By Katherine Angulo
Latasia Anderson is currently a volunteer at New Community Youth Services Summer Camp, a place where everyone is valued and welcomed. Born and raised in Newark, Anderson is the third oldest out of four siblings, with an older brother who is 21, a younger brother, 5, and a newborn sister who is 11 months old. Anderson said she likes to help her mother, who works as a Cablevision operator, and in her free time volunteers at the New Community Youth Services Summer Camp, where Anderson works with 9-year-old campers.
Out of all the things Anderson could be doing this summer, why did she choose to be here? Most of her free time is doing nothing, really, she said, so she loves being at the camp.
“This place just welcomes you with open arms,” said Anderson, who began attending NCC’s summer camp upon completing kindergarten.
Anderson, 14, knows that her future plans will include applying to college and therefore also need to include volunteer activities. But Anderson is not only interested in the camp just for the college applications process, but more importantly because she just enjoys being with kids, she said. Looking forward, Anderson’s career goal is to become a lawyer and she knows that every step she takes now will eventually lead her to her goal. She’s practicing being a leader at the summer camp in preparation for her future dreams.
Alicia Tucker has participated in the camp for two years and was one of the campers under Anderson’s guidance this summer.
“She plays and dances with us…she’s funny and she’s fun,” Tucker, 9, said. Anderson enjoys interacting with the campers and doesn’t simply keep to herself, according to Tucker.
Edward Morris, the director of Youth Services, has known Anderson since she began attending camp nearly a decade ago.
Morris praises Anderson’s leadership skills and said that she has contributed greatly to the program. He said he even considers Anderson to be like his “daughter to a degree.”
For Anderson, being around other campers and helping as a volunteer makes her feel right at home. “It’s like a family,” she said.
It’s great that there are kids out there in Newark, like Anderson, who are aiding their community and brightening their future.