West Orange company launches Project Smile

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WEST ORANGE, NJ — Nex Gen Learning Solutions, a new company born out of the COVID pandemic, which offers affordable educational solutions for working families in many local communities, has launched its own version of a program called Project Smile, recently started by two young boys in Arizona “to put a smile on people’s faces.” Throughout December, children at Nex Gen’s Center and external pods will be making handmade cards to be delivered to senior citizens, essential workers, and others who could use messages and drawings to cheer them up.

According to West Orange High School student Hope O’Hara, who brought the program to Nex Gen, “The cards should be colorful, can include stickers and other arts and crafts items that can be adhered to the cards, may also include inspirational quotes, phrases by historical figures, movie quotes and song lyrics, as well as heartfelt messages. They should be designed to ‘put a smile on people’s faces.’”

Hope O’Hara — whose mom, Tracey O’Hara, is a co-founder of Nex Gen — will be delivering the cards, which will be disinfected prior to delivery, as part of an overarching community service project.

“The project was first introduced to the community on Halloween, at Nex Gen’s West Orange Farmers Market booth, where children that stopped by did crafts and made adorable and cheerful Project Smile cards for seniors,” Hope O’Hara said. “It was such a big hit that we wanted to continue it throughout the holiday season.”

Members of the public are invited to participate by dropping off handmade cards at the Nex Gen Center. Those wishing to participate should call 201-618-7444 for specific drop-off days and times when a box will be placed outside of the Nex Gen Center for drop offs.

Photos Courtesy of Jackie Schatell