4-H and TC kids served Paterson, NJ this summer

by Jennae DuBois, Passaic County 4-H Program Associate and Kimi Wei

The Passaic County 4-H Youth Development Program and St. Paul's CityServe Program teamed up on a 5 week service and learning program this summer titled, CityServe. In CityServe, 50 youth from Passaic County devoted 5 weeks of their summer vacation to serving the community of Paterson, NJ. Projects included teaching younger students about healthy lifestyles through the 4-H Get Moving Get Healthy kits, clean-ups of the Great Falls and the St. Paul's neighborhood. The young teens created a community garden with City Green as an extension of the 4-H Afterschool Junior Master Gardener Program and helped at the food bank and worked with seniors.

CityServe wasn't just work. The kids were served delicious and nutritious breakfast and lunches prepared by St. Paul's in-house chef, played basketball on the church grounds and in nearby parks, were taken on weekly trips, spent two exciting days of fun at Club Getaway in Connecticut and were able to earn a stipend of up to $5 a day if they cooperatively participated in all of that day's CityServe activities. Some of the kids earned $125 during their five weeks of service.

4-H was able to provide the CityServe staff training on youth development, service-learning, and engaged the teens in a movie making program called 4-H 4-REEL. In this program the young people learned how to shoot, edit and produce a 20-minute DVD movie about all they accomplished during the summer, and each teen was presented with a copy of the DVD they made at CityServe's closing ceremony. Bergen and Passaic Counties Teen Council president, Ivan Wei, and member Jeremy D, both age 17, were the 4-H teen leaders for the 4-REEL program run under the auspices of the Passaic County 4-H Office.

Partial funding for the CityServe program was gained through a 4-H and CityServe collaboration on the Summer of Service Grant. Counsellors were volunteer members of Americorps. The program was featured in the Rutgers University Monthly report (pdf).

CityServe 2008 kids

The 50 CityServe youth who devoted their summer to serving Paterson, NJ.

For more information email or call Jennae Dubois at 973-684-4786 or St. Paul's Episcopal Church at 973-278-7900.