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NJ4S Passaic County Hub Holds Summit – and Celebrates Its First Anniversary

NJ4S Passaic County Hub Holds Summit – and Celebrates Its First Anniversary

June 27, 2024

This summer, the New Jersey Statewide Student Support Services (NJ4S) Passaic County Hub is commemorating its first anniversary, celebrating a year of significant impact in fortifying youth wellness and advancing preventative measures. Launched in 2023 by the New Jersey Department of Children and Families, NJ4S is a pioneering statewide effort aimed at supporting students’ mental health and wellness and their holistic development.

Managed by NJCDC, the NJ4S Passaic County Hub has earned a reputation of being a popular and trusted resource, offering evidence-based prevention and intervention services to over dozens of schools within the region. These services encompass workshops, presentations, and individual/group sessions, covering essential topics such as mindful parenting, study skills, and internet safety. This flexibility allows us to support students with their unique needs so they can thrive academically, socially, and emotionally. By partnering with other community resources like The Circle, Youth Rise, Oasis, and the Highlands Family Success Center over the past year, NJ4S Passaic County has positively impacted the lives of over 10,000 participants, with a focus on accessibility and inclusivity in its services.

On Monday, July 10, NJ4S Passaic County held an event at William Paterson University -- Empowering Passaic County: The NJ4S Prevention Summit! More than 100 people attended, including county-wide school administrators, teachers, social workers, Child Study Team members, guidance counselors, and School Resource Officers. They were joined by staff from many community-based organizations, including Oasis, Highland Family Success, Youth Rise, Clifton Public Library, Passaic Public Library, United for Prevention in Passaic County, Passaic County Care Management Organization/Circle of Care, New Destiny Family Success Center, AmeriCorps, and 4Cs of Passaic County.

From the inspiring keynote speech by Gian Paul Gonzalez to the engaging breakout sessions, exciting giveaways, and fun moments captured in the photo booth, we couldn’t have asked for a better day! After breakfast, NJ4S Passaic County Director Kathy Barreto welcomed attendees and explained why NJ4S was started and what the Passaic County Hub does. Kathy and her team also discussed their many impressive milestones from this past year! Next, Gian Paul Gonzalez delivered a motivational speech that had everyone excited and ready to go. Attendees then split up into three breakout rooms, which were led by Joanna Mlicka-Anderko, DEA NJ Field Office; Linda Richter, PhD and Cori Hammond, MPH, Partnership to End Addiction; and Mariam Gerges, LCSW and Dr. Diana Gerges, The Collaborative for Organizational Change. Attendees then reunited for lunch, fun giveaways, and a special photo booth

There is also much to look forward to! We are excited to announce the launch of Parent University, offering enriching opportunities for parents and guardians to enhance their parenting skills through evidence-based workshops conducted in English and Spanish. With this new initiative, NJ4S Passaic County remains committed to empowering youth, strengthening communities, and building a brighter future for all of Passaic County.

Bob Guarasci, NJCDC’s CEO, stated that he “couldn’t be happier with the impact we’ve had this first year, and I salute at partners at the Department of Children and Families for their foresight and efforts in creating this invaluable statewide initiative.”

For more information, please reach out to You can also follow the NJ4S Passaic County Hub on Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, and YouTube!

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