FRANKLIN TOWNSHIP, NJ - This month TAPinto Franklin Township will be running a series called "Meet The Leaders.” The objective is to provide our readers an opportunity to hear from Franklin Township’s leaders in government, public safety, education, houses of worship and other areas, regarding Franklin Township’s present and future outlook.
Each participant was asked to share a little information about their background and personal life. Each “leader” was presented the same core questions that will be published unedited.
TAPinto Franklin Township’s ninth leader interviewed was Percy V. Sanders Jr. a community activist who has lived in Franklin Township for 40 years. Sanders is dedicated to helping the youth of Franklin Township through his work with the Week of the People event, and Somerset Community Action Program (S.C.A.P.). He is also involved with the Khigh Rondel Stephens Scholarship Fund and serves as a member of Franklin Township's Advisory Recreation Council.
"I look forward to continuing my work, supporting Franklin Township families," Sanders said. "I take pleasure in helping children lead better lives, and encouraging all our young people to fullfil their boundless potential"
Question: What initiative did you start in 2016, that you are most proud of?
Answer: The Week of the People Back to School event, where we featured a bouncy castle, water slide, pony rides, soccer, football & basketball games and gave away free book bags filled with school supplies for the children, courtesy of the Franklin Township PBA, Hamilton Street Business District, Robert Wood Johnson and Bristol Myers Squibb, along with many other businesses and organization in the community. We also hosted the "Honorary renaming of Matilda Avenue to Waltin "Turk" Young Avenue.
Other partnerships included the Hamilton Street Business District's first annual Trunk or Treat at John Plaza on Hamilton Street and the Life Options Counseling Services', first annual, "LOCS OF LOVE Toys for Christmas", to learn more please visit the Week of the People website at www.WeekofthePeople.org.
Question: What will be your main objective for 2017?
Answer: Continue to create activities to complete the Week of the People's week long celebrations, to showcase the diversity of our community and to continue our efforts to partner with as many community organizations and businesses as we can, keeping with our theme, "Community in Unity."
Question: Are you involved with any youth groups for the community that you would like to share?
Answer: I am on the Franklin Youth Prevention & Empowerment Program (FYPEP) committee and the Week of the People organization. We encourage our youth to help with the planning of our events. Assist in organizing Divas and Gents entertainment for the Back to School event that takes place the end of August 2017.
Question: What do you feel will be Franklin Township’s biggest challenge in 2017?
Answer: Unemployment, more public transportation, rising property taxes, more affordable housing, continuing to partner with community organizations (summer activities for our youth) and unifying community & law enforcement relationships (bike patrol).
Question: What do you do in your spare time?
Answer: Play chess, fantasy sports, listen to/create music and spend time with family.
Question: Five words that describe Franklin Township are?
Answer: Diverse, community, home, bold and great potential.
Sanders is a product of Franklin Township's school district, and his love of sports made him a well-known athlete in the community, he went undefeated in high school as a wrestler.
He later took up boxing and even fought in the Golden Gloves where he accumulated several medals. In the early 70’s, Percy, unbeknownst to his family, began training and conditioning his body to try-out for a spot representing the US in the Olympics.
"This was the most exciting time in my life, Sanders said. "I was doing something I loved."
In 1975, at the age of 23, tragedy struck and Sanders' career path hit a crossroad after a car accident left him a quadriplegic. Doctors told his family that he survived the crash due to the great physical conditioning of his body. Still, he would be paralyzed from the waist down.
Percy could no longer wrestle, kick or play football, or continue training for the Olympics as a boxer—activities he had loved to do before the accident.
"I had to adapt to a whole new way of life and was only able to get through the difficult times' thanks to the love and support of my family, friends, and community," Sanders said. "I would also like to give special thanks to Mr. Ted Taylor and Ms. Mamie Moore—neighborhood icons who served as mentors."
Please visit: www.WeekofthePeople.org for updates
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