Federal grant will help Odo teach skills to Haitian teenagers

IRVINGTON — Odo Achievement Center, a local nonprofit, has received a grant to teach life and leadership skills to teenagers of Haitian descent in Irvington.

The grant is a subaward of an Education and Culture Program that is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State and implemented by Partners of the Americas in partnership with the State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

Education and Culture subawards support local community development initiatives across the Americas. As an organizational member of the New Jersey-Haiti Chapter of Partners of the Americas, Odo was eligible to apply for a subaward to conduct the project, entitled Leadership Cultivation for Youth of Haitian Descent, which is scheduled for implementation from March through June of 2024.

The overall goal of the project is to introduce the young people to civic engagement and instill qualities that will influence them to become proactive in their community.

The teens will be given opportunities to learn leadership skills and develop an understanding of their ability to effect social change.

It will include curriculum sessions, engagement with local leaders and youth-led projects. The grant will cover expenses for all activities, including a lunch event with an elected official and an overnight camp stay that will help the teens share ideas and bond with one another. As the Project Liaison, Councilwoman Charnette Frederic will assist with resources to launch the project.

Odo Achievement Center, which was founded in 2015, is a nonprofit organization for Essex County teens that promotes life skills. Odo provides monthly sessions on various topics such as college prep, leadership and good health habits.

Odo’s goal is to provide programs and activities that complement curriculum-based education with the real life skills needed to succeed in the adult world. Among other activities, Odo hosts an annual Teen Health Fair at the start of the school year and provides opportunities for trips and participation in local activities.

Odo also facilitates most programs at the Irvington Public Library. Board membership and staff includes a former Irvington High School graduate, a library staff member and a committed parent of children who are products of the Irvington School District.

Odo Achievement is accepting additional donations and sponsorships to assist with the completion of the current project’s goals. Donations can be made online to the organization’s web site at www.odoachievectr.org/ or by checks mailed to Odo Achievement Center, P.O. Box 482, Irvington, NJ 07111.