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Junior YouthBuild Summer Program is Building a Better Paterson

Junior YouthBuild Summer Program is Building a Better Paterson

July 28, 2023

Watch our Junior YouthBuild video on YouTube.

On Tuesday, July 25, Mayor Andre Sayegh paid a visit to NJCDC's Junior YouthBuild summer jobs program to see it in action, to thank the students for their hard work, and officially announce the funding award that makes this program possible—an $80,000 grant from the city's allotment of Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds.

Our Junior YouthBuild program, which started on Monday, July 10, has already significantly impacted the neighborhood we serve—Paterson's Great Falls Neighborhood. For the past three weeks, 30 motivated Paterson teens participating in the program have dedicated their time and efforts to cleaning and beautifying the community through neighborhood clean-ups, garden builds, and revitalization projects. Their dedication and hard work have been instrumental in enhancing the aesthetics and overall well-being of the Great Falls Neighborhood.

This innovative summer employment program, running for five weeks, not only promotes community improvement but also empowers the youth of Paterson to take an active role in their city's progress. By participating in various projects, the students gain valuable skills and experiences and earn over $1,800 each throughout the summer.

You're hardworking, highly motivated teens in the City of Paterson," said Mayor Sayegh to the Junior YouthBuild participants. "Above everything, I have to think you serve as an inspiration for other youth here in our city, so they can work just as hard and earn an honest day's living as a part of this innovative program.

He then invited up NJCDC Founder & CEO Bob Guarasci, who thanked the city for awarding the CDBG funds that make Junior YouthBuild possible. "I am very happy that the Mayor and the City Council decided to award these funds so that these 30 young people could be here today, and for about six weeks this summer, working hard each and every day to build a better and cleaner Paterson," he said.

Next, NJCDC's Chief Program Officer David Gelman thanked the students for their work and introduced two members of this year's Junior YouthBuild cohort. Reggie Aziz, a student at Passaic County Technical Institute, expressed gratitude to the program for allowing her to serve her community while earning a paycheck this summer. She said, "Junior YouthBuild has allowed me to make use of my time, and to help the city I was born and raised in." Natalia Bundick, a student at John F. Kennedy Educational Complex, also shared how grateful she was for this program, and for the opportunity, friends, and experience she has gained from her participation. "I love that I always get opportunities from NJCDC," she said. "It's amazing to be here, to be out in the sun, to have something to do in the summer!"

After giving the Mayor a Junior YouthBuild t-shirt and hat, the Mayor then presented Bob and the students with a mock check, before the students showed off scores of garbage bags from their most recent cleanup work!

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