2018 also marked the second year that Chad held Summer Engagement for the Chad Scholars. Building on our success from last year, this year's event affirmed our commitment to provide our scholars the necessary skills and resources they need to become community change agents. The Foundation chose Farm to Table at the Vineyard Baptist Church in Newark as the first summer engagement activity for the scholars. Farm to Table allows volunteers to plant and harvest vegetables in the outdoors garden, as well as prepare hot meals indoors to be distributed to community members who may need it. They also engaged in a clothing drive at the Farm as well. This activity was chosen because it taught the scholars to be patient, to learn how to take charge, as well as have a get-it-done attitude. These are skills they will need to have during their time in college as well as in their adult lives.
Following the activity at the Farm, the scholars returned to the office for a brief roundtable discussion, focusing on the Letter from Birmingham City Jail written by Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. After reading this, the scholars discussed various themes from the document such as the challenge of leadership in justice, courage, vulnerability and integrity. All scholars weighed in on what those themes meant to them on a personal level, on a community level, as well as how important they were for the future.
The second opportunity for engagement was the food pantry at the Church of Pentecost in East Orange. The Pentecost Food Pantry in partnership with the Community FoodBank of New Jersey, distributes non-perishable food items to community members in need, every last Saturday of the month. By volunteering with the Pentecost Food Pantry, scholars were able extend their their reach beyond the city of Newark. They were also able to meet with various locals, interact with them, as well as experience the sense of joy and appreciation from the locals. These experiences helped get scholars out of their comfort zones and increased their self-confidence as well in being able to deal with real-world problems.