The Maplewood and South Orange non-profit formerly known as the HK Community Fund has officially changed its name to the HK Project (HKP), effective today, October 1.
The organization was founded in 2009 by Maplewood resident Thomas E. Kerns to encourage residents to become involved in their community through a wide variety of projects and opportunities.
"When you love your community you have a sense of belonging," said HKP executive director Amy Jo Curran. She explained that the name change reflects that the organization is "a working project and we are continually growing."
According to its new official mission statement, HK Project provides a framework for public service, charity, education, and arts and cultural enrichment for the Maplewood and South Orange area.
HKP works within the community in several key ways:
- Presents local theatre, arts and cultural events, many through a partnership with the arts organization Studio B.
- Connects local teens to groups in need of volunteers, including the Interfaith Hospitality Network, local churches and events such as Maplewoodstock ("We had 68 volunteers for that this year," said Curran).
- Provides free and low-cost educational workshops and classes to teens and adults. One such effort was a highly successful series of SAT prep classes for low-income Columbia High School students. "It helps to level the playing field," said Curran.
In addition, through the HK Cares initiative, HKP coordinates fundraising drives that have raised over $200,000 for local residents including Cheryl Galante, the family of and Ryan Burbank, a young man paralyzed in a pool accident.
"HK Cares is a catalyst for community involvement," said Curran, "and the community has been really responsive."
(HKP is sponsoring "Ryan's Hope," a fundraiser on November 17 at the Woman's Club to assist the Burbank family for Ryan's care. To donate raffle items such as merchandise, gift certificates, sporting/concert tickets or services, email Vic DeLuca (email@example.com) or call Janey De Luca at 973-378-8906. Patch will have more information about the event in an upcoming article.)
HKP will officially unveil its new name and logo at the first annual HK Project Celebration on Saturday, Oct. 27 at the Maplewood Woman’s Club. The event will honor local residents and business owners Mary and Angelo Vayas, Chris Dickson and David Wagner of Rent Party Pantry, Inc. and Tony Mazzocchi, Director of Fine and Performing Arts K-12, SOMA School District.
For more information on the organization, its programs and the celebration, visit the HKP website.