All posts by Pamela Daniels

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Pinelands Adventure: A Journey Through the Woods

By: Ny’Janah Pride

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On July 28, 2016, a group of youth interns from the UVSO Teen Center Youth leadership Corp took a field trip to Pinelands Adventure. Pinelands Adventure is located in the Pine Barrens in South Jersey, a very wooded and sandy haven filled with fresh air and sandy roads. It is said to be a preserved area because of the clean water that is located underground among the bedrock. The water is filtered underground and residents tap into it through wells in their homes or on their properties. This is also how farming is successful for many people in the Pine Barrens. Wells also feed irrigation systems. Mr. John Volpa, our tour guide also educated us on the different types of soil found there, and how plants can only survive if they can naturally access water aquifers underground. Trees, blueberry’s, pinecones and mushrooms do very well there. The endless bugs seemed to do well too.

We also took a hike through the Pineland woods. During the hike, we analyzed the different types of plants and fruits that naturally grow wild. Along the tour, Mr. John gave trivia questions, and for each question answered correctly, we earned a fruit snack. The last thing we experienced in the woods was canoeing.  It was difficult at first, but towards the end, everyone got the hang of it. The trip was a great experience and very educational. Personally, I enjoyed myself even though there was a myriad of bugs. I was afraid to canoe at first because my group and I kept getting stuck in the bushes, but Mr. John helped us back to shore. I gained a lot of knowledge on this adventure and recommend that other youth groups explore the woods too!

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Schooled At Ivy Hill Park

By Kamieha Greene

On Wednesday, July 27, 2016, the UVSO Department Community Outreach & Planning (DCOP) team took a trip up to Ivy Hill Park. We were not exactly sure why we were there. We were only told that the DCOP Outreach Coordinator, Pamela Daniels was being interviewed. When we arrived, we met Carolyn Jones and her team from 100 People Foundation. She and her camera crew were filming Ms. Pam (as we call her) as part of a special Newark Celebration 350 project called “100 People of Newark.” What we also did not know was that as Ms. Pam’s interns, we would be part of a photo shoot too! So for the first fifteen minutes we were really “on location” at Ivy Hill Park taking shot after shot until the 100 People Foundation had what they needed. After the lavish shoot, Ms. Jones sat with Ms. Pam and began the interview. She was asked questions like, “How did you come to work at UVSO?” and “How do you want your work to be remembered?” and “What do you want millennials to know about community development work?”

After viewing Ms. Pam’s experience, I learned that hard work leads to recognition both personal and also for your organization. I learned that even though African-American women face a lot of odds, they can beat them by working hard. I learned that it only takes one fish to create a ponds-worth of success. This was an experience I can never forget. I look forward to the finished project, which is slated for the end of the year.

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Green Coalition Puts Newark First

By: Nia Alexander

On Tuesday, July 26, 2016, the UVSO Department of Community Outreach & Planning (DCOP) attended the monthly Newark DIG meeting at Newark City Hall. Newark DIG stands for Newark is Doing Infrastructure Green. Newark DIG is a partnership with Rutgers Cooperative Extension Water Resources Program, The Trust for Public Land, Greater Newark Conservancy, NY/NJ BayKeeper, New Jersey Tree Foundation, Unified Vailsburg Services Organization, Ironbound Community Corporation, Clean Water Action, Passaic Valley Sewerage Commission, and many other community organizations tworking together to help keep Newark’s infrastructure up to code with the NJ Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Each organization at the table wants to make Newark a healthier and greener city.

This meeting was filled with representatives from different organizations. During the meeting, Ms. Pam brought up a situation that occurred on July 14, 2016. Heart Of Vailsburg (HOV) residents were witnessing Lindsley Grocery, a store located on Brookdale Avenue and Lindsley Place pour hot grease from the store into the sewer drain. That is obviously a problem. The sewer drain can get backed up and effect everything from unsanitary water to blockage in the pipelines. This is when the coalition comes in handy. All the different organizations at the table came together to try and solve the issue. The City of Newark Engineering Department representative pledged to follow-up with Code Enforcement to see if they had received the HOV letter explaining the issue and if actions were taken. The representative from the Passaic Valley Sewerage Commission shared an enforcement department website and phone number where issues like that can be reported and that department is most likely to follow-up more quickly than the City since they have the DEP an EPA power to do so. The Newark DIG Chairperson also encouraged the coalition that if they have any similar stories, they should share it with her so the issue can be shared with the whole committee.

Toxic liquid waste added into the water system can lead to combined sewer overflow more quickly whether there is a lot of rain or not. It can also cause everything to become backed up in communities, which we see throughout Newark when heavy rainfall occurs. While listening to this meeting there were many interesting things talked about and many great solutions mentioned. These organizations come up with different plans to help keep Newark’s water, pipes, and environment safe and clean for Newark’s residents.

 

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Ready Or Not: Preparing Seniors For the Next Emergency

By: Jenia Jones

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We all remember Hurricane Sandy and how many were not prepared for it. How many cases of water did you have on hand? Did you have batteries? A flashlight? Jewish Family Services of Metrowest New Jersey, Senior Corps RSVP, PSEG and UVSO partnered for an event to create over 1,000 emergency supply bags for the senior citizen community of Newark. The event was held at the UVSO Teen Center on Thursday, July 21, 2016, and kicked off with opening remarks Councilman Joseph McCallum.

“Most people are not prepared for disasters even when they think they are,” said David Morgan the guest speaker from Safety First who provides disaster preparedness training for EMT’s and other community entities.

The items in each of the bags are a glimpse into what is needed to be SAFE and PREPARED in a disastrous storm or other emergency scenario. The kits included water bottles to stay hydrated, hand sanitizer in case water turns brown or becomes contaminated in another way, flashlights in case power goes out, a can opener for non-perishable items, first aid kit, and a survival blanket.

What made the effort even better is the fact that the senior community created the bags themselves. The partners were helping the seniors, but the seniors were helping the organizers too. That’s always a good fit. By the end of the day – two shifts later, nearly 1200 kits were complete reaching the partnership’s goal.

The bags will be distributed throughout the city of Newark over the next several weeks. If you know a senior age 60 and over who could use an emergency kit, contact Debra Friday, Senior Services Manager at UVSO via 973.374.2000 x. 1401 or dfriday@uvso.org. Don’t forget to check out the UVSO Senior Center on Facebook!

 

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Check out the full album from the Disaster Preparedness Day on Facebook!

Outreach Intern Discovers Photographer’s ‘Tude

By: Jenia Jones

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For the first time, I got to experience the UVSO campus from the lens of a photographer. With all honesty, I can say that the job was not easy, but it was because I got to experience the life of three and four-year-olds old enjoying the summer heat. On my journey, I saw a lot of fascinating activities like water fights, garden planting, and a large amount of hyper children. From time to time I say to myself that I would enjoy the luxury of having a younger sibling.

Spending a day shooting these little gals and guys makes me feel like my dream has finally come true – a little. I remember the first day I was assigned to taking photos of the Vailsburg Child Development Center (VCDC) children. It was July 14th and was part of the UVSO effort to participate in the National Summer Learning Day #SummertimeNewark campaign. On that day, I took photos at the VCDC Smith Street day care in the middle of their water fight. My goodness, I didn’t know if I should have been more concerned with getting the shot or saving my clothes from being drenched. All that changed when a little girl came up to me and said to me, “It’s summer time! Get wet and have fun!” After that little voice of wisdom, I just felt like there was no way I couldn’t enjoy this assignment or the rest of my summer shoots.Overall, I believe that the key to a great summer for me is having the right attitude. Just knowing that all my little brothers and sisters are enjoying their summer is enough to keep a smile on my face. I hope that through my taking these photos and sharing them with the community, I can help you feel the same way. #SummertimeNewark

Overall, I believe that the key to a great summer for me is having the right attitude. Just knowing that all my little brothers and sisters are enjoying their summer is enough to keep a smile on my face. I hope that through my taking these photos and sharing them with the community, I can help you feel the same way. #SummertimeNewark