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Local Student Launches First Student United Way in New Jersey

Sussex County Community College student rallies peers to LIVE UNITED

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For many students, packed class schedules and part-time jobs can make finding extra time to volunteer almost impossible.  But for Sussex County Community College student Ivan Gonzalez, giving back to the community has become top priority.

Ivan first got involved when he attended the United Way Alternative Spring Break program in Newark last spring.  He and seven students from across the country volunteered their spring break to work with local children in the after-school program at the Boys and Girls Club of Newark

Fueled by his weeklong volunteer experience in Newark, Ivan returned home determined to make a difference for people in his local community.  And Student United Way at Sussex County Community College was born!

“There are people who need help everywhere.  And there are students here in Sussex County who need tutors,” said Ivan.  “I wanted to establish a Student United Way on campus to provide assistance to residents in Newton and beyond.  I want to create an impact in our area any way I can.”

Students advance the common good

Ivan has rallied his peers to join the cause, working together to plan fundraising events to support United Way’s local work to address the barriers that prevent residents from attaining a quality education, enough income to afford the basics, and optimal health.

To start, the group is conducting a book drive for elementary school children.  They are also working with other groups on campus to hold a food drive for local community members in need.

The group knows they will need even more students to create change and they are working fast and furious to recruit others.  “We currently have 14 members, but we want to triple that number by the end of this semester,” said Ivan.  “The more students who join Student United Way, the more help we can provide to others.”

Students plan for the future

Ivan and his peers have no shortage of ideas on how they can help others.  Looking ahead, Student United Way hopes to raise money to help local high schools obtain computers and other much-needed supplies.  These student volunteers also want to help maintain Sussex County scenic areas and attractions.

The group also hopes to collaborate with other Student United Ways from across the country.  “We want to learn what projects have been successful at other campuses and how we can best raise awareness about our work.  We really want to promote the important work of United Way and gain exposure for Student United Way as a whole,” said Ivan.

Calling all students!  Start a Student United Way on your campus.

Young people across the country are helping to improve their local communities by giving, advocating, and volunteering on behalf of United Way. 

“Student United Ways currently exist on more than 60 campuses across the United States,” said Mary Emilius, Chief Professional Officer of our Sussex County office.  “We are excited to add New Jersey to this roster!  I am so proud of our local students for starting the first Student United Way right here in our Sussex community.  I look forward to working with them along the way.”

For more information on Student United Way, email Sean Hyland or call 973.579.3040.

Click here to learn how to start a Student United Way on your campus.

Calling all community members!  Help send a local college student to United Way Alternative Spring Break.

Every year, United Way of Northern New Jersey teams up with United Way of Essex and West Hudson to recruit college students to volunteer during their spring breaks for the greater good.

This weeklong volunteer program helps ALICE and families living in poverty, including those affected by Hurricane Sandy.  Despite being employed, these families cannot afford basic necessities.  And they are certainly not equipped to weather a crisis like Hurricane Sandy.

Ivan, his Student United Way team, and college students from across the country are traveling to Newark this month to work with local students.  They will also deploy to Jersey Shore’s most affected areas to lend a hand in recovery efforts.

These students need your help!  Click here to make a gift to their fundraising efforts.

To learn more about United Way Alternative Spring Break, click here.

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