We engage young people, ages 8 to 17 in a wide range of programs, which follow the school year calendar. From September through June, E’Port partners with Central Presbyterian Church in Summit to provide weekly tutoring sessions. Forty-five youngsters from Elizabeth are bused every Tuesday evening to Summit to meet with an older student for one on one tutoring sessions under adult supervision. While tutors provide homework help for the students, the real benefit is to bring diverse cultures together to discover that they have more in common than they realized. Lasting friendships develop and both students and tutors grow through the experience. This year the program has had to operate virtually, decreasing participation and effectiveness. However, our goal is to resume the full in person program in the fall of 2021.
Also, in the Fall and Spring semesters E’Port has held various language arts programs for youth, including a play writing class, a drama class, film-making and a poetry/rap workshop series. Each of these programs engages 10-15 youth at the Center in a weekly opportunity to develop their self-expression, writing or public speaking abilities. These programs provide students with an opportunity for engagement in the Arts at a time when many of our youth find that those opportunities are not available at school. While we have had to suspend in person programs this school year due to COVID-19, we look forward to starting these programs up in the fall of 2021.
During the summer, E’Port organizes a fresh air one week overnight camp experience for 15 to 20 youth. We provide transportation to and from the camp and full scholarships to cover the cost of the camp. This provides an opportunity for urban youth to experience nature in a rural setting that is not only fun, but opens them up to the world of nature and independence.
E’Port, alone and in partnership with Restore Ministries, provides youth with day camp opportunities in Elizabeth throughout July and August. These two to four week camps include instruction in arts and crafts, games, sports and trips to local pools, parks, museums, water parks and other places of interest. We have also sponsored a basic computer coding camp.
Through the partnership with suburban and rural churches and schools, E’Port youth have various opportunities to spend a day outside of the city. A summer trip to a farm to visit animals, a trip to plant or harvest vegetables in a community garden, to attend a country fair, or apple picking and swim are among the outings. These programs continue in the fall and spring, with trips to the Pingry School in Basking Ridge for a lesson in lacrosse and a pizza lunch.