TRENTON, N.J. – Assemblyman Antwan McClellan announced Thursday a new South Jersey coalition, Cumberland-Cape United, composed of faith and community leaders that will seek funds to facilitate programming aimed at helping at-risk youth in Cumberland and Cape May counties.
McClellan says he was approached by Kenneth Fowlkes of the newly established state Office of Resilience in the Department of Children and Families to organize a group of community leaders in South Jersey that would serve at-risk youth and create opportunities to eradicate Adverse Childhood Experiences. Childhood trauma from living in a household with violence, substance abuse or food insecurity is more likely to lead to challenges in adulthood.
“I thank Fowlkes for acknowledging the need for such opportunities for at-risk youth in the South Jersey area and for the dedicated people in our community who want to help accomplish our mission,” McClellan (R-Cape May) said. “Our hope is to get these young folks in the door, to a place of trust and safety. Cumberland-Cape United will work to make a difference in their lives, give them hope for a brighter future and expand opportunities for success.”
By collaborating with well-trusted churches and charities already established in Cumberland and Cape May counties, the coalition hopes more hard-to-reach and at-risk youth will benefit from programming.
“I’m excited to get to work for our kids, in partnership with pastors and caring, community leaders,” McClellan said. “There is no more important mission than raising our children right, ensuring they know they are valued and loved and instilling them with the skills and confidence they need to succeed in a challenging and evermore complicated world.”
CCU plans to focus on three areas of concern – community, family and youth. Programs will focus on financial literacy, fatherhood and mentoring, life skills, in-demand job training, anger management, coping skills and entrepreneurship. At-risk youth can be connected to these self-improvement opportunities through various means, including social engagement in recreation, arts, music and sports offerings.
The CCU working group includes the following faith and community leaders: Assemblyman Antwan McClellan; Mayor Tim Donohue of Middle Township; Anthony Anderson of Progressive Black Initiative, Middle Township; Joshua Baker, entrepreneur, philanthropist and CEO of JB Solutions; Angelia Edwards, CEO of Manna from Heaven, Bridgeton; Pastor Tom Dawson of SOAR Church and Coalition for a Safe Community; Pastor Greg Johnson of Mount Pisgah Methodist Church in Vineland; Pastor Darwin Ransom of St. Paul’s Missionary Baptist Church in Vineland; Pastor Harold Harris of Macedonia Baptist Church in Cape May; and Pastor Will Johnson of Change Church in Ewing Township.