SUMMIT, NJ - Nearly 100 members of the community, from government, schools, non-profits and faith based organizations, recently gathered for a Community Leadership Forum, entitled “When Working Isn’t Working,” to learn more and exchange ideas
Sign Up for E-News
ALICE, which stands for “Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed,” is a grassroots movement among United Ways to stimulate a fresh, nonpartisan dialog about the growing population of families living paycheck to paycheck.
Summit Chief of Police, Robert Weck said, “We are a village that has to work together.” He explained, for example, The Safe Homes Program helps make sure families and children are in a healthy environment, but sometimes finds there is a difficulty building trust.
Pastor Denison D. Harrield, Jr. of Wallace Chapel AME Zion Church pointed out transportation issues for people who would like to take a job but cannot get to it. Expanded services and realigned mass transportation routes could help.
Lois Bhatt of Bridges Outreach told the audience that they distribute 500 backpacks to children in Summit. Ron Poles, Principal of Jefferson School said that 45%-50% of Jefferson students are part of the Free and Reduced Lunch Program.
A member of Congregation Ohr Shalom, Mimi Zukoff, inquired about volunteer tutors and learned that several facilities offer after school programs where tutors are needed including The Connection, The Summit Community Center and The Summit YMCA. Allison Grill of CAAP links at-risk students with volunteers to help with college applications.
Carole Brotspies of PEP explained that the PEP program recruits Summit students from the Free and Reduced Lunch Program from grades 5-8. Teachers work with the students 3-4 times a week with homework, continuing through with college readiness, college tours, and assistance with securing financial aid for college.
Luz Bazalar, from the Shrine of St. Joseph, urged the audience to offer to help Summit immigrants, work with them “one by one," and become advocates, not opponents.
Speaker Halpin offered the following recommendations:
The Connection, the Junior League of Summit, and the United Way of Greater Union County have agreed to facilitate any ongoing discussions and strategies with these members of the Summit community.