A Vision Becomes a Reality: Senator Cory Booker and Union County Freeholders commemorate grand opening of Rahway Family Success Center

United Way of Greater Union County provides Family Strengthening Services

Rahway, NJ, November 25, 2015 ~ Community Organizer, from Clover Health, Tahlia Welsh-Oliver, made her way to the new Rahway Family Success Center to drop off turkeys and help brighten several families’ Thanksgiving Day. “Tahlia is an example of how communities can come together to help others. Unfortunately, too many Union County families struggle to provide for their children and maintain what they have,” says James W. Horne, Jr., Pres./CEO of United Way of Greater Union County (UWGUC), “and our data shows that deepening poverty is linked to rising levels of homelessness, food insecurity and other issues. But we can come together to pool resources and solve these problems.”  Example of organizations coming together include Julianne Cherry, from Community Food Bank of New Jersey, who donated 54 roaster chickens for families and Karen Abdullah, Executive Vice President of Management of Family Intervention Services Inc, who donated 15 beautifully packaged bags filled with a turkey and other goods.

Impact data from UWGUC community needs assessment shows that children are largely affected by conditions associated with poverty.  As a result, UWGUC brought together resources and stakeholders to form the Focus On Families initiative and fund two new centers designed to help struggling families.  The Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders, and its Workforce Investment Board, along with private funding, have made strides which resulted in new programming and the establishment of the Hillside Family Success Center, which opened earlier this year, and now the new Rahway Family Success Center, the second center built by UWGUC.
Officials gathered to commemorate the opening of the Rahway Family Success Center, located inside the JFK Community Center, at 796 East Hazelwood Avenue in Rahway, NJ.
In attendance was Senator Cory Booker who stated, “The opening of this Family Success Center is another significant step towards helping the most vulnerable amongst us and an important investment in the Rahway community.” Sen. Booker continues by saying, “I was proud to see the Family Success Center model seeded in Newark when I served as Mayor as a means of shifting service delivery to a proactive system that offered families the resources and support they need before they encountered difficulties. It’s imperative we continue to support effective programs like this because when families succeed, our nation succeeds.”
The Center’s focus and goals are to serve families and, by doing so it will create a stronger Rahway community.  Certainly, with all that the Rahway Family Success Center will offer, prosperity for Rahway residents is no longer a notion, but rather, a reality. UWGUC has been on the forefront of social welfare by ensuring that services provided are suitable to the specific needs of Rahway families.  After surveying residents, and meeting and presenting data to a multitude of local officials, business owners and community leaders, the UWGUC has design a plan that best pools resources and serves families in need.
“When our families do well, the community thrives,” said Freeholder Chairman Mohamed S. Jalloh, who announced the program as part of his initiatives as Chairman for 2015. Freeholder Jalloh who also serves as a liaison to the WIB, further explained, “Our families must have the basics – jobs that provide enough income to support a decent standard of living, safe streets, effective schools, and affordable health care. This initiative creates a comprehensive partnership between private, non-profit and government sectors in Union County and leverages our effort in support of these goals.”
Also in attendance was Freeholder Vice Chairman Bruce Bergen along with fellow Freeholders Sergio Granados, Vernell Wright, Bette Jane Kowalski, and Christopher Hudak, as well as Union County Manager Al Faella, the Honorable Mayor Samson Steinman and the Honorable David Brown of the City of Rahway.
The Rahway Family Success Center will offer a customized menu of services to strengthen families in need including Adult Reading Literacy Workshops; Advocacy for Family Services; Assistance with applications for NJ Family Care, Food Stamp and other social services; Computer Training; Employment Assistance Workshops; Energy Assistance; Family Fun Nights; Health Services (i.e. distributing pharmacy discount cards, pregnancy testing, HIV discreet testing, maternal health outreach); Information Distribution and Referrals; Life Skills Training; Parent-Child Activities; Parent Education Support; Parent/Youth Advisory Council; Teen/Youth Mentoring; Teen Parent Support Services; Violence Prevention programming; and more.
For more information on these services, contact Denise LaSpata, Community Resource Coordinator, United Way of Greater Union County at 908.353.7171 Ext. 102 or email denise.laspata@uwguc.org.
Media liaison, please call Zoraya E. Lee-Hamlin at 973-332-4381 or email Zoraya@rayzo.com