“Whether they’re attending college or joining our military, we want to support the next generation of Newark leaders by providing these graduating seniors with some essentials for their next chapter in life.One of those essentials is a voter registration form, because elections matter to our community and we want to empower our young leaders to use their voice to vote not just in the upcoming presidential election, but in all local races as well.”
That’s Shennell McCloud, the indomitable force behind Project Ready, a Newark-based nonprofit working to empower and activate city residents to take civic action. Project Ready’s first initiative was to get 1,000 Newarkers, mostly women of color, to register to vote by mail. (See here for coverage.) Project Ready’s second initiative, currently in the works — it will wrap up Friday — is to present care packages for the more than 1,000 graduating seniors of district and charter schools who will be attending college or joining the military next year.
Last Saturday Shennell, Project Ready staff, and over 100 community volunteers attended a “Pack & Give” event to prepare over 1,000 care baskets, which hold useful items like a laundry bags, dry erase boards, dish detergents, and, of course, voter registration forms and vote-by-mail applications. These baskets will be or have already been delivered to Great Oaks Legacy Charter High School, People’s Prep, KIPP NJ, and Marion P Thomas High School of Culinary and Performing Arts. On Friday the project will culminate with distribution at traditional district high schools.
“We’re proud to support our graduating seniors no matter where they attended high school – from traditional public to charter public and magnet schools, and more,” added McCloud. “What I hear from parents is that they don’t care about the name above the door; they care about whether their child’s school is a good one. That’s why everything we do is based on the vision that Newark’s families are ready to lead Newark to a better place for everyone.”
Project Ready is already embarking on further initiatives, including training “Ready to Lead” fellows as Newark’s next generation of leaders and preparing for the fourth annual New Jersey Parent Summit that will take place August 2nd-4th in New Brunswick. Enjoy the photos!