Wasps kill pest insects. Want a free wasp house for your garden?

A friend is giving away a wasp house. Wasps are good for gardens because they gobble up lots of insect pests. Edwin has one already and doesn’t need two – so he’s giving one away. If you want a wasp house you can pick this one up in north Jersey– or maybe get instructions for getting a new one made. Just reach out to me @kimiwei on Twitter or thekimiwei on Facebook and I’ll arrange the pickup.

Please bear in mind that wasps cannot be housed near beehives, because they kill bees too. read more

Pases grátis a parques nacionales para estudiantes del 4º grado | Free passes for 4th graders to government parks

Aproveche la oportunidad para conseguir un pase gratuita a los parques nacionales - para estudiantes del 4º grado. | Get a free pass to national parks for your 4th grader and the whole family!

Free Press community empowerment event in Hackensack Wed June 7 – all welcome!

FreePress - freedomWhat: Our Voices, Our Future: What Residents and Civic Leaders Want in Local Media
When: Wed., June 7th, from 6:30-8:30 p.m. (doors open at 6 p.m.)
Where: Johnson Public Library, 274 Main St, Hackensack NJ

Here’s what you can expect at the event: Free Press members, residents, journalists, and community leaders will be gathering to share ideas on how local media can better serve the public. You’ll get a chance to meet others like you, take action to address New Jersey’s local news crisis, and brainstorm about the steps we can take together to improve coverage in your community.

NCC’s vocational training programs in Newark are underway – apply today

OSHA training grads
Credit: Essex County

If you know someone looking for a job or seeking new skills, check out New Community Workforce Development Center’s vocational training programs in the fields of:

  • Academic Enrichment
  • Allied Health*
    (*Home Health Aide, EKG Technician, Medical Assistant, Phlebotomy Technician and Patient Care Technician)
  • Automotive
  • Building Trades/Construction
  • Culinary Arts
  • ShopRite Partners-In-Training

To apply for admission into a training program, visit the Workforce Development Center at 274 South Orange Avenue in Newark. For more information, call Workforce at 973-824-6484 and speak to Martha Davis or Rodney Brutton.

Political tracking & navigation tools

Type of tool/term Link What it does
Congressional voting records & bill tracking GovTrack Website provides info about Congresspeople and their voting records; about bills and what stage of the lawmaking process they are at.Open data for developers is available. And, you can sign up to receive email alerts for the bills or Congresspeople you’re interested in keeping tabs on.
GovTrack headers

Sen Bob Menendez Hosts Empowerment Summit in Trenton on April 22 – Free

Sen Bob Menendez Empowerment SummitU.S. Senator Bob Menendez Hosts an Empowerment Summit for the Community

Friday 22 April 2016
9:00am-1:30pm
Trenton War Memorial
1 Memorial Drive
Trenton, NJ 08608

Cost: Free
Lunch will be served
RSVP here

Visit the summit event page for additional information

Free YMCA sleep away camp for 7-12 year old Newark kids

YMCA campA glorious 2-week sleep away camp adventure for Newark children ages 7-12 is waiting for your child at a YMCA camp in Newton, NJ – and it will cost you nothing but a phone call! Activity options include archery, bike riding, craft making, boat paddling, nature walks, swim lessons and much more in a safe, well supervised lakeside setting where kids can relax, bond and enjoy clean, healthy, outdoor fun and fantastic meals.

Secure your child’s spot by calling Matt of Fairview Lakes YMCA: office 973-383-9282 or mobile 201-618-5880.

Navigating Developmental Disabilities Systems Conference @ JCC Tenafly

On Sunday, February 15 2015, the community is invited to the JCC on the Palisades to attend a conference on navigating the changing systems of Developmental Disabilities. This timely conference will address the critical needs that so many families of individuals with disabilities face – including housing, medicaid / entitlements, advocacy, employment and planning for adulthood.

Navigating Dev Disabilities systems confSunday, Feb 15
Registration 8:30, Program 9am-1pm
Kaplan JCC on the Palisades
411 E. Clinton Avenue
Tenafly NJ 07670

Free and open to the public but registration is required.

NJ State Senator Loretta Weinberg, D.O. Majority Leader will open the conference and the keynote will feature Ms Elizabeth M. Shea, Assistant Commissioner of Division of Developmental Disabilities followed by a panel conversation about housing options in NJ by Gail Levinson, Executive Director SHA, and Tom Toronto, President United Way of Bergen County. Additional speakers will include: Leizer Gewirtzman, Holly Martins, Jennifer Joyce, and Teresa Herrero-Taylor. Speakers will be addressing: Employment, SSI/Medicaid Eligibilities, Advocacy for Parents, and Life Care Planning and Support.

The conference is being organized by J-ADD, OHEL & JCCOTP, with many local community organizations participating as well including JFS Clifton-Passaic, Bergen County Y/JCC, JFS Bergen in Wayne, and Sinai. Register here.

Being caring is not noble, it’s essential.

Please, let’s never forget how important it is to care for people more vulnerable than ourselves. Recently I told about Narayanan Krishnan who walked away from a good job to devote his life to caring for India’s homeless (I love this story). And here’s another one, right here in the US!

Dr. Withers

Dr. Jim Withers started off dressing like a homeless man to gain the trust of homeless people living on the streets of Pittsburgh in order to give them free medical treatment. His guide was a formerly homeless man who told him, “Don’t dress like a doctor and don’t act like a jerk.” The pair once told clients the medicines in their backpacks were samples from pharmaceutical companies, but since he became a hero to the street community, Dr. Withers doesn’t need to pretend any more.

For 22 years, Dr. Jim Withers has been walking under bridges and venturing into abandoned buildings dressed as a homeless man to care for the city’s rough sleepers free-of-charge.

Now, his extraordinary outreach has grown into a national network of medical trainees and volunteers who help the helpless about five-nights-a-week…

He has treated an 85-year-old paranoid man whose legs were so infected, maggots grew inside them; a woman who was diagnosed with cancer several times; and an elderly man who risked losing his eyesight to a treatable condition …

Since his initial outreach more than two decades ago, the humble doctor has grown his nightly service into the nonprofit Operation Safety Net, part of Pittsburgh Mercy Health System and one of the nation’s first full-time street medicine programs.

Dr. Withers and Operation Safety Net’s 16-member full-time staff of social workers, case managers, physicians, nurses and outreach workers have helped thousands of people.

The team has reportedly assisted 75 percent of the people they’ve treated get health insurance and more than 500 into homes. They have regular patients who are always happy to see them. read more

Leadership tool: CHEJ’s Community Organizer Guide

CHEJ Organizer's Manual Screenshot

Fight to Win Leadership Handbook

by Center for Health, Environment & Justice

This is CHEJ’s first basic community organization manual. Although it is written for first time organizers, established leaders may find they learn a new trick or two. Topics covered include how to start a group, keep a group going, research opponents, organize your community, carry out an effective action, raise funds, and win!

An evening with Cornel West and POP in Newark

The People’s Organization for Progress and the Bethany Baptist Church Board of Deacons presents a special Black History Month event: An Evening with Cornel West!

This special event will take place at Bethany Baptist Church, 275 West Market Street, Newark on Wednesday, April 2 at 6:30pm (rescheduled due to ice storm).

Cornel WestDr. West will discuss ‘The Importance of Organization Building in the Struggle for Racial, Social and Economic Justice.’

Cornel West has written 19 books, including his best seller Democracy Matters. He appears regularly on the Bill Maher Show, The Colbert Report, CNN and CSpan. He can be heard on a weekly basis on the popular public radio show, Smiley and West, co-hosted by the critically acclaimed Tavis Smiley. The show airs locally on WBGO-FM/Jazz 88 (88.3FM) on Saturday mornings at 6am.

He has also done numerous spoken word projects with artists such as Jill Scott, Talib Kweli, Krs One and others, all demonstrating his willing to reach a variety of audiences with his passion for justice, truth-telling and bridge building in the tradition of the immortal Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

In October 2011, in solidarity with the growing Occupy Movement and in an impassioned call for economic justice, Dr. West and 18 others, voluntarily faced arrest at the U.S. Supreme Court to protest public policy protecting corporate greed! See link below…Just days later, he would also face arrest in New York City protesting the city’s racist ‘Stop and Frisk’ program.

Interestingly, at the time of West’s civil disobedience, the People’s Organization for Progress was engaged in a historic 381 day protest for economic justice in honor of the Montgomery Bus Boycott and to dramatize the current economic crisis!

“We are pleased and humbled to have Cornel West with us, and we anxiously await what actions will be initiated inspired by this gathering,” said a tireless Lawrence Hamm, the founding chairman of the People’s Organization for Progress.

For more information, please call 973 801 0001.

Edited for new date

Free prom dress programs across NJ and US

Prom couple

Prom coupleApril is prom month. If you’re a young lady of modest means you can be the belle of the ball with a free or low-cost designer dress ($10 is low, right?) in beautiful condition from one of the prom dress giveaway programs in New Jersey and around the country. Act soon though. Giveaways are going on right now all over the New York/New Jersey area and in many cities across the country! Some programs provide accessories and shoes to match gowns … and they may share tasty treats and other gifts with “shoppers” and their moms, as well. The idea is, that every young person should have the chance to attend prom dressed fabulously and fashionably, whether they have lots of money or don’t.

There aren’t nearly as many resources for young men looking for a suit or help renting a tux, but that doesn’t mean help is not available! My own son was gifted a free tuxedo rental from Operation Prom, so we know that as of last week, this program was working great (see details below). Post-high school women can find a fancy dress at Catherine’s Closet in Newark, so if you are a woman past high school age, visit there or just ask other giveaway shops if they can help you out. There’s never any harm in asking.

If none of the resources on this page get you the results you need, don’t be discouraged. Keep looking! There are quite a few organizations providing free or low cost prom dresses in New Jersey and around the country. Students, also ask your guidance counsellor if they know of a local program which provides free or low-cost dresses, suits or tuxes, or try reaching out to a church or youth center in your neighborhood. Remember: help is always one ask away. If you spend some time searching the net, you may turn up some good resources (this is how I found most of what’s listed here). And consider enlisting the help of a reference librarian – they are extraordinarily good at this sort of thing and most of them are delighted to assist.

If you’re a person wanting to give away a fancy dress, prom dress, accessories, or you would like to volunteer at a prom giveaway drive, I’m certain any of these organizations would love to hear from you, so just reach out!

NEWARK – Catherine’s Closet, Inc.
Distribution at 550 Broad Street, Newark NJ 973-616-2060
On Two Dates from 8:30am – 12pm (noon)
Saturday, April 13, 2013 and Saturday, May 11, 2013 read more

Online Learning, Free Classes and MOOCs

MOOCs

  • Coursera offers free online courses and certificate courses you pay a fee to get
  • Distance Ed Archive Collection curated by George Brett
    Topics related to distance eLearning in academia and other organizations.
  • EdX
    EdX offers interactive online classes and MOOCs from the world’s best universities. Online courses from MITx, HarvardX, BerkeleyX, UTx and many other universities. EdX is a non-profit online initiative created by founding partners Harvard and MIT.
  • Harvard offers a variety of free online courses.
  • MIT OpenCourseware. Basically, MIT gives you last year’s course lectures totally for free. If you want this year’s courses and access to professors, you need to attend the school.
  • Udemy has a variety of free and low cost courses. Offers change so check in once in a while to see if you can catch what you want at a good price or for free.
  • read more