The needler in the haystack.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Following tragedy, nonprofit sets course of hope and action

Founder Baron Hilliard pumps up the crowd at nonprofit's launch.
Plainfielders met together in several ways after the recent tragic deaths of two young men to mourn their lives, to assess what needs to done, and to consider striking out in new directions to ensure a bright future for Plainfield's young people.

In particular, it was an honor to be present at the launch of the Together AsOne Foundation's mentoring and college preparation program Sunday afternoon at the offices of Park Avenue Realty.

It was refreshing to be among a group of fifty or so invitees who were charged up about DOING SOMETHING, a welcome contrast to some other efforts in the community which seem to always be talking of doing something but never really get around to it.

The launch provided an opportunity to reflect on how one of the deepest longings expressed at Saturday's POP anti-violence rally -- finding a way out of the morass of violence and crime -- can be offered to the city's African American youth.

Together AsOne's founder, local entrepreneur Baron Hilliard, spoke ardently about a project to both provide mentoring to local students as well as developing a scholarship that would fully fund a local young person's college education.

This would involve recruiting 2,000 supporters who would pledge a minimum of $20 each per year for five years to generate the scholarship fund (see more on the group's website here).

The event itself was high energy, with samplings provided by several area caterers (yes, I loved the little treats offered by Ruby Wesley of A Taste of Rubies, and kept going back), along with samplings of fine wines.

But the real deal was the response to Hilliard's pitch for folks to step up to the plate and support the program. And support it they did. Immediately people were putting pen to paper to show their support of the project by signing up and writing out their first checks.

Attendees at Saturday's anti-violence rally, including Board of Ed
member Wilma Campbell (above, with mike), urged a way forward for Plainfield's youth.

For imore information, or to become a founding sponsor of the scholarship fund, contact the group at --

Together AsOne Foundation
Attention: Scholarship Fund
1015 Park Avenue
Plainfield, NJ 07060
Phone: (908) 755-8220
Many thanks to Sandy Jackson, broker/owner of Park Avenue Realty, and her longtime associate Marilyn Leggett for opening their offices to the launch. They are involved in other activities to benefit the community, of which I will write in the near future.

-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Anonymous said...

So that's 2000 people x $20 x 5years = $200,000 to send one(1) young man to college for four years, accordingo the website. I applaud the effort but it is still a drop in the proverbial bucket regarding mentoring and saving young black males from crime and violence. The recipient of this gift will NOT be the one that's involved with crime and violence. But still an effort. Congratulations.
Siddeeq W. El-Amin

Anonymous said...

what exactly have they done. looks like they are just like the rest. so much for unbiased news reporting.

Prof. Williams said...

An excellent event, Dan! I am so glad I got to be a part of it!


Dan said...

Hey 5:19 -- Give folks a break! They're just getting started. Did you ever start a long-term project, other than carping? What skin do you have in the game? What are you doing to make things better -- for anyone?