FAMILYConnections kicks off backpack collection

ESSEX COUNTY, NJ — FAMILYConnections, a local counseling and family services agency, has announced the start of a “Got Your Back” backpack drive to benefit students in the agency’s Outreach to At-Risk Youth and School-Based Youth Services programs. Donations of individual school items and full backpacks will be accepted through Sept. 1 and can be dropped off at FAMILYConnections’ Main office located at 395 S. Center St., Orange. The list of needed items can be found by going to

“Serving the needs of young people is a priority of FAMILYConnections’ mission to build strong families and communities,” FAMILYConnections Executive Director Jacques Hryshko said. “Helping young people be ready for the start of a new school year is another way of building confidence and school success. Having a great first day is important!”

FAMILYConnections manages School-Based Youth Services programs that serve 1,300 students annually; these programs include The Space at Orange High School, The Loft at Columbia High School, The Hub at Maplewood Middle School, The Den at Bloomfield High School and The Zone at Orange Preparatory Academy. These programs offer on-site mental health counseling, life-skills training, prevention programming, academic support, afterschool enrichment and recreation in collaboration with school staff and community partners.

FAMILYConnections’ Outreach to At-Risk Youth program offers teen group-based counseling and recreation to prevent high-risk behaviors.

Contact FAMILYConnections Program Director Amanda Santana at or 973-323-3442 for further information regarding these youth programs or the collection of school supplies.