Group program helps inner-city youth Pass It Along provides back-to-school backpacks
Tilly's Kids learning about rocks while participating in Pass It Along's weekly environmental education awareness program lead by Pass It Along volunteer Susan Loyas.
At Pass It Along, the summer means Tilly's Kids are back.This group of children are part of the Tilly's Kids program at the House of Mercy Mission in Newark.Pass It Along hosts the program three times a week throughout the month of July.On Wednesdays the program is held at Swartswood State Park where members of the Tilly's Kids program are matched with a Pass It Along teen volunteer who serve as a "buddy" for the day to these inner city children.The day is designed to give Tilly's Kids the opportunity to be in a safe environment outside of the city where they can swim and play while being with their "PIA buddies" who give them their undivided attention, provide positive reinforcement and help to build self esteem in these children who range in ages from 4 to 12.Pass It Along also hosts an environmental education and awareness program for Tilly's Kids to participate in on Thursdays and Fridays. The program is designed to give instruction on various environmental issues while fostering healthy child and adolescent development, teaching responsibility, resiliency and respect for self and others.The summer program will end with a Tilly's Kids Backpack Party on Aug. 13 at Swartswood State Park, where each child will receive a new backpack filled with school supplies to start the school year.Teen volunteers are needed to serve in the weekly programs. All volunteers must register to attend at www.passitalong.org.Anyone wishing to donate a backpack may do so by calling the Pass It Along office at 973-726-9777. You will be given a specific child to shop for along with a suggested list of items to be included in the backpack.