Gov. Announces $450,000 For NJCDC Programs
Tuesday, March 12, 2013 • 5:10pm
PATERSON, NJ – A $450,000 grant from the Newark-based Nicholson Foundation will cover the creation of a new parenting program and a new help center at the New Jersey Community Development Corporation (NJCDC), according to agency officials.
Gov. Chris Christie announced the grant on Tuesday during his town-hall style meeting in Paterson. The governor described the program as the continuation of his efforts to replicate the Harlem Children’s Zone initiative in Paterson. Christie’s press office touted the announcement as a “Paterson Promise Kept.’’
“Building on the core principles of the Harlem Children’s Zone model and utilizing the participation of community partners and stakeholders, Promise Communities creates a comprehensive continuum of services designed to prepare young people in Paterson to succeed, from the cradle to college and a career, not only to deliver on needs in the classroom, but before and after school as well,’’ said the governor’s press release.
The announcement caught some city education advocates unawares. “We don’t know much about it,’’ said Irene Sterling, president of the Paterson Education Fund. “That’s been a really well-kept secret.’’
Bob Guarasci, the executive director of the NJCDC, said the new help center would open within two months and the parenting program, modeled after the “Baby College” in Harlem would start in September.
The help center would operate out of the NJCDC’s first floor office at 33 Spruce Street, he said. It would offer a wide range of services, including citizenship classes, English as a Second Language instruction, financial literacy courses, foreclosure prevention seminars, and advocacy, according to NJCDC officials.
The center would operate as a walk-in site during weekdays, with plans to expand to weekends and evenings if more funding is obtained, said Eddie Gonzalez, who is coordinating the program for the NJCDC.
Guarasci said the “Parenting Academy” would open in September when the new school year starts. At first it would accommodate 25 parents, he said.
The governor made special note of his friendship with Guarasci, which he said started 33 years ago when they were the two New Jersey high school students picked to participate in a leadership program in Washington, D.C.