More Than Just A Meal – Making a Connection!

NJHI 2017: Next Generation Community Leaders Next Gen Leaders
“Doodle” presents Coach Josue with a gift.

The Next Generation Community Leaders program has become a very successful youth team that helps empower its community. Bridgeton’s group is well-known for our successful youth feeding sites. Every day in July, we visited six feeding sites and not only served the children meals, but laughed, played and socialized with them. The kids we served became attached to our team members, and we became their friends and role models. Some of the children brought gifts to give to our teammates. As an example, one child in our community brought a toy to our coach Josue. We now keep it in our office as a reminder that they appreciated what we did. Through these exchanges, the Next Gen Cohort 2 Leaders have learned how to lead, socialize, and take part in an incredible program that uplifts not only our leaders, but the community.

Youth who joined us at our Greater Family Success Center feeding site.

Moreover, the Next Generation Community Leaders program has had a positive effect not only on the children we served, but has also helped our team develop in various ways. Before joining this group, many of us would not have had much to do this summer. That also goes for me – if not for this program, I would have sat home every single day — probably looking at my cell phone. This program helped me see that there are others who do not get the same opportunities I do, but they never give up.

Some children at our feeding site often did not get a meal until we arrived. We are happy they came to meet us. If it were possible, many of us would choose to do this year-round.

In addition, parents helped us serve their children a healthy meal.

Connect with the Bridgeton Next Generation Community Leaders alumni on Facebook. Track all of the Next Generation Community Leaders teams through the hashtag #NJLeaders2030.

The Grantee Blog regularly publishes updates from NJHI-supported communities. Bookmark this site to stay up-to-date and share in the work of building healthier communities across New Jersey.
Joanna Trenado
Tri-County Community Action Agency, Inc.