The “I Love Greenville Community Plan” is a revitalization initiative established to improve economic development, education, and the overall quality of life for Greenville residents. Overseen by the Garden State Episcopal Community Development Corporation (GSECDC), the plan was designed hand-in-hand with more than 500 local residents and stakeholders. Built upon these voices, the plan outlines a comprehensive strategy to alleviate preexisting issues within the community through collaborative and organizational programs.
To generate funding for these programs, the plan was developed for the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (NJDCA) Neighborhood Revitalization Tax Credit (NRTC) program. Through this investment-generating mechanism, the GSECDC attracted four local businesses (Dixon Advisory USA, M&T Bank, JP Morgan Chase, and Sealy Mattress Co.) to earmark a portion of their state tax dollars towards the “I Love Greenville Community Plan.” To date, the funding has been a tremendous success with a staggering $930,920 raised this past year through corporate participation. This massive increase in funding has helped to expand and empower a variety of impactful programs that center on the enrichment of Greenville and its community.
The New City Kids After School Center program is one of the many programs that has benefited from this increase in funding. Through this program, local Jersey City residents are exposed to a variety of academic and artistic offerings, specifically designed to empower students and strengthen families. Just this past year alone, the program served 220 children from 1st to 8th grade in addition to providing employment for 100 high school students. Currently, the program has three locations in Jersey City, but given the increase in funding, New City Kids will be extending their reach into Greenville. This fourth center will serve an additional 60 children and provide employment for 20 more high school students.
Executive Director of New City Kids, Josh Dornbos, remarks on the exciting news, “New City Kids is thrilled to be planning the launch of a new after school center site in Greenville. We have demonstrated proven success and remain committed to offering life transforming programming to the kids and teens of Jersey City. This new site will be a reinvestment in our mission to serve the kids in our city who arguably have the greatest need.”
Set to employ the same successful model used at New City Kids’ three existing sites, the after school program centers on two key areas: academic tutoring and musical/performing arts skills development. Each day, children receive one hour of tutoring along with homework assistance. The center hires and trains local high school students to work as tutors for the 1st to 8th grade children. In return, tutors are paid and receive beneficial work experience.
Moreover, the high school students also have the opportunity to receive tutoring for themselves including, college preparation, SAT preparation, and leadership training. The musical component of the after school program offers all participants instrumental, vocal, and performance training, recognizing the developmental power and importance of the arts.
Thus far, the after school program has been a tremendous success as an enriching experience for local Jersey City residents. In addition to providing complimentary tutoring and real-world job experience, 100% of participants have gone on to receive further education after high school. 80% of these participants have attended a four-year school, 1/3 of participants have become first generation college students, and 90% of alumni have earned a Bachelor’s Degree or continue as full-time students.
Perhaps most impressive, the educational statistics of students that participate in this after school program are ten times the national average for their respective demographic.
Since the beginning of the New City Kids after school program, it’s become clear the opportunity has served as a vessel of ascension for teens and pre-teens to grow and succeed in a positive manner. A testament to continued growth and increased corporate support, New City Kids will be opening their fourth center in Greenville during the 2017-2018 school year.
For more information on after school programs and New City Kids as a whole, please visit their website.
For more information on the “I Love Greenville Community Plan,” please visit GSECDC’s website.