Community organizations reach out in preparing for new school year

Photo Courtesy of October Hudley
At large Councilwoman October Hudley, left, stands with a group of children, volunteers and other township employees at the Irvington Neighborhood Improvement Corporation Back to School Backpack Giveaway at the agency’s headquarters on 16th Avenue on Friday, Aug. 31.

IRVINGTON, NJ — Irvington Board of Education President Romaine Greer came to the Back to School Backpack and School Supplies Giveaway in the recently refurbished Grove Street Playground, adjacent to Grove Street School, on Monday, Aug. 27. The event was sponsored by Respecting Others Struggles and Exhibiting Selflessness, a nonprofit organization.

“I’m out here celebrating the backpack giveaway drive,” said Greer on Monday, Aug. 27. “Giving back to the community is awesome and it’s necessary. It’s important to give back to those who are less fortunate, so we try to give back as much as we can.”

Greer said she was looking forward to the start of the new Irvington school year and eagerly anticipating opening day, Wednesday, Sept. 5.

“I can’t wait,” said Greer. “The new Madison Avenue Elementary School should be finished in 2019, so we’ve got a lot of good things to look forward to. I just want to say to all of our parents and all of our student scholars: ‘Happy summer and welcome back.’ ”

At large Councilwoman October Hudley also attended the R.O.S.E.S. giveaway on Monday, Aug. 27, and echoed Greer’s sentiments. Hudley previously worked as the library media specialist at Grove Street School before retiring in 2017, but said education is still her passion and she will never truly leave the school or her former students.

“I’m here with the whole community, that’s how I work,” said Hudley on Monday, Aug. 27. “They want to make sure that our children are prepared for school, which is about to open next week. So like this today, they could come and they have the tools to equip them for a quality education. Not only do you see book bags, but they’re also loaded with school supplies and I just want to commend the volunteers — the police officers, the business owners — that actually came to volunteer their time and to donate these supplies and I’m grateful for them.”

Hudley also participated in the Irvington Neighborhood Improvement Corporation’s Back to School Backpack and School Supplies Giveaway on Friday, Aug. 31, at the local charitable organization’s headquarters on 16th Avenue. But she said location isn’t the only thing the two charities have in common.

“We’re right here on Grove Street, right next to Grove Street School,” said Hudley. “That’s one thing about this organization — It’s not just limited to the children here in Irvington. They are actually supplying the school supplies and book bags for children, no matter where you’re from.”

Hudley isn’t the only person trying to give back to the community.

“I patrol the area of Grove Street and the surrounding area and my partner, Detective Shakira Vernejo, and myself started the R.O.S.E.S. foundation,” said Irvington Police Officer Rhoniel Edwards on Monday, Aug. 27. “It’s a community-outreach foundation nonprofit, where we want to give back to the community. I know that Grove Street is one of the areas in Irvington that really needs more of a hands-on approach and more help with supplies and different things in the community.”

For more information about the R.O.S.E.S. foundation, call the Irvington Police Department at 973-399-6537. For more information about the Irvington Board of Education, call 973-399-6800.