Atlantic County Coalition for a Safe Community had another successful year in 2018, which included continued expansion in Egg Harbor City and Galloway Township. Our partners in EHC conducted another “fruitful” year with their Farm to Fork Program, sponsored by AtlantiCare, and held their first Festival of Hope initiative that provided many families with resources required to be successful in life. The Galloway Coalition built upon the success of previous Coalition programming and provided their summer youth with a Chromebook Program, conducted at Arthur Rann Elementary School. In addition, Galloway continued their own very fruitful Community Gardens program. We are pleased with the continued strong growth exhibited by each of these Coalitions over the past year.
Atlantic City and Pleasantville Coalitions were equally up to the task! First, Atlantic City provided their communities with 10 Community Walks. These outings included a movie night for youth, and an “agency fair” to give residents access to much-needed resources. One evening’s walk included participation by NJ State Attorney General Gurbir Grewal. Community Walks were also expanded to include Pleasantville and Egg Harbor City. Pleasantville’s first Community Walk, partnered with various agencies throughout the county to bring services and resources to the community. Pleasantville added a community cookout and provided the youth with a Movie Night, featuring the box-office sensation “Black Panther”. The walks in EHC provided the residents with fresh fruit, ice cream, water/juice and educational materials that will assist in sustaining a better way in life.
I’m pleased to report that we had another great Summer Photography Program which included a “Forensic Science” component in the curriculum. This year the participating youth traveled to the NJ State Police Lab in Trenton, where all forensic information is housed. Special thanks to the Prosecutor’s Office, the FBI and all of our Law Enforcement Partners for support in making the program outstanding!
Something new to report among this year’s efforts is that we were very excited to partner with the Atlantic/Cape May County Court System on a Safe Surrender Program. On December 7th at the Beacon Church in Galloway, more than 250 individuals got assistance with their pursuit of expungement for offenses from fines to warrants, as a way of giving them a “fresh start” in life. EHC, Galloway and Absecon Police Departments provided support with their Law Enforcement resources. Many, many individuals walked away from this event with the hope of a new start.
All of this makes me proud to say the Coalition is committed to spreading the symbols of hope, health, and safety throughout Atlantic County. Recently, we have begun to collaborate with partners and friends in Cape May County. Our collective desire is to establish a “Coalition” to cover their communities. We are in the early stages; however, I’m convinced that this will be a great addition to our Coalition.
Another key upcoming event in 2019 will be our first Diversity Symposium. Plans are underway for this event that will focus on topics such as: education, healthcare, employment, politics, and the criminal justice system.
We look forward to an exciting 2019 as we expand our Coalition’s goals and objectives, and work further in transforming our communities. To summarize this work, I’d like to leave you with a quote that I found that has inspired me: “When you are living the best version of yourself, you inspire others to live the best versions of themselves”. To me, that’s the essence of the Coalition, and our work with all of our community partners – folks like you – make this a reality each and every day.
Thanks so much for all your support.