SADDLE BROOK, N.J. – In their years at Saddle Brook High School, students Ryan Cali, Jaelene Palao and Sean Roberts have been involved in all types of activities.
But nothing quite like their latest.
The trio are members of the school’s new Community Partnership Club – a branch of a township-wide initiative aimed at linking vulnerable residents in need of assistance with volunteers and resources.
“I have been living in Saddle Brook for almost 18 years and there is stuff I want to do in the community that I haven’t gotten a chance to do yet. I want to make an impact,” said Cali, the club’s CEO.
Palao said the club will allow her to branch out. “I know I can experience things outside and help those outside of the school instead of just students.”
Club members are in the midst of planning two projects to benefit the community.
They are putting on a STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) festival on the school’s football field in June for 6th graders, some older students and senior citizens.
“There are about 20 different events for the kids, and we have about five different events for the seniors,” said teacher Howard Weinberg, the club’s adviser and coordinator for the township-wide Community Partnership initiative.
The students are also working to create a community garden.
“The garden itself screams community, because it is more than one person interacting to maintain it,” said Roberts, a senior heading up the project.
And club members are eager to pitch in wherever else they can.
Cali said members especially want to connect with senior citizens. “We feel like it is hard for them to get out of the house and ask someone to shovel their driveway when it snows, or mow their lawn," he said. "If they need something done like that, they can call one of us in the group to do it for them.”
“This age group loves to be involved in the community,” said Rev. Christopher Wolf of the First Reformed Church, who co-founded the township-wide initiative with Mayor Robert White. “Essentially, all Howard had to say was, ‘Would you like to help the community?’ and he’s got 60 students.”
For more information on the Community Partnership click HERE or call the dedicated hotline at 201-587-2912.