Categorized | Carousel, News

A Community Leader: Edison Jaquez

PERTH AMBOY — What happens when passion and purpose unite for a cause? When there is a vision and a plan, the momentum lays the groundwork that can move mountains, make communities stronger, and give the inner city kids a positive message to keep kids off the street and on the right path. This is the dream that fuels the heart of Edison Jaquez.

In his role as Vice President of Young Men Can #YMC, a youth mentoring program, Edison works with at-risk youth in a non-traditional setting. “I learned at an early age the value of a strong community. I came here (to the United States) when I was 7 from the Dominican Republic. There, everyone looks out for each other. But today, that bond of community has been weakened. When kids see that they can be a positive member of a community, attitudes change, and opportunity grows.”

In February, Young Men Can held its first program, YMC Weekend at the Perth Amboy Recreation Center. Here, 21 young men got together to discuss the issues facing them, from gangs to education to job opportunities. Jay Morrison, of the Young Millionaires Club, and Mohammad Wilkerson of the NY Jets talked with the youth about what they had to deal with on their road to success. And each participant was hooked up with a mentor.

On April 20th to the 21st, Young Men Can is sponsoring its second mentoring event. But this time, it will be geared toward young women. There will be a variety of speakers to discuss the issues inner-city women have to overcome. The highlight of the program will be matching the participants up with a mentor. “It’s important that the young ladies have a positive role model, who has dealt with the same issues they are now facing. It shows them that people cannot only overcome the bad stuff, but succeed.”

Edison earned his BS in Business Management. “I chose Berkeley for the simple fact that it was a great business school close to home & very convenient with my work schedule since I was working 2 jobs at the time.” And he could still be active in the community.

This became a mission for him and he is actively involved as a big brother, mentor & father figure to the youth he teaches on a daily basis. “I’m not that old but I don’t remember having such good programs as I was growing up.” Currently, as the Program Coordinator for the Civic Justice Corps, under the umbrella of the Jewish Renaissance Foundation, he works with at-risk young men, ages of 16 & 24 to help them anyway he can. The program is designed to get the kids off the streets and into the classroom by providing GED classes and Construction education.

Edison is also the Commissioner of the CJC Basketball League, which had over 70 youth participate in the winter league. Due to the overwhelming success, and local interest, the league has expanded. Edison is currently accepting teams for the spring league and hopes to add a summer league to the calendar.

The ideas and ideals that are inside Edison are genuine, as is his passion. “I just want to leave a legacy for all the youth’s with a dream,” says Edison. “I tell my kids don’t let anyone say you can’t become whoever you would like to become.” And the dreamer passes along another valuable lesson.

Article Submitted

Comments are closed.

Browse Current Issue - Click Here

Perth Amboy Calendar

TUES. Feb. 13
• Library Board of Trustees
5 p.m.
Library, Jefferson St.

WED. Feb. 14
• City Council, Regular
7 p.m.
City Hall, High St.

MON. Feb. 26
• City Council, Caucus
4:30 p.m.
City Hall, High St.

Stay informed! Attend public meetings. All are welcome!

South Amboy Calendar

WED. Feb. 21
• City Council, Regular,
7 p.m.
City Hall, N. Broadway

Stay informed! Attend public meetings. All are welcome!