Thursday, May 17, 2018

Poverty in Bergen County-- Young Leaders Perspective

College LEADS is a program for students to learn about local government and public policy. Students analyze community issues and develop new approaches to problem solving. The students take a deep look into a compelling issue. They look at the many facets of the issues figuring out where their generation can take a stand and make an impact.

During the 2017-2018 school year approximately 25 Bergen Community College (BCC) students under the leadership of Debbie Emery, BVC Advisor and Angie Goldszmidt, BCC Advisor participated in the program. The primary focus and challenge for this cohort of students was to look at the issue of poverty in Bergen County and its impact on different communities. Students were not only charged with proposing solutions to help alleviate the problem but also in educating the public about existing resources. In order to better make an assessment and understand the issues such as homelessness, transition from incarceration, low income health care and food insecurity, interactive site visits were planned to organizations such as:
  •  Bergen County Housing, Health and Human Services for Families/Individuals 
  •  CFA Food Pantry at BCC 
  •  Bergen Volunteer Medical Initiative 
  •  MEVO Fresh Roots Farm 
  •  Bergen County Jail 
  •  Bergen County Law and Safety Complex 
  •  Transition Professionals 
  •  Ramapough Lenape Nation 
  •  Municipal Government – Village of Ridgewood 
  •  Family Promise of Bergen County 
These visits resulted in the students taking actions such as doing a food pantry drive for the Center for Food Action (CFA) located at Bergen Community College with advertisements for this CFA as 60% of the students were unaware of this on-campus resource. Others were motivated to help by volunteering at some of the organizations visited during the semester. A formal presentation of their findings was presented at their culminating activity on April 26, 2018. To read more about their full report, click here.

Thank you to all of our future leaders who participated in this year’s College Leads program. We wish you much success in your future academic and professional endeavors.

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