YDKJ Cares: New Jersey Charity of the Month – Covenant House New Jersey
In the past, I’ve chosen one charity each month to support with a donation. I’ve chosen lots of different types of charitable organizations all depending on what happened to me throughout the year. For example, if someone I knew was recently diagnosed with cancer, I’d donate to an organization that helped support that particular kind of cancer. This year, Ed and I have decided to give a donation to twelve New Jersey charities (one for each month) and tell you about which ones we’ve chosen.
January’s New Jersey charity is Covenant House New Jersey. They are headquartered in Newark but they help kids and young adults throughout New Jersey.
Want the short answer about why we chose Covenant House? Look at this chart from their website:
COVENANT HOUSE BY THE NUMBERS:
AFTER THEY WALKED THROUGH OUR DOORS LAST YEAR…
1010 youth were served in residences
44,895 nights of shelter were provided
167,535 meals were served
101 youth advanced their education
28 babies were born into a loving home
2841 youth were served by outreach
962 medical visits were offered
199 youth obtained employment
182 youth moved to independence
125 youth lived with us each night
BEFORE THEY WALKED THROUGH OUR DOORS LAST YEAR…
47% had been in foster care
44% reported physical abuse as children
35% reported sexual abuse as children
33% had been hospitalized because of mental illness
89% were unemployed
51% hadn’t graduated high school
19% were enrolled in school
35% required treatment for a chronic medical condition
81% had lost someone in their immediate family to death
12% had lost someone close to them to murder
Here’s some history also gleaned from their website:
In 1989, Covenant House began its work in New Jersey by providing basic services to to homeless youth on the streets of Newark and Atlantic City. Outreach staff traveled in vans to these areas offering food, clothing, counseling and referrals for shelter. The following year storefront operations began, and by 1992, the Community Service Centers most people recognize were opened in both Newark and Atlantic City.
In 1993, we opened our first transitional living program in Atlantic City – Rights of Passage (ROP). ROP meets the needs of youth who have become stabilized enough to benefit from a program that provides education, job training and placement, leading to independent living. In 2001, we opened ROP in Newark. Since then, we have expanded the ROP program, opening two beautiful new facilities in Atlantic City and Newark in 2008.
In 1999, Governor Whitman signed the New Jersey Homeless Youth Act into law our Atlantic City site. We also opened our Medical Services Office in Atlantic City with an on-site Nurse Practitioner. For the full text of the bill, view pdf.
In 2003, we began a partnership with Raphael’s Life House in Elizabeth to provide residential and support services to young women with newborns and expectant mothers.
During that same year, Our Youth Advocacy Center also co-authored and facilitated the passage of the New Jersey Tuition Waiver Bill, which was signed into law by Governor McGreevey at our Newark site. For the full text of the bill, view pdf.
In 2004, Neil Berg and his talented Broadway partners began collaborating with us to produce what has become the signature event of Covenant House, A Night of Broadway Stars. They put on a fabulous show every year at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center to benefit the youth of Covenant House, and in 2008, the show was introduced to Atlantic City at The Borgata.
Over the past 20 years, we have grown both horizontally through capital expansion and vertically, by creating more services and enhancing the quality of those services. From North to South, the focus is always on meeting the needs of our youth, whose needs never stop growing.
In 2008, our Outreach team expanded its reach to Paterson and Cumberland County. While Outreach continues to provide the essential services that established our presence in New Jersey two decades ago, it has expanded to a solid program forming partnerships with local schools, organizations and government agencies to make sure all youth in the state are served. Our Outreach teams in North and South Jersey do presentations on a regular basis, and touch everyone who listens.
In 2009, we opened a program especially for mentally ill homeless youth called Nancy’s Place in Montclair. In response to the special needs of this unique population, the program is staffed 24 hours a day, and offers the intensive care these young people need to become self-sufficient and independent.
In 2010, we completed extensive renovations at Raphael’s Life House. During the previous year, Covenant House acquired the 125 convent that houses the moms and babies program to ensure the program would continue to be a safe haven for young families as long as they need us.
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