MONTCLAIR, NJ – Reverend Craig Dunn, head of the Montclair Neighborhood Development Corporation (MNDC) and Councilman Peter Yacobellis announced an online fundraising effort Wednesday to raise revenue to revitalize and restore the Project Oasis summer program for youth. The fundraiser seeks to bring in at least $9,000 to help expand program curriculum and allow more young people to participate. Those funds would pay for two additional program coordinators and three student counselors as well as support curriculum development.
“Project Oasis is a program that is near and dear to me,” said Rev. Craig Dunn. “I began my affiliation with the Montclair Neighborhood Development Corporation when I was 10 years old. The summer program was an important part of my youth. Having played in the basketball league throughout high school and working in the program when I was in college, I can say that Project Oasis and MNDC has had a hand in shaping the man I am today. Growing up in the area around Glenfield Park, I know the impact the program has had on my peers who took advantage of what was offered. It is my desire to see the program expanded to transform young lives and lead them to a pathway to a brighter future.”
“As a Long Island kid, I used to participate in the Police Athletic League (PAL) summer camp program which helped me make friends, develop skills and keep me out of trouble (sometimes).”, said Councilman Yacobellis. “I think investing in enrichment programs for kids during the summer is one of the best investments any of us can make not just in these kids for their futures but for what their futures can mean to society in general. I think the return on investment is well worth it and I really hope people will help us raise these funds.”
Revitalizing and Restoring Project Oasis Summer Program
The value of out-of-school time is a key component to the success of students. The summer slide, the unstructured time, and the missed opportunities to engage in social learning experiences are concerns. With enrichment programs designed to support the increasing need of closing academic achievement gaps, it is critical to correlate the need to close the enrichment gap. Project Oasis is a program created out of the concern of the achievement gap between African American adolescence and their peers.
Project Oasis is a positive program designed to eliminate the achievement gap for students of color. Often, the achievement is not based simply on grasping presented material, but rather having a sense of focus and self-confidence that will allow one to believe they can grasp the material. The classes proposed will instill and develop a sense of self-worth, knowledge, and awareness that will demonstrate to the students, achievement, and success are attainable; they are a reality.
Project Oasis will offer the following main programming to meet the diverse needs of the students:
Mentorship: This session will focus on job preparedness, business planning, and economic development. Students will engage in mock interviews, learning how to build a business and manage finances.
Leadership Skills: This session will focus on building leaders, public speaking, and the art of communication. Students will engage in leadership training, develop proper communication skills, and develop public speaking skills.
Wellness: This session will focus on movement, healthy living, and health. Students will engage in mind-body wellness activities
Athletics: In years past, basketball has been the main draw, however, as interests change, we are expanding the offerings to include tennis and soccer. We will ensure that the athletic component is age appropriate and open to all Project Oasis participants.