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NJCDC Swears In Its Newest Class of AmeriCorps Members

NJCDC Swears In Its Newest Class of AmeriCorps Members

November 17, 2023

In September 1993, President Bill Clinton signed the National and Community Trust Act, which established AmeriCorps — a national service program to "get things done for America." Only a year later — in September 1994 — the first class of AmeriCorps members was sworn in at sites across the country, including here at NJCDC, where it was our first program. Since then, we have graduated over 600 AmeriCorps members, who have collectively given over a million hours of service to improving the lives of Patersonians!

Today, NJCDC operates two AmeriCorps programs with a total of 24 members. Our longstanding Paterson Community Schools Corps (PCSC) works to eliminate barriers to academic achievement, both in and out of school. Members serve at our Full Service Community Schools, the Community Charter School of Paterson, the Great Falls Youth Center, and our Neighborhood Help Center. At these sites, they provide instructional support to students, host family workshops, lead community service projects, and work to revitalize the community.

This year, we also launched a new AmeriCorps program, the Paterson Public Health Corps (PPHC). PPHC members also work in community schools to eliminate barriers to success, but with a specific focus on providing vital mental health resources to at-risk students and families.

This year's class of AmeriCorps members joined us in September, working with students in our schools and youth programs, and leading community service events, such as the annual 9/11 Day of Service. And on November 9th, we hosted a Swearing-In Ceremony, where they officially took their oath to serve the community over the next year.

Our AmeriCorps Program Director Gabrielle Foushee reflected on the pledge she took back in 2019 to serve as an AmeriCorps member with NJCDC. Though her service term was impacted by the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Gabrielle and her fellow members continued working hard to serve the community during this time. Now as the Program Director, she is excited to lead new members in service. "I think when you are in an organization like this, you really get to see that every day that you're here, you're making a tremendous difference in the lives of children and families here in this community," she said.

We then welcomed New Jersey Senator Nellie Pou, who thanked our AmeriCorps members for their willingness to serve their community and improve lives here in Paterson. "I am honored to be standing here tonight in the presence of so much positive energy, as represented by the many bright, idealistic young people who — despite all the chaos that's going around in our world and in our nation — have the desire to give back," she said. "You want to not only step forth and serve, but you also dare to dream of a day that we can all have a better America — for all Americans. And that's what this program gives you the opportunity to do.

Now that they have been officially sworn in, our newest class of AmeriCorps members are more ready than ever to dedicate the next year to serving Paterson youth. In only a month, they'll be organizing and hosting NJCDC's Annual Holiday Gift & Toy Drive, which is our longest-standing tradition. Click here to learn more about how you can help them make the holidays happy for thousands of Paterson children!

Bob Guarasci, NJCDC's CEO, marveled at the impact that AmeriCorps has had in Paterson, sharing that "I remember AmeriCorps' very first day in Paterson, and the dedication and selflessness of more than 600 AmeriCorps members over the years has helped countless people—and especially children. I'm excited to see what this new class will accomplish."

Please watch our AmeriCorps Swearing In video below.

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