NCC Targets Young Parents In New Class
By Eunice Lee
Young moms and dads can face a tough road as they learn to become parents, but Jacy Manuel wants them to hear this message: “Your life is not over.”
The message is just one of many topics covered in a new parenting program for young parents offered at NCC’s Family Resource Success Center in partnership with Anewme Women’s Alliance (read as “a new me”).
Manuel, a former NCC employee, founded the volunteer-led group in 2009.
The new program, called Strengthening Families with Anewme, offers Parenting Classes on June 5 and June 12 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. and a Youth Empowerment class on June 21 at the Family Resource Success Center located at 131-185 Bergen St. inside the Pathmark Shopping Center.
The classes target individuals ages 14 to 24. The program is the first ever parenting class designed for teens and young people offered at the Family Resource Success Center, according to Director Joann Williams-Swiney.
Chiana McPhaul, 19, says she has a simple reason for attending the classes. “I need help—all the help I can get,” said McPhaul, who moved from New York to New Jersey in December. She said she is raising her 3-monthold
son, Amir, by herself. McPhaul eventually wants to take classes to become a home health aide.
On a recent Thursday evening, McPhaul’s son quietly napped as his mother and a small group gathered around a table in the Resource Center as Manuel, also Anewme’s program director, gave an overview of the first parenting class. Each session is based on lessons found in the book “Active Parenting Now,” which covers practical topics such as bedtime routines, rewards and punishments and handling anger. The lessons are supplemented with an eight-part DVD series where parenting techniques are demonstrated. Meanwhile, the Youth Empowerment sessions address a broader set of topics including healthy relationships, safe sex, nutrition, financial literacy and domestic violence.
Williams-Swiney said she is excited for the Family Resource Success Center to offer services geared specifically towards young people through the partnership with Anewme.
“It’s something we’ve been needing for a long time,” Williams-Swiney said. “We need to bring the youth in.”
Parents Anonymous, a support group for parents, has met at the Resource Center for about three years, she
A longtime educator at Newark Public Schools, Manuel said she decided to partner with NCC largely due to
her past experience working with Williams-Swiney and the Resource Center staff. She said she decided to partner
with NCC largely due to her past experience working with Williams-Swiney and staff at the Resource Center.
“I love this center. I love what it does,” said Manuel, who worked at NCC from 1997 to 2001. She worked at the Essex County Workforce Investment Board before switching into the teaching professionManuel founded Anewme with the goal of bringing volunteers together to collaborate on community-based initiatives instead of recreating existing programs. Anewme currently operates as a volunteer-based group that
focuses on four major service projects annually, she said. Over the summer, Manuel plans to recruit youth for the
program’s fall semester starting in September.