The Project Coordinator Fellowship (PCF) program works tirelessly to close the opportunity gap of low to moderate income Essex County young adults between the ages of 16-24. The PCF program aims to enhance professional development and reduce youth unemployment for young people who live in and around Newark. Read on to hear the experience of one of the 150 fellows who benefit from the PCF program each year.
Jonhatan Blaise is currently a senior at Caldwell University studying towards his bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice. When not attending classes or working in the University’s mailroom, Jonhatan is also a member of Circle K Caldwell Chapter and was inducted into the National Honor Society for Leadership and Success in Spring of 2017.
Jonhatan spent his PCF internship with Newark Community Solutions (NCS), an organization that works to provide Judges in Newark’s municipal courthouse with a variety of sentencing options for low-level, non-violent offences. NCS aims to limit the reliance on prison sentences and fines for these offences, instead focusing on community service and other productive sentencing options. When asked about his time with NCS, Jonhatan stated:
My time at NCS has not only been eye opening but also a great pleasure. The group sessions that they run every so often are really engaging. In the group sessions, we chat and have conversations with the clients, making them feel welcome. In the sessions we also talk about life and its struggles, while sharing experiences and tips.
Jonhatan went on to describe the countless skills that he has gained throughout his time in Jersey Care’s PCF program as well as his internship with NCS. From administering intakes of new clients, finding out what their needs were, to having the opportunity to watch a court session on his first day, Jonhatan learned valuable lessons and gained skills that will carry over to his future career in the Criminal Justice system. When discussing the skills he learned from the NCS team, Jonhatan remarked that:
At NCS I learned what it means to have and give your trust, integrity, and respect to others. Loving your neighbor as yourself and serving them; showing empathy, compassion, and an ear to listen to. I also learned the value of wanting those around you to be successful in life despite their setbacks from mistakes, and ultimately motivating them to overcome all limitations and rising above their circumstances.
PCF experiences such as Jonhatan’s could not be possible without the support and mentorship of individuals like you! If you’re interested in getting involved in the Project Coordinator Fellowship program, as either a fellow, sponsor, or leader, click here to learn more.