Tri-County Community Action Agency (d/b/a Gateway Community Action Partnership) is leading this three-year project, in which a total of 30 youth from Bridgeton, ages 14-21, are receiving guidance from trained community-based coaches, to better understand topics around population health, develop leadership skills, and implement self-designed projects to make their communities healthier. By the end of this project, the youth participants will have the skills, knowledge, and confidence to work with municipal governments, cross-sector coalitions focused on health, school boards, and other organizations to build healthier and more vibrant communities. The youth will also participate in a statewide alumni network to stay connected to their peers as they continue on their leadership paths and move into the next phases of their lives. To advance this work in Bridgeton, Gateway is partnering with the Mayor and City Council, Head Start, Family Success Center, the school district and other community service providers to ensure Bridgeton’s youth are prepared to be the next leaders by making their community the healthiest possible. These Bridgeton youth represent one of 10 New Jersey communities supported by the NJHI: Next Generation Community Leaders initiative.
In the first grant year, a team of Bridgeton youth worked to address summer hunger and increase the percentage of youth receiving meals through the USDA Summer Food Service Program. In Summer 2018, the team operated a mobile feeding site and served community members at Johnson Reeves Playground and other locations. In Summer 2019, a new youth team worked to improve access to available services that support family health and well-being by connecting eligible households with supports such as the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). Follow the team on Facebook, plus
Hear alumni from the first-year Next Generation Community Leaders teams reflect on their work, the value of meaningful experiences and authentic adult-youth partnerships, and share new insights that developed a broader perspective.
View recommendations from this initiative:
Atkins, B. and Hart, D. Principles for Engaging Youth as Partners to Build Healthier Communities. Grantmakers in Health – Views from the Field. January 28, 2020.
Follow the latest news coverage regarding NJHI: Next Generation Community Leaders:
Building up a New Jersey Community through Food and Service
Fox 29/ Anderson, Bill. (2018, July 17).
NJ Spotlight. (2017, July 12).
SNJ Today. (2017, July 12).
Press of Atlantic City. (2017, July 12).