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Ramapo College Students Mentor Paterson Elementary School Students

Ramapo College Students Mentor Paterson Elementary School Students

March 25, 2024

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In 2010, NJCDC worked with Paterson Public Schools to open the City’s first Full Service Community School (FSCS) at Public School #5. FSCSs are innovative partnerships between nonprofits and schools designed to provide comprehensive support to all students and their families. Today, NJCDC is the lead agency at four FSCSs in Paterson, where we ensure that all students can come to school ready to learn, succeed during the school day, and graduate from high school ready for college and a career.

At our FSCS program at School #5, we serve students in Kindergarten through 5th Grade. Through on-site services such as family caseworkers, mental health counselors, and health and dental clinics, we make sure that students and their families have access to everything they need to succeed. In addition to these services, we also provide a variety of enrichment programming to students during the school day, after school, on weekends, and during the summer. One of these programs is the Big Brothers Big Sisters program, which is open to students in 4th and 5th grades. 

This school year, six students from the FSCS at School #5 are participating in the Big Brothers Big Sisters program with students at Ramapo College, who serve as mentors for the younger students. Twice a month, our students visit the Ramapo College campus to take part in a variety of fun activities. Through this program, college students help their mentees set goals for the future and inspire them to go to college! The program isn’t focused only on academics though, and the School #5 students also develop important social and emotional skills to help them succeed both in and out of school.


In February, one of the sessions was an exciting STEAM-based program — the students and their mentors participated in a friendly skyscraper-building competition! Making it even more challenging, the teams could only use a few specific supplies to build the best skyscraper. In addition to learning about scientific concepts like gravity, they also learned problem-solving, communication, teamwork, and budgeting skills.


At the session, Aanya Assin, a Case Manager for Big Brothers Big Sisters, said “Today, we had students from Paterson work on a STEAM activity with their Ramapo College mentors. They learned about teamwork, as well as using materials to create and collaborate.”


“I enjoy doing this so I can pass on my knowledge and my experience through my life to my mentee,” said Josh Assamoah, a Big Brother from Ramapo College. “I really get the chance to make a positive change in his life.”


“I am so grateful to Big Brother Big Sisters of Coastal & Northern New Jersey for their partnership with our Full Service Community School at School #5,” said NJCDC’s Founder & CEO, Bob Guarasci. “Their program provides valuable guidance and experience to our students, and helps them prepare for college, careers, and beyond.”

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