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.