When it comes to Roberta Ezike of Newark, Northwestern and Cornell’s loss is Wellesley’s gain. The same can be said for all of the institutions of higher learning and opportunity who were on the lists of hopeful Newark High School interns participating in Greater Newark Conservancy’s Newark Youth Leadership Project (NYLP).
In addition to Ezike’s impressive list of school acceptances, other NYLP interns waiting anxiously for word along with other high school seniors statewide got the news they hoped for. Danny Rodriguez was accepted at Montclair State University. Brandon Johnson is going to Bloomfield College. Nasir Preston is joining the Air Force. Aniyyah Maney will attend The College of New Jersey (TCNJ).
Nearly 800 Newark high school students have participated in the NYLP program since its inception 15 years ago. Program graduates have gone on to excel in college and in the business world. Program Coordinator Emmanuela Mujica believes this year’s interns will find similar success.
"The Newark Youth Leadership
Project aims to guide high school interns toward college and later into
meaningful careers,” Mujica noted. Greater Newark Conservancy serves as a haven
for these students, many of whom don't receive support in their schools or
homes to pursue academic careers. As the program coordinator, I work with
interns one-on-one to encourage character strengths, to keep up their grades,
and to apply for scholarships. We've been providing free SAT prep sessions for
the sophomores and juniors. I write a lot of recommendation letters and give
hefty pep talks and it all pays off when these students achieve what they've
set out to do."
A year-round program, NYLP helps
Newark high school students get a head start on their future through job
training experience, leadership development, exposure to different career
options in environmental and horticultural fields and opportunities for
pursuing a college education. Student participants are major contributors
working at the Conservancy’s urban farms and farm stands, which provide unique
experiences and challenges for inner-city youth.
A senior at University High
School, Aniyyah Maney applied to 15 different colleges and universities, including
11 in New Jersey. She chose TCNJ because it “felt like home” when she visited
the Ewing campus. She found the environment welcoming, was impressed by the
dorms, the library and the gym, and looks forward to studying business
management and finance. She also credits involvement in the NYLP program for
helping overcome her shyness and providing the confidence to succeed. Working
at the farm stands and interacting with people from her community teaching
awareness of the importance of good nutrition was her favorite part of the
“I really appreciated the
support and encouragement from the other interns and the Conservancy staff who
helped set the bar high,” added Maney. “Their feedback and input has been
helpful and positive throughout the application process.”
those interested in supporting the Newark Youth Leadership Project, the
Conservancy will host its City Bloom Spring Gala benefiting NYLP on May 15th
at the Community Food Bank of New Jersey in Hillside.
program creates opportunities for Newark high school students to prepare for a
brighter future and every gala ticket sold means more can be a part of it,”
noted the Conservancy’s Executive Director, Robin Dougherty. “In turn, NYLP participants play an integral
role in our expanding urban farming and tree farming initiatives that are
producing thousands of pounds of healthy and nutritious produce and growing
trees that will enhance Newark’s tree canopy and contribute to a greener and
Founded in 1987, Greater Newark Conservancy’s mission is to promote environmental stewardship to improve the quality of life in New Jersey’s urban communities through environmental education, community gardening, beautification of neighborhoods, job training and environmental justice.
For more information,
including volunteer opportunities or to make a donation to support NYLP and
other programs and services provided by Greater Newark Conservancy, visit CityBloom.org.
You can also follow news from the Conservancy through social media at Facebook.com/GreaterNewarkConservancy
and Twitter at @Citybloom87.