Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Center for Court Innovation 
Photo of the Week for 10/9/17

Ironbound Community Corporation’s LaQuan Thomas introduces one of the inhabitants of the Ironbound garden to Newark Community Solutions’ Lamar Mitchell. Lamar is the community service site supervisor for our Newark program, which provides alternative sentencing options for Newark Municipal Court. Once a week in summer and early fall, program participants can complete their community service mandates at the garden, picking fruits and vegetables for distribution to community members in need (participants go home with a bag of produce as well).

Monday, October 2, 2017

Image result for newark open doors logo

Newark Community Solutions and the Newark Youth Court 
hosting 2nd Open Doors Art Exhibit
Reception: Friday, October 13th
Newark Municipal Courthouse, 31 Green Street, Newark, NJ 07102

Newark Community Solutions is hosting its second annual community justice themed art exhibit titled Visions of Community Justice on Friday, October 13th in the Newark Municipal Courthouse at 31 Green Street, Newark.  Part of the four day long Open Doors Citywide Arts Festival, the exhibit is one of dozens connected across the city.  For the second year in a row, NCS and the Newark Youth Court collaborated to create a “pop-up” art exhibition in the halls of the Newark Municipal Court. Community Justice works to engage community members to create and maintain healthy and safe neighborhoods by confronting, reducing and preventing crime while addressing its impact at the community level.  The exhibit is aligned with the values of the Newark Youth Court, a youth led program providing alternatives to traditional consequences, including community service and skill-building workshops, for school based and juvenile justice infractions.  Youth of the city of Newark have the opportunity to be diverted from traditional discipline, including suspensions, expulsions, truancy court or arrest, while gaining a connection to their peers and their community.

This past summer, Youth Court members and respondents worked with local artist Malik Whitaker to create art that’s reflective of their mission and how it resonates with participants and within the greater community.  Visions of Community Justice will highlight the artwork created by our Youth Court members and Youth Court respondents as well as local artists who answered an open call for submissions.  The Youth Court’s art (paintings, drawings, photographs and collages) will be the final product of an initiative funded by the Newark Arts Council’s ArtStart grant. 

Last year’s exhibit had a great turnout and inspired the creation of an Arts Committee which has worked to enhance the Newark Municipal Court space with art year-round. We look forward to seeing you at the exhibit!

WHEN: The evening of Friday, October 13th, from 6:00pm-8:00pm. 
WHERE: The lobby of the Newark Municipal Courthouse, 31 Green Street, Newark, NJ 07102

 the evening of Friday, October 13th, from 6:00pm-8:00pm.  

Monday, September 11, 2017

Image result for comedy tragedy masksMoments 

Last week NCS hosted its second writers workshop performance titled Moments at Clement's Place on the campus of Rutgers University. This class included participants from a local treatment program, Integrity House, as well as the Delaney Hall Detention Facility. Participants wrote their one act plays with guidance from our amazing "playwright in residence" Jeremy Camps. Their plays were then performed by actors on stage in front of an audience of family, friends and colleagues. There was a lot of talent on display and in a Q&A after the performance, the writes got a chance to talk about the experiences that inspired their writing. This is easily one of the most fascinating and inspiring events we take part in.  Big thanks to NCS Clinical Director Colleen Smith who makes it all happen!

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Lincoln Park Music Festival

Attracting over 50,000 visitors yearly, the Lincoln Park Music Festival (LPMF) – A Celebration of Spirit and Dance -  is a cultural ambassador and signature event in the City of Newark. LPMF is part of the economic development activities led by Lincoln Park Coast Cultural District (LPCCD) in Newark, New Jersey’s historic Lincoln Park section.  

Newark Community Solutions and Newark Youth Court staff and interns table at the event every year to provide the public with information about our programs, meet and mingle with other local organizations and, of course, enjoy the music! Thanks to NCS Victims Services Coordinator Tonya Tucker for organizing and to everyone who contributed to making this a great day!

Friday, April 14, 2017

Monday, March 6, 2017

Exciting New Partnerships - Whole Foods in Newark!

There was a buzz in the air the morning of Wednesday, March 1st as the highly anticipated Newark Whole Foods was set to open to the public!  Early that morning a large crowd assembled in the atrium of the Hahne and Company building to hear remarks from Whole Foods President Christina Minardi, Whole Cities Foundation Executive Director Meredith Smith, and Newark Mayor Ras Baraka. As part of the festivities, Whole Cities Foundation, a non-profit arm of Whole Foods, announced the winners of the 2017 Newark Fresh, Healthy Food Access Grant, and Newark Community Solutions was thrilled to be named one of 11 Newark recipients!  NCS’s winning plan will bring together staff, program participants and an intern from Rutgers -Newark to rejuvenate the NCS garden, part of the City of Newark’s Adopt-A-Lot Network.  Once the garden is thriving, all fruit, vegetables and herbs will be donated to the New Hope Baptist soup kitchen to complete the community service cycle of growing, harvesting, cooking and serving food to Newarkers in need.

Committed to growing the local food system and increasing access to fresh, healthy food in Newark, Newark Community Solutions is especially excited to partner with the Whole Cities Foundation and New Hope Baptist Church to begin our work providing new opportunities to members of the community.

To learn more about the ceremony, find Brick City Live’s article recapping the morning, here.

Winners of the  2017 Newark Fresh, Healthy Food Access Grant -
accepting for NCS was Planner, Jordan Otis (4th from left)

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Congressman Payne Visits Newark Community Solutions

This past Tuesday Newark Community Solutions was honored to host Congressman Donald Payne Jr. and his staff.  The Congressman observed court and then took time to speak with both Newark Municipal Court and Newark Community Solutions staff in the courtroom as well as program participants in the NCS clinic.  The Congressman said he was proud to see all Newark Community Solutions has accomplished since his time serving as Newark City Council President during the program’s planning and launch in 2011.  Again we thank the Congressman and his staff for their time and commitment to criminal justice reform in the City of Newark, and we look forward to continued collaboration throughout the year. 

Monday, December 19, 2016

Newark Community Solutions
2016 Holiday Gift Drive                  

On a cold and snowy Saturday the feeling was warm and cheery at the Newark Community Solutions Sixth Annual Holiday Gift Drive "Wrap Party." This year our drive supported the Angel Tree Network, a program that facilitates holiday season gift donations to children with at least one incarcerated parent, as well as the Newark YMCA and New Hope Baptist Church. Gifts were donated by Newark City employees as well as local organizations including the GI Go Fund, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc., and Sigma Phi Rho Fraternity Inc. Despite the weather, volunteers made it to Newark City Hall to wrap and package gifts, and Newark Youth Court members invited all kids in attendance to their arts and crafts station where there made festive ornaments including the famous candy cane reindeer!

Special Thanks to Mallery Rosado from StyleSnaps PhotoBooth LLC for providing free holidays pics to all families in attendance and thanks again to all our wonderful volunteers!

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

From the desk of Colleen Smith
NCS Clinical Coordinator


Over a year ago, NCS was approached by a playwright, Jeremy Kamps, who made us a remarkable offer.  He wanted to facilitate a writing workshop for participants during which he would guide the group to write short plays about their own lives. The workshop would culminate in a live performance of the plays by professional actors in a local theatrical space.  After months of planning the workshop got underway earlier this year with five residents of Newark’s Integrity House.  Then on Monday 12/12 at Newark’s Clement’s Place the group’s hard work payed off with a brilliant performance titled, Moments: A Festival of Ten Minute Plays.

The performance included five plays brought to live by incredibly talented professional actors who all donated their time to the casue.  Each play drew from the lived experiences of the writers, tackling difficult topics while maintaining moments of levity and humor.  But perhaps the greatest moment of the evening came at the end, when each writer spoke about his experience in the workshop.  They spoke of seeing their work played out in front of them, the challenges of writing about life events, and the power of telling their stories.  

As Jeremy said, “art brings communities together” and I am so grateful that we were all able to come together that evening.  I’d like to send a big thank you to the staff at Clement’s Place for hosting us in their beautiful space, Jeremy Kamps for facilitating the workshop and donating his time, the actors for bringing the plays to life, and most importantly, to our writers for sharing their stories with us.


Thursday, November 24, 2016

The Spirit of Giving

On the eve of Thanksgiving, Newark Community Solutions along with the Newark Youth Court staff and members prepared and packed food for the 2016 “Share the Harvest” event hosted by PACTION Newark at the Clinton Memorial AMEZ Church. PACTION Newark is a consortium formed in fall of 2015 to facilitate collaboration and sharing between NGOs, faith based organizations and community organizers with the goal of serving the homeless, local youth and other vulnerable residents of Newark and the Greater Newark area. The two day event brought in volunteers from organizations and businesses all determined to help provide warm meals for the holiday. Last year PACTION Newark served and delivered 3,541 meals to the community and we hoped to surpass that this year!

Newark Community Solutions and Newark Youth Court are so proud to take part in an event that truly embodies the spirit of the season.  

From our family to yours – HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Art through Social Consciousness: 
Visions of Community Justice

Last Friday Newark Community Solutions and the Newark Municipal Court collaborated on one of the coolest events I have been a part of since I started working with the program.  But first a little background - several months ago with the blessing of Chief Judge Pratt and the Mayor Baraka, NCS applied to have the Newark Municipal Courthouse be a part of the Newark Art’s Council’s Open Doors City Arts Festival.  Once the application was accepted, a joint NCS – Municipal Court Arts committee was formed to undertake the task of turning a portion of the courthouse into a gallery that would be open to the public over a three day “Arts Crawl.” The committee came up with the theme of Art through Social Consciousness: Visions of Community Justice and put out an open call to local artists. In addition to art submitted by the community and local professional artists, some in-house talent got a chance to shine.  As someone with zero ability in this area I was blown away!

Then finally on the evening of Friday 10/21 the Newark Municipal Court gallery opened its doors!  Guests were greeted with event information (and sparkling cider) by Newark Youth Court members and then made their way down the first floor corridor now covered with paintings, collages, drawing and photography.  A highlight of the evening for me was meeting Vincent A. Johnson Jr.  Vincent is 14 years old and submitted beautiful pictures he took in Newark's Branch Brook Park.  It was inspiring to hear him talk about how he got started and I’m so glad this event gave him the opportunity to share his art with the public.  Pictures (including Vincent’s work) are below but they don't do the art justice (pun intended) so please come down to the Newark Municipal Court to see for yourself!

Friday, October 21, 2016

Community Service in Action

 At the Down Bottom Farm, located at 371-395 Ferry Street in Newark’s east ward, Newark Community Solutions participants assisted the Farmer's Market Coordinator, Alexis Trujillo, and her staff with a number of tasks to prepare the farm for an upcoming Halloween event.

Supervised by NCS Community Service Site Supervisor Trevor Powell, participants cleaned the farm free of all trash then picked green and red peppers, habanero peppers, squash, and eggplants.  Any veggies past their prime were tossed into the compost bins to eventually become fertilizer for the raised flower beds. 

In addition to prep work and picking vegetables, NCS participants placed pumpkins all throughout the large flower bed at the rear of the farm, made wooden scarecrows, and hung corn stalks on the raised flower bed posts inside the garden and along the perimeter. By the end of the day the farm looked great and was ready for the event.  Take a look at some prep pics as well as pictures from the event.                  

Monday, October 10, 2016

GI Go Fund 2016 Northern New Jersey Stand Down for Homeless Veterans

Newark Community Solutions was proud to once again participant in this annual event providing support and services to local veterans including flu shots, HIV testing, benefits assistance, employment programs, legal services, clothing donations and evens haircuts on site!  As always NCS spoke with veterans in attendance about clearing up open municipal matters in Newark as well as other court based social services.

Below is a link with more details about the event and some photos from the day.


Thursday, September 15, 2016

Lauren Craig

Courtesy of the Newark Downtown District, photographer Daniel Weintraub (@halopigg)

October means the Open Doors Citywide Arts Festival!

Featured programming, including two premium events,
to round out the weekend


Newark, NJ – September 13, 2016 – October means the Open Doors Citywide Arts Festival! Newark Arts takes pride in the fact that the Open Doors Citywide Arts Festival continues to be a free and inclusive event for its 10,000 patrons and guests, providing complimentary access to Newark's bevy of cultural institutions, diverse arts community and rich creative programming. Now in its fifteenth year, along with a complete schedule of exhibits, pop ups and more, Open Doors Citywide Arts Festival will host five featured events throughout the weekend, two of which are premium events for those stakeholders that are interested in getting more exclusive experience, at a great price.
Featured programming includes:
  • Open Doors Opening ReceptionWed. October 19, 20166 to 9 pm, Newark Museum, 49 Washington St. Newark
Let's toast to fifteen years of Open Doors! Network, sip and celebrate with fellow art enthusiasts at a cocktail reception featuring a not-to-be-missed keynote by internationally renowned cultural innovator, Monica Montgomery, in her Newark debut. A limited amount of tickets are available now for just $25! Tickets -> http://bit.ly/2cUlH3s
  • Open Doors Public Launch Party and Vendors FairThurs. October 20, 2016, 5:30 – 8:30 pm, Prudential Center Championship Plaza, Edison Pl. at Mulberry St., Newark
Join the entire Newark Arts community as we activate Prudential Center's Championship Plaza with an open-air vendor’s fair featuring gorgeous hand-crafted items, exciting live entertainment, tantalizing food trucks and so much more. The best part: it's FREE! It’s easy to see why this public launch party is one of this year's most anticipated events! Register -> http://bit.ly/2cmJSFQ
  • Open Doors Friday Night Gallery CrawlFri. October 21, 20165 to 9 pm
There's more to explore at our annual citywide Gallery Crawl! Hop from gallery to gallery via our complimentary shuttles while taking in everything from paintings to poetry. With over 40 venues under the Open Doors umbrella, get ready to experience amazing entertainment, lively conversation and free fun for all alongside Newark’s Creative Class. Free transportation with RSVP.
Register -> http://bit.ly/2cfZMF3
  • Murals and Martinis™: An Open Doors Public Art TourSat. October 22, 2016, 11 am to 3 pm
Take a shuttle bus ride with a decidedly downtown vibe and explore the city Newark Arts-style! This two-hour guided mural tour, including the longest mural on the East Coast and a performance by Storyboard P at the Newark Allery, ends with an after party at Redd's Biergarten featuring complimentary light bites, special drink offers and a round on the house. All for just $35! Grab your ticket before they go!
Tickets -> http://bit.ly/2cjrbB3
  • Open Doors Sunday Open Studio TourSun. October 23, 2016, 11 am to 4 pm
It's an insider's guide to all of Newark Arts! Gain exclusive access to over 100 private artists' studios and experience art-in-action during this FREE Open Studio Tour. Visitors from near and far can take a look behind the scenes of local artistry while connecting with both emerging and established creatives in the Newark community. Free transportation with RSVP.
Register -> http://bit.ly/2cm6VQs

As always, Open Doors Citywide Arts Festival will provide stellar free programming, installations and sites throughout the weekend including Thursday evening’s exciting Open Doors Public Launch Party at Prudential Center’s Championship Plaza, an Animodules exhibit at PSE&G Plaza and the mile-long Gateways to Newark mural on McCarter Highway. Ready to experience it all? Sign up for your free All-Festival Pass!
  • Open Doors All-Festival Pass
Hundreds of artists, twenty countries, forty-five tours and exhibits, fifty special events, over one hundred open studios, and ONE GREAT CITY! The Open Doors All-Festival Pass is your complimentary passport to the very best of Newark Arts. Register for your FREE pass and experience an entire weekend of programming including installations, performances, exhibits and tours showcasing Newark's diverse, rich and bustling artistic community. (The Open Doors All-Festival Pass does NOT provide access to the Open Doors Opening Reception or Murals and Martinis™)
Register -> http://bit.ly/2cRTKq8
Don’t miss the most exciting Open Doors Citywide Arts Festival yet!

Friday, August 12, 2016

Newark Youth Court Joins Forces with Newark Youth Ambassadors to Illustrate Unity

Thursday, August 11, 2016

The Newark Municipal Council Chambers was the warmest place to be last night and not because of the heat wave.  The Newark Youth Court and the Mayor’s Newark Youth Ambassadors joined forces to help the Newark African Commission honor renowned sociologist Dr. LaFrancis Roger-Rose at their “Unity Forum” event. There were several dignitaries in attendance, including Council President Mildred C. Crump and Kate Ihuoma –Igbodike, Consul to the Consulate General of Nigeria in New York.

Zoe Nicole Copeland and Genique Turner of the Newark Youth Court and Diamond Golson of the Newark Youth Ambassadors read a poem together titled Prayer to Masks by celebrated Senegalese statesman and poet Leopold Sédar Senghor. They were warmly greeted by cheers from the audience who showed their delight by applauding at several points during the reading. The Forum also featured a panel discussion on cultural identity titled Are We All Africans?  NCS Program Coordinator, Wynnie-Fred Victor Hinds, also a member of the Newark African Commission, helped coordinate the event and was joined by Newark Youth Court Case Developer Basimah Caldwell.  NCS Re-Entry Case Manager, Latania Cobb and Alternative Sanctions intern Nicauris Hernandez, provided moral support with cheers from the audience.  All in all, the whole process was an inspiring illustration of the positive impact of effective collaboration and teamwork.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Lincoln Park Music Festival 2016

Special thanks to Sr. Clinical Specialist Tonya Tucker for getting us together!