How Newark Is Reaching Out To Its Youth

November 18, 2008

As the Dodge Foundation shifts its focus this time of year to our Education grants, Education Program Director Ross Danis notes the work of an organization in Newark helping young people succeed, even under the most difficult of circumstances:

Dr. Vincent Mays runs the Youth Education and Employment Success Center (Ye2s Center), a remarkable partnership between the City of Newark, the Newark Public Schools, Rutgers University, and a spectrum of non-profit organizations. He is a “can-do” guy, who, with an extraordinary team, is helping to improve education and employment opportunities for the youth of Newark.

Since the beginning of the year, the Center has re-enrolled more than 400 drop-out students, and Dr. Mays expects that number to hit 500 before the end of the year. Students are drawn to the Center’s “one stop shop” approach: there is on-site daycare, as well as access to probation officers and job placement counselors, all of which makes the path to a high school diploma and meaningful employment much easier than they had previously experienced.

Part of the success of the program is that it doesn’t wait for young people to come to them; the Ye2s Center sends out “Street Warriors” to playgrounds, shopping malls, and popular street corners – anywhere young people hang out – to recruit them and bring them in for open house sessions.

Furthermore, the Ye2s Center brings back significant revenue to the Newark Public School District, because for every student that is re-enrolled, the District receives the per-pupil cost from the State of New Jersey.

Simple. Elegant. Brilliant. The Ye2s Center is a win for everyone.

There is still a need, however, for private funding, including funds to develop new educational models for young people and for professional development for the teachers who work at the Center. For more information about the Ye2s Center, please visit their website.

Photo courtesy of Rutgers University