Event Recap

January 2024

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“Our ‘Cookies, Coats and Cocoa’ event is a great opportunity for our community to access some delicious treats while receiving free coats for their families to help relieve the burden of purchasing these costly winter items,” UCC Executive Director Craig Mainor said in a news release.

The event is being held in the West Ward, which, along with the city’s South Ward and East Ward, was deemed by the state Economic Development Authority in 2022 to be a “food desert” — a location where people face significant challenges finding food because of poverty and other conditions.

Cookies and hot cocoa for the event were donated by Entenmann’s and West Ward Councilman Dupré Kelly; blankets and socks were donated by Peoples Investment Foundation, organizers said.

Pet food will also be available for attendees’ dogs and cats, according to the organizers, who said flu and coronavirus vaccinations will be available on site, administered by Saint James Health.

February 2024

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In the heart of the communities UCC serves, the battle against violence is waged daily. However, amidst the challenges, there shines a beacon of hope in the form of the UCC’s Youth, Family and Senior Services' Community-based Violence Intervention program, which recently hosted a transformative "Cutting Through Violence" event. The event invited youth to not only be treated to fresh haircuts but also empowered them with essential tools to address and navigate through violence in their lives. As the buzz of clippers echoed through the room, conversations flowed freely, fostering a supportive environment where participants could openly discuss their experiences and concerns regarding violence.

At its core, "Cutting Through Violence" served as a platform for youth to gain valuable insights and strategies to tackle violence in their daily lives. Topics ranged from conflict resolution techniques to understanding the root causes of violence within communities. By allowing each attendee to share their stories of resilience and overcoming adversity, the event helped inspire hope and instill a sense of togetherness within the younger generation.

Furthermore, the event served as a catalyst for building a stronger sense of community and support networks. Beyond receiving haircuts and attending workshops, participants left with a renewed sense of belonging and a commitment to creating positive change within their communities.

UCC's CBVI program continues to be an exemplary model for proactive community engagement, demonstrating that by working together, we can create meaningful and sustainable change in the fight against violence.

March 2024

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UCC, in partnership with Navicore and the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs, hosted a "Disaster Relief Resource Fair” this week, offering crucial support and services to residents affected by various crises. The event provided a one-stop spot for community members facing hardships, such as natural disasters, economic downturns, or other emergencies.

Resource fairs are essential because they bring together a variety of organizations and agencies under one roof, making it easier for residents to access vital assistance efficiently. In times of crisis, navigating through the maze of available resources can be overwhelming for individuals and families already grappling with the effects of a disaster. By organizing such events, UCC, Navicore and the state DCA demonstrated their commitment to supporting the community by simplifying access to essential services, fostering resilience, and facilitating the recovery process.

April 2024

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Youngsters across greater Newark got an opportunity this week to participate in prevention activities aimed at engaging youth and fostering positive community interactions during our CBVI program's "Spring Into Action to Conquer Violence" spring break series. The events, which were hosted at the West Side Park Community Center in Newark, took a proactive approach to addressing community needs while promoting youth engagement and mitigating potential risks associated with increased violent incidents.
The weeklong series included various activities including flag football, basketball, mental health and wellness group talks, a "Real Life Monopoly" life skills project, and a Brush-n-Slush painting exercise.

UCC, PSE&G Help Empower Community at Energy Assistance Day Resource Fair

An Energy Assistance Day resource fair recently hosted by UCC, in partnership with PSE&G,  helped make an impact in providing resources and assistance to more than 130 greater Newark households.

The event, which was held April 19 at the West Side Park Community Center in Newark, aimed to provide essential support to community members by offering a range of vital energy assistance resources and programs. From determining the right program for each client to guiding them through the application process, various agencies were on-site to ensure that every individual received the assistance they needed.

Oftentimes community members can encounter difficulties in navigating and choosing the proper assistance program to get the help they need. To combat this, the event provided greater accessibility to various assistance programs tailored to address the diverse needs of the community. 

Read Full Article: www.uccnewark.org/psegresourcefair

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UCC’s YouthBuild Students Kick It At ‘Sneaker Ball’ Prom

Students in UCC’s YouthBuild program celebrated a night of style and fun while highlighting the strides in their individual journeys at a recent “Sneaker Ball” prom.

Held on April 25 in partnership with Leaders for Life, the celebration not only showcased fashion-forward attire but also highlighted the journey of resilience and determination undertaken by the students. YouthBuild, a national initiative, provides education, job training, and leadership development opportunities to young adults who have faced barriers to traditional education and employment.

During the prom, which took place at the Costa del Sol venue in Union, students and program staff members alike traded in formal dress shoes and heels for stylish sneakers, which in many ways stand as a symbol of each person’s unique style and character. The fusion of formalwear and footwear created a visually striking atmosphere, reflecting the diversity and creativity within the YouthBuild program.

Read Full Article: www.uccnewark.org/ybsneakerball

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May 2024

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A screening and discussion of the critically acclaimed film, "Kemba," which touches on themes of resilience and education, will be hosted for greater Newark community members this week by United Community Corporation (UCC).

This event was held Wednesday, May 15, 2024 at 4pm. inside the West Side Park Community Center in Newark. "Kemba" tells the true story of young Kemba Smith, whose life took a harrowing turn when she fell in love with a drug kingpin. The film explores Smith's journey as she grapples with life-altering consequences, shedding light on critical issues such as recognizing red flags, resilience, education, and the journey of criminal justice reform. Following the screening, attendees got an opportunity to engage in a thought-provoking discussion led by Talitha Turner of Build People, Not Prisons, and the Brick City Peace Collective.

Turner delved into the film's themes and their relevance today, providing attendees with valuable insights and a chance for meaningful dialogue.   

June 2024

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Earlier this month UCC hosted its annual “BeKind” distribution event where Greater Newark residents were able to access various resources including free groceries and a flea market of clothing and items for all ages.

The event was held at the West Side Park Community Center as UCC staff and partnering vendors aimed to provide vital resources and services designed to meet the needs of families and individuals. Attendees benefitted from a free grocery distribution, ensuring access to nutritious food, donated small household appliances and were able enroll in Medicaid and Medicare through assistance provided by UCC’s partner Wellpoint.

Newark Community Health Centers staff was present to offer medical screenings and essential health information, addressing both immediate and long-term health needs. Various items for the event were donated by United By Blue which were available to attendees, free of charge. 

The event was held in honor of the late Pastor Veronice Horne, a former UCC board member and a passionate advocate for those in need. Her dedication to service and the community's well-being was the inspiration behind the event. 

Additionally, the event included enrollments for youth summer programs, helping parents find engaging and educational activities for their children during the summer break. The event also offered a lively atmosphere for attendees with music and games for all ages. 

“BeKind should remind us that as we go through our day, whether you’re rich or poor, it doesn’t cost a thing to be kind to someone, and that results are long lasting,” said UCC Board Chairperson John Jewell. 

BeKind was made possible by various UCC partners and supporters, including Wellpoint, Newark Community Health Centers, Newark Centers of Hope and Essex County. 

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United Community Corporation (UCC), in partnership with Hear My Cries, celebrated Juneteenth this year by fostering efforts to empower young men across greater Newark through a basketball tournament. The “2024 Juneteenth Youth Basketball Tournament! Juneteenth Youth Unity Day” tournament, which was held at West Side Park Community Center in Newark, was coordinated by UCC's Community-based Violence Intervention (CBVI) program and Hear My Cries, a Newark-based nonprofit which assists women impacted by gun violence. The event aimed to provide a supportive, fun environment for the tournament participants and their families. Throughout the day’s basketball competitions, the young men got to hear from motivational speakers and were treated to a live music performance by local artist Trece7ev. The event served as an opportunity to encourage positive behavior and community unity.

Read Full Article: UCC, Hear My Cries Host Empowering Juneteenth Youth Basketball Tourney

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