Father Jim O’Shea – priest, social worker, and community organizer- began his tenure in Brooklyn in 1997. In 2002, he founded Churches United Corp. – a coalition of 19 Catholic Churches that successfully advocated for the creation of thousands of units of affordable housing in North Brooklyn. Father O’Shea also led the process for the opening of a Cristo Rey Network High School in Brooklyn serving low income families. In 2010, he established the Vernon Avenue Project, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, with the mission of engaging young people of the neighborhood through entrepreneurship, education and leadership. In 2014, Reconnect was launched as part of the organization with the goal of teaching entrepreneurship firsthand through the upstart of real businesses in the community.