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  • Hoboken Girl of the Week: Jaclyn Cherubini {of The Hoboken Shelter}

    Pardon the allusion, but according to scripture, a cherub is interpreted as a small angel whose work is instrumental in the redemption of man. And considering Jaclyn Cherubini has dedicated her life’s work to transforming the lives of the homeless in our Mile Square community, we find her name to be perfectly fitting.

    And if her work as the Executive Director at the Hoboken Shelter {300 Bloomfield Street} isn’t impressive enough, wait until you read a little about her history. She’s a community organizer for raising awareness for women’s issues — specifically domestic violence, serving the creative and therapeutic needs of children in domestic violence shelters + foster care, and raising funds for the performing arts {oh, that’s it, Jaclyn?}. Because of her dedication to the mission of ending homelessness one person at a time {and because she’s a total Hoboken foodie}, we’re featuring Jaclyn Cherubini as our Hoboken Girl of the Week. Prepare to be humbled.

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    First, about the shelter, according to Jaclyn:

    We shelter 50 people nightly, serve over 500 meals daily, host 1,000 showers weekly, and provide such support services as food, shelter, case management, counseling, job + life skills training, creative arts workshops, emergency homelessness prevention grants, and permanent supportive housing solutions. These services help our homeless guests develop the skills needed to gain employment, achieve independence, and re-integrate into the community.

    And now about Jaclyn

    I am the Executive Director at The Hoboken Shelter and I lead its mission in ending homelessness one person at a time. Since 2004, I’ve been part of the Shelter team. I have been an active community organizer in numerous non-profit organizations providing food, shelter, and permanent housing to the homeless; raising public awareness for women’s issues, specifically domestic violence; serving the creative and therapeutic needs of children in domestic violence shelters + foster care; and raising funds for the performing arts. I have previously served as the Assistant Director at Pathways to Housing in New York City, where I was instrumental in its growth from a $5 million to a $10 million organization to house mentally ill homeless individuals. I earned my Master of Public Administration with a concentration in Non-Profit Management from Long Island University, Brooklyn Campus and have my Bachelor of the Arts with a major in Women’s Studies and a double-minor in Political Science & Communication from Rutgers University, Douglass College Campus. {We told you she’s impressive.}

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    On what inspires her

    My mother. I work very hard to do the right thing at all times to make her proud every minute of every day. Since she passed away in 2013, my world is very different without her, but my best way to honor her generous spirit is to continue to do my part to make this world a better place for others.

    About her goals and passions

    Our goal is to help 150 people move from the streets, to our Shelter, then to their own homes. I am passionate about making sure everyone has a safe place to sleep and good food to eat, which I believe are basic human rights.

    Advice to someone trying to pursue this {or any} career path

    Envision where you want to be in 10 years and then figure-out what steps, skills, and experience are needed to get there. Then, invest the next decade earning your dream. The days are long, but the years are fast. I generally work 11AM-11PM but I am on-call 24/7. But it’s always amazing when I see someone leaving the Shelter with keys to their own home!

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    About her favorite downtime activity

    I love to go to the beach in the late afternoon and play in the ocean for a bit. Then, sit and watch the water until nightfall. But if not at the beach, then definitely the being somewhere on the waterfront. I love the cool breeze off the Hudson River while being surrounded by so many happy faces strolling or sitting and enjoying the gorgeous view.

    On the food scene in Hoboken… one meal at a time

    Hoboken has so many great places to eat! I can talk about food all day long if you let me. Like I say every day in our Soup Kitchen at the Shelter: “Mangia, Mangia, Mangia!” I love taking friends to eat at all of the amazing places.

    For breakfast, I love to get the super fresh fruit, especially cantaloupe and honey dew mellon, from Natural + Plus.

    And whenever I’m in the mood for a good “sammy” for lunch, I love to get mozzarella with sundried tomatoes + garlicky roasted red peppers on a round roll from Fiore’s. I also often get very tasty + spicy chickpea wraps from Dilli Junction. I love-love-love the kale, quinoa, mango, cranberries, and almonds salad with deeeelicious sesame dressing from Tutta Pesca.

    My favorite veggie burger is at Wicked Wolf. I add grilled onions, sautéed mushrooms, and chipotle mayo to it. YUM! Can’t forget about a classic slice of pizza that’s bigger than a baby from Benny Tudino’s!

    But, one of my very favorite dinners in Hoboken is an amazing roasted vegetable sandwich with unbelievably good french fries at Elysian Café. On top of the good food, you just can’t beat the cool atmosphere and great service there. I’m a fan of the yummy Pad Thai at Satay, too.

    My very favorite treat is a mini red velvet cupcake from Sweet Bakery. The ultimate trick is to eat it upside down so you taste that delightful frosting first.

    Where she goes for a little pick-me-up

    I won a gift certificate as a Fun Prize at one of the Shelter’s FUNdraisers that was donated by Up + Out Blow-Out Bar. They worked their magic and made me look good and feel good — what a treat! They made me feel like royalty, and I’m looking forward to going back again and again.

    What she loves about Hoboken

    The people, for sure! There are so many people who really care about each other and our community. Hoboken is a very special place. My roots are here. Both sides of my family emigrated to this country only three generations ago and thankfully made a home for my family in Hudson County. Almost everyone I’m related to was born in St. Mary’s Hospital {now CarePoint Health / Hoboken University Medical Center} right here in Hoboken. My favorite thing to do in Hoboken? That’s easy, to dine at all of the amazing restaurants in Hoboken!

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    How to help Jaclyn and the Hoboken Shelter

    On June 13th, the Shelter will be hosting a gala to celebrate its 35th anniversary. While tickets are sold out {though you can call to try to get on the waiting list} you can make a donation to the Shelter in honor of the anniversary. The team at the shelter greatly appreciates the support and donations, and it costs only $2 to serve a nutritious meal, so every little bit really helps. They welcome donations from 9AM-9PM daily, and especially need donations to help meet the growing demand of hunger in our community:

    • – Plates
    • – Cups
    • – Napkins
    • – Forks

    The Hoboken Shelter also maintains a wishlist on Amazon.com where you can send items directly to the Shelter. You can designate The Hoboken Shelter as your Amazon.com Smile charity, and Amazon will donate to it with every purchase you make.

    Want to be featured or nominate someone for as an upcoming Hoboken Girl of the Week?

    Email hello@hobokengirl.com about your story!


    Written by:

    Michele is Hoboken Girl’s Managing Editor. Though she’s been a Jersey girl since her mother danced on a chair at a Bruce Springsteen concert while 8-months pregnant, Michele’s life is anything but basic. When not working in cosmetic design and marketing, Michele can be found eating her way around the Mile Square and JC, so it’s a good thing she's also a marathoner and soccer player. Aside from adding to her already extensive collection of throw pillows, Michele enjoys a good beer, a chai tea latte, and chillin’ with her kitties, Bo and Samson.


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