Thursday, December 17, 2015

It's That Time of Year Again!

This past weekend Newark Community Solutions held its Fifth 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 families in the Newark YMCA Emergency Residence program. Over 150 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. Volunteers and staff mingled, snacked and wrapped all morning and in the afternoon Newark families began arriving to pick up the gifts.  Once again Newark Youth Court members invited all kids in attendance to their arts and crafts station where they decorated sugar cookies and made festive ornaments with beads, popsicle sticks and pipe cleaners (no glitter this year ;-)

The YMCA also worked with local favorite Tops Diner who donated delicious desserts for our families and volunteers - best carrot cake EVER!

Thanks again to all our staff and volunteers who participated – it gets better every year!

Happy Holidays from our Newark Community Solutions Family

See you in 2016!

Thursday, December 10, 2015

From the desk of Colleen Smith
NCS Clinical Coordinator

When people ask me about my role at Newark Community Solutions, I tell them I am charged with helping people seek the resources they need to reach their goals- get a job, kick a drug habit, seek treatment for a deepening depression and, of course, stay out of jail.  So when my clients run into walls, I feel like I do too.  Last Friday, I felt like my clients and I faced a new wall at every turn.

Need shelter?  No beds.  Emergency assistance?  No proof of ID.  Mental health treatment?  No insurance.  By the end of the day, I was exhausted and left wondering about our impact on a population with so many challenges.

But later that evening, my phone rang.  It was a Newark police officer telling me he found a man “talking outside his head.”  The officer found Newark Community Solutions paperwork on the man so he gave me a call for more information.   I was able to give the officer a bit of background, an emergency contact number, and an address.  He brought our client to the hospital for further evaluation and was able to notify his family.   

This officer’s actions epitomize community policing.  Furthermore, he was able to use a court-based program to respond effectively and compassionately to a citizen in need.  After a day of hitting walls this officer reminded me that when we work together we can open a lot of doors.