PV Teen Center is Saved from Statewide Budget Cuts
17 November 2020
Due to proposed budget constraints in the New Jersey Department of Children and Families (DCF), the Passaic Valley Teen Center and Teen Centers throughout the state were recently at risk of being cut over the summer. However, due to the outstanding determination from school communities across the state, including Passaic Valley, the state was convinced to reverse their decision.
Due to annual budget renewals and the concern of funding shortages, the DCF was looking to cut funding for school youth based services, which includes the Teen Center.
Thankfully, before these budget cuts were passed, New Jersey Community Development Corporation Founder and CEO, Robert Guarasci, reached out to schools across the state to mobilize them to fight for their Teen Centers. “Saving the program was not an easy task. Everyone really pulled together to use their advocacy skills and display the effectiveness and importance of this program overall” said Ms. Giselle Javier, Mental Health Clinician with the Passaic Valley Teen Center. "A petition was created and signed by thousands of people throughout the state. State legislators and senators were contacted, virtual rallies were held...The program was not going down without a fight!”
Mr. Guarasci’s initiative received overwhelming support. PV Superintendent Dr.Cardillo, PV Teen Center staff, parents, and students joined the movement, and the budget cuts were fought off, rescuing the Teen Center.
The Teen Center at PV is an extremely beneficial resource for both the students and the community. “The Teen Center is truly a great compliment to any high school program” says Dr. Cardillo. “Our Teen Center is a fantastic resource that we use to support our students.”
The Teen Center helps PV clubs, partners with the Guidance Office, offers support to all students, and is an overall great asset for Passaic Valley. “The Teen Center is very beneficial because students need support now more than ever so it was very important to save” says Teen Center and School Based Youth Services Program Director, Ms. Kelly Carmichael. Especially during the pandemic and during such a mentally and emotionally straining time, “students need someone to be there to talk to them, listen to them, and help them cope. So to have a resource that can help navigate through these times is amazing and schools that have a teen center are very lucky as many schools do not have the privilege of having a program like this.”
While the Teen Center at PV is still navigating virtual learning, the staff is committed to finding interactive and engaging ways to reach out to students and get them involved. “I want students to know that WE are still HERE and are easily accessible,” says Ms. Javier. “The Teen Center has created a Google Classroom where we provide information on the topics previously mentioned. We also conduct Zoom sessions where we discuss various topics. These topics can be found in our monthly calendar that is shared with the PV community either on the PVHS website or via email.”
For more information about the Teen Center at PV please feel free to contact Director Ms. Kelly Carmichael at firstname.lastname@example.org