PLAINFIELD, NJ - Growing up should be a magical time in a young person's life. It is a time when one shouldn't have to worry about bills, about providing food, about where to live, about major responsibilities. Childhood should be carefree and full of the wonder of life as the mysteries of nature and life are unfolded through learning.
Unfortunately, many of our young people do not have the luxury of such a carefree existence. Many get up every day and battle hunger; they face adult responsibilities such as having to care for siblings, wondering where they will sleep that night, where the money will come from for school or to purchase everyday necessities.
I have a passion for education, and I have a passion for our youth because I believe they are the key to building a better future for our City and our nation.
There is no greater investment we can make than ensuring that there is a path to higher learning or vocational training for those who have the will and are eager to learn.
I know from experience that it 's hard to ask a child to focus on learning when they are hungry or burdened with adult responsibilities, and it is important that we try to alleviate that wherever it exists in our community.
Throughout the summer months, our Recreation Division provides meals for young people through the popular "Food that's in, when School is out" program. There are four locations including City Hall where kids 18 and under can get delicious and nutritious food.
We have three pools which are open all day so they can relax, have fun, stay occupied and off the streets. Additionally, our Queen City Mentoring Academy led by our Plainfield Police Department is in full swing; mentoring and bonding with 60 of our young people as they get a glimpse into the inner workings of a Police Force and build trust.
We have employed 150 youth through our Summer Youth Employment program and not only are they learning useful professional skills, but they are taking part in financial literacy classes to help prepare them for future challenges.
There are summer camps, athletic camps, and academic camps and on National Night Out which takes place on August 1st, the City, in collaboration with generous donors will once again distribute book bags full of supplies to our children who are in need. Last year we distributed 400 bags, and this year we will surpass that number. We want to ensure that our children are equipped and ready to meet the challenges of the upcoming school year.
It is delightful and encouraging to see our children flourish and grow and be successful. I am determined to provide paths to success for the youth here in our city. A city that rests on the laurels of its older citizens is a city that will soon wither and die. We must always plan for the future, nurture the natural talents of our young people and foster within them Plainfield Pride, so they will learn, and return to share their talents and help to build and keep our city strong.
Plainfield, we are blessed with bright, eager, willing young people, and I for one am determined and committed to guiding and nurturing them, providing answers and resources for them, and lifting them as high as we can to enable them to take flight and soar.
Our children, our legacy, our responsibility.
Creating One Plainfield, One Future...