News

NJ Teens Learn Job Skills, Get Professional Development at the Nabe

Morristown Neighborhood House: A line of 5 teen award-winners hold award plaques.

Many afternoons, kids at Morristown High School in Morristown, New Jersey, walk over to Morristown Neighborhood House, affectionately known as Nabe.

The four-story brick structure is a home away from home to many kids. There’s basketball in the gym, karate class and guitar and violin lessons.

There’s also a two-pronged professional development program for teens. It offers them a job working with younger kids as well as formal workforce training through local professionals.

Each year six teenage applicants are chosen to work in the Nabe elementary after-school program as tutors and mentors. They undergo regular staff training and work 15 hours a week.

At the outset the teens “may not typically be your ideal candidates,” said Jackie Looby, director of volunteer services at Cornerstone Family Programs & Morristown Neighborhood House. “They need some polishing up.”

But the adult staff members “take these kids under their wing,” she said.

The younger kids gravitate to the teen helpers and look up to them, Looby said. The younger kids revel in the extra attention.

“It’s really a win-win for everybody,” she said.

Equally important for the teenagers is the direct professional development they receive. In workshops, they learn how to write resumes, handle interviews and manage a paycheck.

Community businesses that partner with Morristown Neighborhood House come in to teach the kids financial literacy. Bankers, lawyers and architects volunteer their time.

As the teens connect with professionals in the community, they gain the skills that help them navigate the workforce.

At the end of the school year, the teens are placed in summer internships that range from working in a local law firm to a hospital neonatal unit.

A young woman with long black hair and glasses smiles, working with a little girl with a brown ponytail as they sit at table with pencil and book.

Each year six teenage applicants are chosen to work in the Morristown Neighborhood House elementary after-school program as tutors and mentors. Both the teens and younger kids benefit from the program.

“It’s amazing to see them change,” Looby said.

Six additional teens are hired during the summer to work as counselors in the Nabe summer camp. They also attend workshops that teach professional skills. During the school year, Morristown Neighborhood House offers a college prep program preparing students for the SAT and ACT.

Roots in the past

Morristown Neighborhood House began as a settlement house in 1898. “It was always friendly and welcoming to immigrants,” said David Haggerty, director of the neighborhood center.

At the start it served a largely Italian population. Later, the neighborhood became predominantly African American and today is mainly Hispanic, including many Honduran Americans.

The town of 19,000 may appear to be relatively affluent.

“Everybody thinks everybody is well-to-do here, but there’s an extremely large number of families under the poverty line,” Haggerty said.

The neighborhood house itself suffered a decline and in 2013 merged with Cornerstone Family Services, a nonprofit with a variety of community services.

The combined organization serves all ages, from a preschool program to a senior adult day center. The K-5 after-school program serves 175 kids a day.

The Neighborhood House provides adult recreation, including a soccer league with 450 participants, and classes including GED preparation and English as a foreign language.

Services for military veterans include counseling and Operation Sisterhood, which supports and advocates for female veterans.

Comments

Youth Today is the only independent, internationally distributed digital media publication that is read by thousands of professionals in the youth service field.

Youth Today adheres to high-quality journalistic standards, providing readers with professional news coverage dedicated to examining a wide spectrum of complex issues in the youth services industry from legislation to community-based youth work.

EDITORIAL INDEPENDENCE

Our organization retains full authority over editorial content to protect the best journalistic and business interests of our organization. We maintain a firewall between news coverage decisions and sources of all revenue.

DONORS & DONOR TRANSPARENCY

We are committed to transparency in every aspect of funding our organization. Donors may be quoted, mentioned or featured in our stories. Our news judgments are made independently – not based on or influenced by donors. Accepting financial support does not mean we endorse donors or their products, services or opinions…(read more)

Recent Comments

Archives

Categories

Search

Kennesaw State University Mountain Logo & Ceneter for Sustainable Journalism Logo
LOGO Institute for Nonprofit News 3 turquoise boxes stacked in "J" shape

Copyright © 2018 Youth Today and MVP Themes --- Published by Center for Sustainable Journalism,
Kennesaw State University, 1200 Chastain Blvd. Suite 310, Kennesaw GA 30144

To Top