Edison, NJ – “Make a Difference Day”, which took place on October 23, is nationally recognized as a call to community service. Millions of people take the initiative to support various causes throughout the country, including the Job Corps program – our nation’s oldest and largest federally funded program offering residential, academic and vocational program for young adults ages 16-24. Job Corps places a strong emphasis on educating our youth about the importance of giving back. Edison Job Corps Academy, one of the 122 centers available throughout the country and Puerto Rico, celebrates this initiative by intensifying community service throughout the month of October.
Starting in the last week of September students volunteered with Project Porchlight at the “21st Annual FestiFall Westfield” in Westfield, NJ distributing 720 compact fluorescent lamps (CFL) to the participants. This event was part of the continued “green” activity opportunities for the Edison Job Corps Academy students, who also assisted at the Dodge Poetry Festival in Newark, NJ to take direct action in waste mitigation. Students managed Recovery Stations during the event to ensure that garbage was separated on the spot to prevent further increase of landfill accumulation. As part of the “green team”, students educated attendees on the resource recovery process, purpose and the impact of proper disposal. Students manned four bins at each station which included – recycling, compost, liquids and landfill.
Students continued their “green” efforts by working with the Middlesex County Department of Parks and Recreation Department to plan an activity specifically designed for the Edison Job Corps Academy. Students and staff joined forces to clean the Waterfront Park Beach in Old Bridge, NJ and collected items like big tires and even discovered a car engine!
Aside from raising environmental awareness through community service, students also supported the American Cancer Society and Susan G. Komen Foundation to assist them with preparation for the “Making Strides Against the Breast Cancer” and the “Komen Central and South Jersey Race for the Cure” walks respectively.
Poverty is also a cause that Edison Job Corps students support through their service at the “Feed the Children.” Feed the Children is an international, nonprofit relief organization that delivers food, medicine, clothing and other necessities to individuals, children and families who lack these essentials due to famine, war, poverty, or natural disaster. In October students were joined by Edison Rotary members to pack the food at their North Brunswick warehouse. Team spirit contributed to a new record for students’ efforts, consisting of 1000 packed boxes. In addition, students helped out at the Elijah Promise “clothing line” program in New Brunswick, NJ. This activity involved hanging and sorting clothing for the needy.
In early November, Edison Job Corps students participated in the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence of Middlesex County “Sticker Shock” Campaign which mission was to remind adults to obey New Jersey’s 21 Minimum Drinking Age law.
Students placed neon stickers on multi-packs of beer, wine coolers and any other alcohol
Products that appeal to underage drinkers and paper bags at participating package goods stores.
The stickers read, “KEEP IT LEGAL. It is illegal to provide alcohol for people under 21!”
December is always a month of giving and this year was not any different. At the beginning of the month students gathered together at the quarterly blood drive organized at the academy through the Red Cross, donating 52 pints of blood. Later this month’s students donated food to the Middlesex County Food Organization and Outreach Distribution Services, an organization which collects and distributes nonperishable items at no cost to over 70 local food pantries and soup kitchens throughout the County as well as an additional 25 agencies
These are just few ways that these young adults demonstrated that “service above self”, brings joy not only to the community but to the givers above all.