Terence finally had a place to call his own. He was walking home one day when he passed by Urban Upbound and came inside to meet our team.

“I saw a big sign that said ‘Tackling Poverty’ and went inside to check it out. I immediately connected with the Queensbridge team, and began learning how to master the interview process,” Terence shares.

Terence recalls how helpful the team was in preparing him to land his current role. The Urban Upbound team assisted Terence with mock interviews, resume preparation, interview follow ups, and mental health/ wellness counseling.

“The team is really amazing. Urban Upbound literally changed my life.”

Our team presented Terence with many job opening opportunities but the one that stuck out to him the most was a Community Health Coach position at CABs Health Network.

“I went to the interview and did exactly what I practiced and it really went well. After the interview, I sent a thank you letter which I would have never thought to do. As soon as I sent the thank you letter, I got an instant response. She emailed me back thanking me for the letter, and then called to offer me the position.”

Terence now works for CABs, in a community facing position, where he primarily addresses the low vaccination and high COVID rates in Brooklyn NYCHA developments. Beyond the increased pay to $50k annual salary, Terence finds his new role more fulfilling and enjoys helping the community navigate the resources available to them. His co-workers, many of which are people of color with PhDs, have served as an inspiration for Terence to reach his full potential and “unleash his inner excellence.”

Terence and the CABs team conducting outreach at Breuklen Houses. Photo credit: Urban Upbound

Terence’s motivation for success does not stop here. Terence has an entrepreneurial spirit and hopes to eventually have multiple sources of income by growing his small businesses.

“I used to move furniture a lot on the side, when I was jobless and job searching. This was to help me have some cash in my pocket and just be able to survive being on my own. Now that I’m not in survival mode anymore, I am still trying to leverage the connections that I gained to build a moving company.”

Terence is being connected to Urban Upbound’s Business Innovation Team who will further assist him in incubating his business ideas.

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Urban Upbound NYC

A collection of stories around NYC’s public housing communities curated by Urban Upbound, a non-profit organization with a mission to break cycles of poverty.