Faith In What Lies Ahead: A Look Back At 2016

There was a lot that happened at New Community in 2016…so much, in fact, that it’s worth a moment to take a look back on the progress made to help residents of inner cities improve the quality of their lives to reflect individual God-given dignity and personal achievement.

The upcoming year of 2018 marks New Community’s 50th anniversary since its founding in 1968, the year following the aftermath of the Newark uprising, which devastated the city’s Central Ward. New Community has never lost sight of its mission, which traces back to its earliest days. As historians often say, in order to know where we’re going, we need to know where we have been. The following recaps some of the main highlights of last year:

January: Senior residents of New Community honored the legacy of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. by raising funds to provide New Community resident Sonnie Sorsor, a senior at Newark’s Arts High, with a scholarship towards her postsecondary education at the 32nd Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Scholarship Dinner.

February: New Community officially opened a Financial Opportunity Center at 274 South Orange Ave. in Newark as part of a collaboration between NCC, Greater Newark LISC and the Urban League of Essex County. The FOC provides comprehensive services to low and moderate income families in an integrated service model approach that provides financial literacy, access to public benefits and employment services. The FOC works hand-in-hand with both NCC’s Workforce Development Center and Federal Credit Union.

March: New Community Extended Care resident Edna Van Dunk was honored with ceremonial proclamations from both Mayor Ras Baraka and the city council on her 100th birthday on March 23. Students from the New Jersey Institute of Technology volunteered in the classrooms of Community Hills Early Learning Center for alternative spring break.

April: New Community Extended Care Facility earned an overall five-star rating from, the highest possible score for a nursing home. The five-star rating was based on quality measures, staffing and health inspections. The New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency held its board meeting at St. Joseph Plaza, NCC’s headquarters, as part of its tour of housing and economic development in Newark.

May: New Jersey Performing Arts Center brought imagination and creativity into the classrooms at Community Hills Early Learning Center with its Early Learning Through the Arts program, which uses arts-integrated tools to make lessons come alive.

June: Founder Monsignor William J. Linder celebrated his 80th birthday surrounded by family, friends, employees and associates at a festive affair on June 5 at St. Joseph Plaza. New Community hosted its 22nd Annual Golfing For A Cause at the Montclair Golf Club, where three clients shared testimonials of how services such as Harmony House and the Workforce Development Center placed them on a path towards self-sufficiency.

July: The Family Service Bureau of Newark, an affiliate of New Community, launched a partnership with the Workforce Development Center to provide counseling and intervention services to students in NCC’s job training and employment services.

August: More than 150 young people from across the globe convened at New Community for a cultural exchange with local teens and to learn about social entrepreneurship. The Workforce Development Center partnered with Port of Newark employer Foreign Auto Preparation Service to hire successful graduates from NCC’s Ford Automotive Training Program.

September: Monsignor Linder and CEO Richard Rohrman joined with Newark Mayor Ras Baraka and a host of dignitaries and project funders to officially break ground on A Better Life, NCC’s first permanent supportive housing project, on September 28. New Community also hosted its annual Parade and Family Festival, which paid tribute to Newark’s 350th anniversary.

October: Monsignor Linder released his memoir, “Out of the Ashes Came Hope,” a 197-page book that captures his personal backstory as well as the behind-the-scenes efforts that went into building New Community into one of the most comprehensive community development corporations in the nation.

November: Project Green Thumb reported the impact that NCC has each month on people’s lives: 42,000 touches a month. Monsignor Linder was honored with the Humanitarian Award from the Circle of Life Children’s Center, founded by Dr. Jim Oleske, a pioneer in the field of pediatric AIDS treatment.

December: University Hospital CEO John Kastanis met CEO Richard Rohrman at Harmony House and served a holiday meal to residents of the transitional housing facility for the homeless. Youth Services organized a Youth Empowerment Summit that discussed topics such as police interaction with the community and choices and consequences.

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