August 2009: S’more news to digest

WIMNI’s Teen Leadership Camp participated in a fair trade initiative of the human rights organization Global Exchange. In its campaign to end child labor and slavery on plantations in cocoa-producing countries, Global Exchange set a goal of making 1500 s’mores with fairly traded chocolate at campfires across the USA this summer. Teen Leadership Camp obliged by making (and eating!) 15 s’mores at their cookout in Cheesequake State Park on July 24. (See photos at the Media menu.)

Results were good — to the last gooey drop. Our teen leaders recommend: Try This At Home! Said one participant, “If it will make the world a better place, I’ll have a s’more.” Earlier the teens had learned how increasing our demand for fairly traded food spreads a better way of life for the poorest agricultural workers in the producing countries.

 

August 2009: Summer Jobs for Youth

This summer Who Is My Neighbor? Inc. benefited from a county program that used federal funds from the economic stimulus package to hire disadvantaged youth and put them to work at nonprofits. Middlesex County’s Summer Youth Employment Program provided our agency with seven enthusiastic young people, age 16 to 20, for an eight week stint. The youth hailed from Highland Park and from Woodbridge, Perth Amboy, Avenel, and Monroe Township. They assisted at Camp Cool and accomplished a myriad of other tasks indoors and out.

In the community garden they staked tomatoes, mulched, bundled twigs, and sawed logs. In the multi-purpose rooms of the Reformed Church they polished floors and shampooed carpets. They packed lunches to be distributed at Elijah’s Promise, made donation jars for the Highland Park Food Pantry, took an overflow of goods from the Thrift Shop to FISH (a program in Piscataway that distributes clothing to needy families) and assisted Main Street Highland Park with hospitality and parking at the Farmers’ Market. At Camp Cool they read stories to campers, helped them with art projects and science experiments, and kept the Cave in top shape.

From clerical work to community service to befriending our summer day campers, the work that these young people did here in July and August, at no charge to our agency, will have lasting effects.