Who We Are

Creating Opportunities to Transform Lives Since 1994

1994 

Bob Guarasci founds NJCDC, committed to the belief "that good people can join together to make a difference in the lives of our most vulnerable neighbors." He establishes an AmeriCorps Program – the first class of AmeriCorps members begins working in Paterson.

1996  

Our first community residence opens on Buffalo Avenue to provide supportive community living for local adults with developmental disabilities.

1998  

Thomas Street residence opens to expand supportive community living services for adults with developmental disabilities

The Great Falls YouthBuild program is established, serving the first class of 25 at-risk youth with GED prep, vocational training and life skills instruction. Over 400 youth have participated in the program since its inception.

1999  

NJCDC founds Garrett Morgan Academy in partnership with the Paterson school district.  Garrett Morgan is one of the first STEM high schools in New Jersey. 

2003  

NJCDC completes a $10 million rehabilitation of the Rogers Locomotive Works Building at 32 Spruce Street and relocates its headquarters.

NJCDC opens Paterson Family Center, a preschool for 105 three and four year old children.

2005  

William Waldman Independence House opens its doors at 16 Spruce Street as transitional housing for homeless youth and youth aging out of foster care.

School Based Youth Services Program is established at Passaic County Technical Institute. It expands to three sites in 2007.

2006  

NJCDC establishes the Paterson Youth Council, a leadership development program for Paterson teenagers, providing a platform for youth involvement in civic affairs.

2008  

NJCDC launches a place-based approach to services through the Greater Spruce Street Neighborhood Plan.

NJCDC completes Hawthorne Heights and Birch Arms Apartments, providing service-enriched housing for 27 people with disabilities.

NJCDC founds the Community Charter School of Paterson, which opens serving 500 students in Grades K-4.

2010  

NJCDC partners with Longstreet Development to open the Congdon Mills Apartments, providing 66 units of affordable housing.

NJCDC partners with Paterson Public Schools to open the city’s first Full Service Community School at Paterson Public School 5.

2011  

N.J. Governor Chris Christie launches the Great Falls Promise Neighborhood and designates NJCDC as the lead agency. 

U.S. Senators Bob Menendez and Frank Lautenberg and Congressman Bill Pascrell join Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar in Paterson to sign the documents creating the Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park as America’s 397th national park. Bob Guarasci is appointed to Federal Advisory Commission to oversee the planning process for the new park.

2012  

NJCDC opens Spruce Terrace Apartments, providing housing for homeless individuals with a mental illness.

NJCDC adopts a new strategic business plan that sets the direction of the organization for the next five years. The plan seeks to replicate the pioneering work of the Harlem Children’s Zone to ensure the health and well-being of neighborhood children and families.

2013  

NJCDC receives a $450,000 grant from The Nicholson Foundation to support NJCDC’s work to develop a pipeline of programs and services for all 8,000 children living or going to school in the Great Falls Promise Neighborhood.

NJCDC begins efforts to create much needed open space by opening the Rosario Coscia Children’s Garden, the William Carlos Williams Community Plaza, and the Good Food Garden.

NJCDC completes a $5 million rehabilitation of the Rogers Storage Building and converts it into the Rogers Meeting Center, nestled in the new national park.

2014  

NJCDC opens the Neighborhood Help Center, a one-stop shop where neighborhood residents receive assistance on a broad range of topics, including housing and immigration.

Parent Academy launches, providing new and expectant parents of babies, toddlers, and preschoolers with parent education classes to help them improve their parenting skills and provide them with the necessary support to raise happy and healthy children.

NJCDC opens a new YouthBuild site at 302 Main Street, and expands program to serve 75 participants a year.

The Community Charter School of Paterson expands its campus to welcome approximately 300 incoming fifth, sixth, and seventh graders at 137 Ellison Street.

NJCDC completes the Elm Street Apartments, creating an intergenerational apartment building for youth leaving foster care and grandparents raising grandchildren with disabilities.

NJCDC builds three new playgrounds at area schools, providing safe play spaces for over 1,000 elementary school students.

NJCDC hosts the First Annual Preschool Conference for Paterson's early learning educators and staff in partnership with Paterson Public Schools and Passaic County Community College. The first of its kind in Paterson, the Preschool Conference provides Paterson's early learning educators with consistent and effective training in supporting the social and emotional competency in the children they serve.

2015  

NJCDC expands the boundaries of the Great Falls Promise Neighborhood and offers services to many of the 8,000 children living or going to school within its boundaries.

The Community Charter School of Paterson completes its organic growth and now serves 900 students in grades K-8.

Ground breaks on Park Corner Plaza, NJCDC's first mixed-use development designed to create more affordable housing and retail space to promote the economic revitalization of the neighborhood.

The Paterson University Corps launches, providing college students with volunteer and internship opportunities within NJCDC's many education and social service programs.

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We at NJCDC are keenly aware of the challenging economic times. 92 cents of every dollar donated to NJCDC goes directly to programs which help families, teens, children and people with disabilities.

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