Jersey Give Back Guide: Greater Life

December 15, 2014

GL Kidstitute Summer 2014 -1+

Throughout December, we are highlighting each of the organizations featured in our Jersey Give-Back Guide, an online portal for year-end giving that makes it easy to donate to some of New Jersey’s most effective nonprofits. Today we feature Greater Life.

Newark2Organization name:
Greater Life, Inc.
Connect: Website | Facebook
Communities served: Newark area

Founded: 1986

Make a year-end donation: Click here


GL Bd & Friends 10-18-2014 #16WHAT WE DO: Greater Life is a non-sectarian, faith-based non-profit that has been serving nearly 24,500 youth and family members of Newark’s economically impoverished South Ward since 1986. At Greater Life, we provide crucial social services to more than 1,500 youth ages 7-19 each year, targeting those children most in need of after-school social services — those suffering from poverty (indigent), with unstable family lives, and at risk of being influenced by gangs and the drug culture. In Newark, this is a group that is tragically growing.

Our expert staff of professionals and volunteers knows this Newark community well because we live here, and we have perfected a variety of programs designed to promote improved academic performance, physical health, social skills, leadership, entrepreneurial skills, behavior, moral/spiritual standards, volunteerism, family and community involvement and volunteerism.

The result? Healthier youth, families and communities.

WHY WE’RE GREAT: We’re there when nobody else is. Through our Community Outreach Center, we offer free and subsidized programming designed for youth and adults without financial resources or parental involvement. Our expert staff and volunteers reach this unique population through a proactive, “on-the-street” outreach.

We are also the only after-school program in the area open to kids with discipline problems and prior gang affiliations. We offer “Kidstitute” education enrichment, a family institute, leadership institute, camping, mentoring and internships, and community organizing workshops. At the Essex County Youth Detention Facility, we also have the privilege of serving specialized meals, while participating in their mentoring program.

Greater Life’s Street Outreach Specialists, program personnel and volunteers go into the streets, basketball courts, playgrounds, etc. to identify and immediately assist these children and family members in crisis situations.

An internal assessment by Greater Life’s Board and staff demonstrates the following impact on Greater Life clients:

  • 93 percent graduating seniors
  • 90 percent of graduating seniors attended Post-High School Education and Training
  • 90 percent improvement in behavior/self-esteem/literacy/community service/family values

HOW YOUR DONATION WILL HELP: As Greater Life services some of the most important, yet overlooked, individuals in the city of Newark, our hearts ache when our Street Outreach Specialists identify another child or teen on the streets, or when they walk through our open door at our community outreach center… with nowhere to go that they can call “home.”

As secret as it is kept, more and more youth are facing homelessness daily, yet are oftentimes overlooked for services because they may be “borrowing” a couch; sleeping from one home to another day-to-day or week-by –week, therefore not listed on city or school statistical data as homeless.

Greater Life has been enabled to immediately address their needs, although there is still much work to be done.

With your generosity…

  • You can help “Joanne” come off the streets, selling her body at 13 years old for food, because her mother died & she didn’t know where her father was
  • You can help 9 yr old “RaRay” get out of the gang life he doesn’t like, but was taught since a child
  • You can help “Jedah” reunite with his mom whose boyfriend was dealing drugs, and he ran away from home to our center for help
  • You can help “Lil Selena” whose father told her he wished she was never born!!!…and she wants to commit suicide

Your generosity can help us help hundreds more like these to not only survive, but thrive.

ADDITIONAL NEEDS: Volunteers are a valuable resource for servicing youth and families in areas of mentoring, homework assistance, camp counseling, painting and decorating, career day speakers, food pantry, recreation, field trips and college visits; overnight camping and more.

— Maria A. Westbrook, Greater Life Vice President of Administration and Finance


The Dodge Foundation is offering $1,000 challenge grants to each of the organizations featured in the Jersey Give-Back Guide. To be eligible, each organization must receive at least 50 donations through the Guide by December 31st. Help them reach their goal and get that extra $1,000!