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Helping people move forward.
BOONTON, NJ – June 8, 2012 – Forty-eight teenagers who struggled in traditional schools achieved academic success last night, graduating from NewBridge Services’ alternative program with their high school diplomas and plans for the future.
Before Christian Reyes of Dover enrolled at NewBridge Jobs Plus program last September, “I was ignorant. I hadn’t learned anything,” he said. Reyes had repeated the eighth grade and then dropped out of school when he turned 16. “NewBridge teachers taught me responsibility, to take charge of my education. My mind has grown so much.”
Other graduates agreed that NewBridge Jobs Plus provided the nurturing, attentive atmosphere that allowed them to learn at their own pace. “It helped me be more responsible and more confident in myself,” said Onir Ritzie, 18, of Morristown. Ritzie plans to attend cosmetology school and eventually, music school.
Without the Jobs Plus program, “I would definitely not have my diploma, I would not have met all these amazing people, and I would not have achieved all I have done,” said Cheyenne Fitzpatrick, 17, of Pequannock, who is pursuing a career in cosmetology.
Since its inception in 1983, NewBridge Jobs Plus has helped well over 1,000 young adults succeed, with many going on to college and technical schools. The program is free to residents of Morris, Sussex and Warren counties between the ages of 16 and 21 and includes free transportation in Morris County.
This year’s graduates hail from Boonton, Denville, Dover, Kinnelon, Lake Hopatcong, Montville, Morristown, Parsippany, Pequannock, Randolph, Rockaway, Stanhope and elsewhere.
Like many others, Reyes discovered at NewBridge Jobs Plus that he had the capacity to learn – and enjoy it. After attending for six months, he passed the state’s exam and earned his diploma. Reyes, now 17, intends to take classes at County College of Morris in the fall and he aspires to become a dentist.
His mother, Anna, couldn’t be prouder of Reyes or his older brother, Elvis, who graduated from NewBridge Jobs Plus last year.
“Chris is very smart and has a great heart, but he didn’t have the right direction,” the single mother said. Reyes got the support he needed at NewBridge. “He wanted to go to school.”
“Without NewBridge, I would be nowhere. Nowhere,” said Reyes, who attended the commencement ceremony at the Elks Lodge in Boonton.
NewBridge Jobs Plus receives funding from the Workforce Investment Board of Morris//Sussex and Warren Counties, the Morris County Board of Chosen Freeholders, United Way of Morris County, Novartis Pharmaceuticals, NewBridge Fund, Verizon and community residents. For information on NewBridge Jobs Plus, call (973) 335-0666.
About NewBridge Services
Founded in 1963, NewBridge Services, Inc. is a nonprofit 501 (c)(3) community organization providing innovative programs and education services in five focus areas: mental health, addiction, housing, youth programs and senior services. Whether guiding people as they cope with stress, grief, or substance abuse, or providing advice to those with parenting, relationship or caregiving challenges, NewBridge helps people bring balance to their lives.