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After-School, Weekend, and Summer Programs

Full Service Community Schools (FSCS)

Full Service Community Schools (FSCS) are initiatives in which nonprofits and schools collaborate to provide comprehensive social, emotional, and academic support to students and their families. Using the school building as a hub, NJCDC ensures that every child is not only prepared and ready to learn when they arrive, but also that they have the support they need to succeed throughout the day. Through numerous partnerships, students and families benefit from on-site services such as mental health counselors, bilingual family caseworkers, after-school enrichment, health centers, dental care, nutrition, job readiness, ESL classes, and more, both during the school day and outside of regular classroom hours.

In 2010, NJCDC was selected as the lead agency at Paterson Public School's FSCS initiative at Public School #5—the city's first community school. The core belief behind the initiative is to ensure that all Paterson Public Schools students graduate from high school ready for college and a career. Currently, we operate four Full Service Community Schools in Paterson: Public School #5, International High School, John F. Kennedy High School, and Joseph A. Taub Middle School.

In partnership with Paterson Public Schools, we are committed to providing a safe, supportive, and engaging environment for our youth, families, and community conducive to lifelong learning.

Public School #5

NJCDC is the lead agency in Paterson's first Full Service Community School at Public School 5, offering a variety of programs and services designed to keep the school open late, on weekends, and during the summer to support student success and to strengthen families.

With the help of NJCDC, School 5 has seen a number of successes in recent years:

  • The number of chronically absent students dropped by 76%, from 152 to 36, in one year.

  • NJCDC teamed up with Big Brother and Big Sisters to establish an after-school mentoring program. This program pairs Ramapo College students with students from School 5 who have been identified by their teachers as facing some difficult challenges.

  • The FSCS program partnered with the Food Bank of New Jersey to provide 90 students with nutrition classes

  • Over 160 students participate in NJCDC's extended-day program, which provides academic support and homework help, as well as fun and engaging youth development programming.

  • More than 100 students are engaged in in-class academic support provided by NJCDC's AmeriCorps members.

  • The FCSC program hosts about 30 family engagement events each year, including social events, student recognition events, informational workshops, and child literacy events.

For more information: Please contact our Full Service Community Schools Site Coordinator by sending us a message.

Joseph A. Taub School

The Joseph A. Taub School opened in September 2021 to serve more than 1,000 of Paterson's middle school students. NJCDC is the lead agency at the on-site Full Service Community School, which officially opened in October 2022.

Through the FSCS program, students have access to academic support and tutoring, counseling, mentoring, and an in-school health clinic. Students also have the option to participate in a variety of after-school clubs, including gardening, art, book club, TV production, and more.

For more information: Please contact our Full Service Community Schools Site Coordinator by sending us a message.

John F. Kennedy High School

NJCDC is proud to serve as the lead agency at the Full Service Community School at Paterson's John F. Kennedy High School (JFK)—New Jersey's first federally-funded Full Service Community School at a high school.

The Full Service Community School at JFK, which officially opened in April 2019, provides students with a wide array of programs and services to address obstacles to learning, such as hunger, mental health, and even dirty clothing. Through the FSCS program, students have access to an in-school health clinic and mental health services through Health N Wellness, LLC; a food pantry run by St. Paul's Community Development Corporation; academic support services, summer bridge programs, and paid-internship opportunities through Felician University; and a laundry room sponsored by NJCDC.

Additional programs and services offered through NJCDC's FSCS program at JFK include college and career readiness, chronic-absenteeism mentorship, anti-bullying/violence prevention, Restorative Justice, family nights, parent workshops, and adult education programs, such as ESL and workforce development.

Recent highlights for participants include tax preparation workshops for parents, college application assistance for individual students, and several career exploration and academic enrichment clubs, such as TV Production, Drama, and Dance. Participants in Cosmetology classes also had the chance to visit a beauty school. Since the program's inception, more than 1,100 JFK students have been served.

In the 2022 – 2023 school year, 85% of student ambassadors improved their academic performance by at least one letter grade in at least one subject after participating in the program.

For more information: Please contact our Full Service Community Schools Site Coordinator by sending us a message.

Follow our JFK FSCS on Instagram!

International High School

The brand new Full Service Community Schools program at International High School will build upon and enhance the existing services provided at the school through the Great Falls Teen Center.

The FSCS program adds family engagement, adult education, more student activities, a student advisory board, community networking, attendance outreach, absenteeism reduction, and educational enrichment for its students. The program seeks to specifically increase the service offerings to parents and other family members, and to broaden the depth and scope of parent engagement workshops to meet and address the interest of these families.

We are excited to add another layer of support for the families of the hundreds of students we work with at International.

For more information: Please contact our Full Service Community Schools Site Coordinator by sending us a message.

Compete for Life

Compete for Life—a federally-funded 21st Century Community Learning Centers program—provides academic enrichment, support, and youth development programming during non-school time to over 200 students at John F. Kennedy High School Educational Complex. In today's world, a college education is one of the most important factors determining future success, yet only 14% of Paterson residents ages 25 and older have a college degree. Compete for Life provides after-school programming and services to ensure students' success, and to better prepare them for postsecondary education and a career.

Compete for Life aims to create a career- and college-bound focus among students and families through academic support, social and emotional development programming, parent and family engagement, field trips, and career exploration opportunities.

Compete for Life offers academic enrichment classes and club activities in:

  • Tutoring for all subjects

  • English as a Second Language (ESL) Classes

  • SAT Prep

  • Band

  • Visual Arts

  • DJ Class

  • Culinary Arts

  • Fashion Design

  • Music Production

  • Stepping/Dance

  • Cosmetology

Through partnerships with St. Joseph's Health, Paterson Public Schools, and Montclair State University, Compete for Life is equipping students with the necessary tools to compete in school and in life by providing high-quality, after-school programming.

To learn more: Please contact our Program Director by sending us a message.

Follow Compete for Life on Instagram!

Great Falls Youth Center

The Great Falls Youth Center opened in March 2018 as a safe space for Paterson high school students to go after school to do homework, spend time with friends, and participate in engaging youth development programming. Before the opening of this space, the need for a youth center in Paterson that would stay open late on weeknights and provide a variety of programs and services for older teens was overwhelming. Fortunately, NJCDC was able to purchase a building—Paterson's former American Legion Hall originally constructed in 1954—and transform it into the space it is today, thanks to the generous support of many donors.

Since its opening, the Youth Center has quickly grown from serving about 20 students a day to serving over 100 students each day. The top floor serves as a space for students to do homework, play board games and video games, compete in ping-pong tournaments, and learn culinary skills in the kitchen space. The lower level features a computer lab for homework and programming, such as basic coding and video editing workshops. It also contains a sound studio designed to allow participants to make music and learn sound engineering and other musical and music production-related skills.

In 2023, we cut the ribbon on an expansion to the Youth Center, which allows us to better serve the increasing number of students who attend our programming. The expansion includes new multipurpose space and a podcast studio!

The Youth Center staff and our AmeriCorps members are continuously offering various programs tailored to students' needs and interests, such as college prep and guidance, arts programming, movie nights, coffee house nights featuring students' spoken word and poetry performances, and much more.

However, arguably the most important feature of the Great Falls Youth Center is that it is a safe and welcoming space for all Paterson high school students to come to during out-of-school hours, including the summer and days when schools are closed.

To learn more: Please contact the Great Falls Youth Center Program Director by sending us a message.

Follow the Great Falls Youth Center on Instagram!

Teen Centers

Funded by the Department of Children and Families, NJCDC operates school-based youth service programs in four area high schools, serving almost 5,000 high school students yearly. These comprehensive Teen Centers, guided by the philosophy of Positive Youth Development, are designed to promote healthy lifestyles, both physically and emotionally, so that local teenagers can complete high school successfully and progress onto higher education or into the workforce.

NJCDC's Teen Centers provide year-round programming during the school day, after school and on weekends, including free educational and recreational enrichment programming, tutoring, employment assistance, college advice and counseling and support. Our Teen Centers represent unique opportunities for students in need of academic or emotional assistance, or just a safe place to relax and be themselves.

Our Teen Centers offer academic tutoring, individual and group counseling services, drug and alcohol prevention, gang prevention, sexual health education, positive youth development workshops, and college application assistance. All of our Teen Centers have partnerships with Planned Parenthood, while our Teen Center at Passaic County Technical Institute (PCTI) also has partnerships with Straight & Narrow and Home Care Options, and our Teen Center at International High School has a partnership with our Compete for Life program.

Our Teen Centers are located at:

International High School in Paterson, NJ

Follow the Great Falls Teen Center on Instagram!

Clifton High School in Clifton, NJ

Passaic Valley High School in Little Falls, NJ

Follow the Passaic Valley Teen Center on Instagram

Passaic County Technical Institute in Wayne, NJ

Follow the PCTI Teen Center on Instagram

To learn more: Please contact our Chief Program Officer at 973.413.1622 or send us a message.


AmeriCorps—the national service initiative launched in 1994 by Congress and President Clinton to "get things done for America"—is the bloodline of NJCDC.

As our first program, AmeriCorps allowed NJCDC to grow into an organization that now serves more than 4,000 children and families each day. This AmeriCorps Program, also known as Paterson Community Schools Corps (PCSC), aims to eliminate all barriers to academic achievement by recruiting promising college graduates to transform four neighborhood schools into fully-functioning community schools; members also serve at our Great Falls Youth Center, Great Falls Teen Center, and Neighborhood Help Center.

In 2023, we launched a new AmeriCorps program, the Paterson Public Health Corps (PPHC). These members also work in community schools to eliminate barriers to success for students and families, but have a specific focus on improving access to mental health services and resources.

The Scope of Our Work

Our AmeriCorps members dedicate a year of service to working directly with students, parents and teachers in high-risk, urban, community-based schools and teen centers, including:

At these sites, AmeriCorps members work on a number of projects, and their responsibilities include providing daily instructional support and additional individual assistance to students, developing tutoring programs, creating and implementing lesson plans for after-school and out-of-school programming, conducting workshops and designing and leading community service projects. These community service projects include community cleanups, food, clothing and toy drives, as well as other neighborhood revitalization projects.

The PCSC members' integrated focus on academics, youth and community development, health and social services, and community engagement leads to improved student learning, stronger families, and healthier communities. The PPHC members' targeted focus on providing vital mental health resources to at-risk students and families ensures that the community is better equipped to achieve success.

Since 1994, we've graduated more than 620 AmeriCorps members, who have collectively given hundreds of thousands of hours of service through the program.

To learn more: Please contact our PCSC team at 973.413.1626 or our PPHC team at 973.413.1590, or send us a message.

Follow our AmeriCorps program on Instagram!

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