LYCS Offers Intergenerational Programs

The Livingston Youth and Community Services (LYCS) Leaders program provides more than just after-school, community-based, educational programs that teach leadership, healthy life choices, and life skills to students in grades 1 – 12 in the Livingston School District. LYCS collaborates with community organizations to maximize opportunities for students to volunteer their time to help their community. For example, the CareOne Talent Show, on December 6, was an intergenerational program bringing together two diverse groups. Intergenerational programs help to create a bridge across the generations—dispelling inaccurate stereotypes, promoting cultural traditions, and building a sense of personal and societal identity, while encouraging tolerance. For the student volunteers, the benefits include enhanced communication skills, an increase in self-esteem, and the fostering of friendships across generations. For older adults, the benefits include enhanced socialization and decreases in feelings of loneliness, boredom, and depression. Interactions with the younger generation enrich their lives, providing a rejuvenated sense of purpose, and increased coping skills for their personal struggles. Students also participate in a monthly Bingo and Social event at CareOne. Participation in both the Talent Show and Bingo is open to students of all ages including siblings.

LYCS Coordinates Collection Drives for the Needy

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Collection drives are also a great way to involve students in their community and LYCS coordinates several drives over the school year. Toys4Tots, which started at Thanksgiving and ends on December 18, is spearheaded by students in the Peer Leaders Club (grades 6, 7, and 8). Toys are distributed through the Mental Health Association of Essex County to those in need, children served in the agency's unified care management program, Latino Outreach Program, as well as to children seeking shelter with their homeless families, and those engaged in mental health treatments. Whenever possible, gifts for the children are given to their moms and dads who in turn become a special "Santa" and deliver their gifts to their own children, helping to strengthen family bonds. Every year, the collection of toys has increased through the generosity of Livingston residents, and through the collaborative efforts of students in the Leaders programs and clubs, Township of Livingston staff, Heritage Middle School Student Council, and staff at the Livingston Public Library.

LYCS Coordinates Collection Drives for Animals in Need

Giving a little love to our furry friends is a top priority for students in the Grade 5 Leaders Club who are collecting a variety of pet toys, tin food, dry food, and treats for the dogs, cats and other animals at the shelter throughout December and January. Valentine Kisses for Mt. Pleasant Animal Shelter is a program activity where Shelter staff (and a furry friend), attend the January club meeting to talk about their work and caring for animals in need of a forever home. Mt. Pleasant Animal Shelter is located at 194 Route 10 West, East Hanover, behind Petsmart, and is a no-kill, nonprofit animal welfare organization that is 100 percent privately funded. The organization provides exceptional care for homeless animals, while promoting spaying/neutering, micro chipping, and humane education.  Mt. Pleasant's mission is to place homeless cats and dogs in permanent, loving homes. The Shelter is open to the public for adoptions Tuesdays and Thursdays, from 12:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m., Wednesday and Friday, from 12:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m., and on Saturday and Sunday, from 12:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.  For more information, call 973-386-0590 or click HERE.

LYCS to Participate in Leaders in Action TV Show

The Community Leaders Club members (grades 9, 10, 11, and 12) are participating in the Leaders in Action TV Show, which is being filmed in collaboration with LTV and the Livingston High School. The Show discusses topics of interest to youth and focuses on the leaders in the community. The inaugural show will feature President of Healthy Community Healthy Youth (HCHY) Alan Karpas, who said he “enjoyed interacting with our youth and it was a pleasure to appear on the first LYCS Leaders TV broadcast.” HCHY Vice President Martha Ackerman agreed, “we are both grateful for the cross generational volunteerism in the community and loved the opportunity to learn more about what LYCS is doing in the community.” HCHY is dedicated to enhancing the lives of Livingston youth. Some activities have included raising funds for the Skate Park, hosting the annual Youth Appreciation Week and raising funds for a Teen Center. Click HERE for more information about HCHY.

LYCS Runs Water Conservation and Recycling Programs

LYCS also sponsors a water conservation initiative as part of a Presidential Youth Environmental project. In collaboration with the Livingston Green Team, The New Jersey Clean Communities, and Rutgers, LYCS students and parents have been involved in painting and constructing rain barrels. This initiative not only helps to conserve water, but is also a recycling project. Each of these rain barrels are made from high density polyethylene (HDPE) food grade plastics, which have been previously used to store foods, such as: olives, cranberries and pickles etc., and are now used to benefit the environment by conserving water, as well as beautifying the garden. “LYCS has a goal of creating 100 rain barrels as part of efforts to increase youth and community involvement in harvesting rainwater,” explained Program Supervisor of Community Services and LYCS Susan Ridley. “So far 60 rain barrels have been completed and additional workshops will be offered in the spring and summer of 2015.”

About LYCS

LYCS is a community-based, after-school educational program that provides leadership, healthy life choices, and life skills to students in grades 1 – 12. The LYCS Elementary programs meets at the school (2:40 p.m. - 3:40 p.m.) once a month and includes Young Leaders (grades 1 and 2) and the Leaders Program (grades 3, 4, and 5). Evening programs meet at Monmouth Court Community Center (5:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.) and include Grade 5 Leaders Club, Peer Leaders Club (grades 6, 7, and 8), and Community Leaders Club (grades 9, 10, 11, and 12). All programs run from October thr\ough May, with end-of-year parties in June. Registration ends on December 31. For more information, class schedules, and to register for programs, go to www.livingstonlycs.org, send an email to: lycs@livingstonnj.org, or call 973-535-7925 ext 703. LYCS is a program of the Township of Livingston: Senior, Youth and Leisure Services, and is funded in part by the Livingston Municipal Alliance Committee (LMAC).