Family Connections, a local counseling and family services agency, has announced the start of a “Got Your Back” Backpack Drive to benefit students in the agency’s Outreach to At-Risk Youth (OTARY) and School-Based Youth Services Programs.  

Donations of individual school items and full backpacks will be accepted through September 1 and can be dropped off at FAMILYConnections’ Main office located at 395 S. Center Street, Orange, NJ.  The list of needed items can be found by going to

“Serving the needs of young people is a priority of FAMILYConnections’ mission to build strong families and communities.” say Jacques Hryshko, FAMILYConnections’ Executive Director.  “Helping young people be ready for the start of a new school year is another way of building confidence and school success.  Having a great first day is important!!

Sign Up for E-News

FAMILYConnections' School-Based Youth Services programs listed below serve 1300 students annually:

  • The Space at Orange High School
  • The Loft at Columbia High School
  • The Hub at Maplewood Middle School
  • The Den at Bloomfield High School
  • The Zone at Orange Preparatory Academy

These programs offer on-site mental health counseling, life-skills training, prevention programming, academic support, afterschool enrichment & recreation in collaboration with school staff and community partners.

FAMILYConnections' Outreach to At-Risk Youth program (OTARY) offers teens group based counseling and recreation to prevent high risk behaviors.

Please contact FAMILYConnections Program Director Amanda Santana at or (973) 323-3442 for further information regarding these youth programs or the collection of school supplies.

FAMILYConnections is a non-profit community based agency serving Essex and surrounding Counties with 35+ specialized programs for all ages, offering counseling, skills-building, training and prevention.  To learn more visit: