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The United Way of Passaic County
FoodCorps service member, Julia, passing out stickers to a student voting on the Jersey Sweet Potato "Tasty Challenge" in the cafeteria.

The United Way of Passaic County

For more than 80 years, United Way of Passaic County has been responding to the needs of the community. We envision a community where every child is ready to succeed in school, every person can meet their most basic needs and everyone can pursue productive and satisfying lives. Our mission is to improve the lives of people in Passaic County by mobilizing the caring power of our community. The organization is committed to creating lasting change – from our Financial Empowerment Zone to our Hunger-Free Communities work. United Way of Passaic County is uniquely positioned to leverage its own health and human services expertise, a powerful base of donors and volunteers, public advocacy and outcome-based funding to help identify and solve chronic community-wide issues within our region.

The Paterson Public Schools Mission Statement: Recognizing our proud traditions, diverse community, and partnerships, the mission of the Paterson Public School District provides an academically rigorous, safe and nurturing educational environment by meeting the social, emotional and academic needs of our students as we prepare them for post-secondary education and career. Vision: The district will be a leader of 21st century innovation where students develop habits of lifelong learning and excel academically to become future-ready leaders.

Paterson, New Jersey, known as the ‘Silk City’ for its major role in silk production during the 19th century, is New Jersey’s third largest city and one of the most diverse communities in the state, home to the largest Turkish-American community in the US, the second largest Arab-American community in the US, and the third largest Dominican-American community in the US. The Great Falls of Paterson, a National Historic Park, is located just down the road from our offices and is the second largest waterfall east of the Mississippi, behind only Niagara Falls.

The FoodCorps service member at the United Way of Passaic County will work directly with the Paterson Public Schools Food Service Department to improve processes and practices for local food procurement and reducing food waste, and create resources for district wide nutrition and school garden education. Our service member will have the opportunity to participate in garden builds and educational activities at individual schools, as well as regularly attend bi-monthly meetings and participate in select working groups with the Passaic County Food Policy Council which works to ensure that all Passaic County residents have access to safe, sufficient, nutritious, and affordable foods and to support a sustainable and economically viable local food system. One major aspect of service will be supporting the district’s Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program, from managing the budget and delivery schedule to working with the Food Services Director and vendors to order fruits and vegetables that reflect student voice, choice and preference across Paterson’s culturally diverse student body and support local growers in Passaic County and across the state. The second major project our service member will support is finalizing and rolling out our newly created School Garden Strategy and Toolkit for school leaders and teachers to utilize districtwide, and providing technical assistance to build stronger connections between classrooms, cafeterias and school gardens.

Our 1 FoodCorps service member at the United Way of Passaic County is part of the New Jersey/New York cohort that includes 16 members with 7 sites across 8 communities in New Jersey and New York City. Don?t be fooled by what you may have heard from the haters: New Jersey is a state with a heaping spoonful of love, a dash of attitude, and a heavy sprinkle of everything nature has to offer: gorgeous beaches along the Atlantic Ocean (AKA ‘the shore’), hiking opportunities from the Appalachian Trail in the north to the Pine Barrens in the south, flourishing urban spaces with every kind of cuisine and art form known to planet earth, and rolling farmland stretching for as far as the eye can see. Situated between two major cities – New York and Philadelphia – New Jersey is aptly named the Garden State and home to nearly 10,000 urban and rural farms producing over 100 crops enjoyed nationwide! Connecting New Jersey kids to local agriculture reinforces our agricultural roots, economy, and unites communities with a shared vision of improving child health and wellbeing. Like New Jersey itself, our service sites reflect a broad diversity of culture and geography. Too many New Jersey residents experience health disparities as a result of decades of systemic racism, and service members mainly serve in communities with the highest rates of food insecurity. In partnership with our network of service sites, we strive to positively impact the ways New Jersey children experience food in school by using a variety of action-driven and scientifically-backed farm to school efforts including promoting local procurement and student voice and choice in cafeterias, leading hands-on lessons in classrooms and school gardens, and by supporting our community partners to foster the culture of health that’s right for them within each unique school building we serve across the state. Our full New Jersey/New York Cohort meets regularly throughout the year for state-based trainings with local leaders, growers and organizers to set our service members up for success for their 1-2 years of service. During the first month of service, members research and present on the place-based histories and current context of the communities we serve; are introduced to a wide variety of food justice and farm to school stakeholders at the state and local levels; practice active learning by planning and leading culturally relevant classroom lessons, garden activities and taste tests with their fellow service members before entering their schools; spend ample time cooking and sharing meals together, learning from each other, and building community as a cohort (AKA ‘cohort bonding’), and orienting themselves at their sites throughout August prior to the first day of school in September, all of which is necessary to serve our communities intentionally, respectfully and from a Community Assets Based Approach. Additionally, our service members participate in a wide variety of national, state, and site-based professional development and networking opportunities throughout the year that are necessary for our New Jersey/New York service members to advance in their chosen careers following their 1-2 years of service.

Preferred Qualifications

  • Strong organizational and communication skills
  • A strong sense of social justice and equity as it applies to food systems and food justice
  • The ability to work independently
  • Interest and knowledge in local food procurement
  • Working with diverse populations, food waste reduction, and school gardens
  • Community organizing
  • Project management
  • Youth development
  • Gardening
  • Cooking
  • Social justice work
  • Food systems understanding

For more than 80 years, United Way of Passaic County has been responding to the needs of the community. We envision a community where every child is ready to succeed in school, every person can meet their most basic needs and everyone can pursue productive and satisfying lives. Our mission is to improve the lives of people in Passaic County by mobilizing the caring power of our community. The organization is committed to creating lasting change – from our Financial Empowerment Zone to our Hunger-Free Communities work. United Way of Passaic County is uniquely positioned to leverage its own health and human services expertise, a powerful base of donors and volunteers, public advocacy and outcome-based funding to help identify and solve chronic community-wide issues within our region.

The Paterson Public Schools Mission Statement: Recognizing our proud traditions, diverse community, and partnerships, the mission of the Paterson Public School District provides an academically rigorous, safe and nurturing educational environment by meeting the social, emotional and academic needs of our students as we prepare them for post-secondary education and career. Vision: The district will be a leader of 21st century innovation where students develop habits of lifelong learning and excel academically to become future-ready leaders.

Paterson, New Jersey, known as the ‘Silk City’ for its major role in silk production during the 19th century, is New Jersey’s third largest city and one of the most diverse communities in the state, home to the largest Turkish-American community in the US, the second largest Arab-American community in the US, and the third largest Dominican-American community in the US. The Great Falls of Paterson, a National Historic Park, is located just down the road from our offices and is the second largest waterfall east of the Mississippi, behind only Niagara Falls.

The FoodCorps service member at the United Way of Passaic County will work directly with the Paterson Public Schools Food Service Department to improve processes and practices for local food procurement and reducing food waste, and create resources for district wide nutrition and school garden education. Our service member will have the opportunity to participate in garden builds and educational activities at individual schools, as well as regularly attend bi-monthly meetings and participate in select working groups with the Passaic County Food Policy Council which works to ensure that all Passaic County residents have access to safe, sufficient, nutritious, and affordable foods and to support a sustainable and economically viable local food system. One major aspect of service will be supporting the district’s Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program, from managing the budget and delivery schedule to working with the Food Services Director and vendors to order fruits and vegetables that reflect student voice, choice and preference across Paterson’s culturally diverse student body and support local growers in Passaic County and across the state. The second major project our service member will support is finalizing and rolling out our newly created School Garden Strategy and Toolkit for school leaders and teachers to utilize districtwide, and providing technical assistance to build stronger connections between classrooms, cafeterias and school gardens.

Our 1 FoodCorps service member at the United Way of Passaic County is part of the New Jersey/New York cohort that includes 16 members with 7 sites across 8 communities in New Jersey and New York City. Don?t be fooled by what you may have heard from the haters: New Jersey is a state with a heaping spoonful of love, a dash of attitude, and a heavy sprinkle of everything nature has to offer: gorgeous beaches along the Atlantic Ocean (AKA ‘the shore’), hiking opportunities from the Appalachian Trail in the north to the Pine Barrens in the south, flourishing urban spaces with every kind of cuisine and art form known to planet earth, and rolling farmland stretching for as far as the eye can see. Situated between two major cities – New York and Philadelphia – New Jersey is aptly named the Garden State and home to nearly 10,000 urban and rural farms producing over 100 crops enjoyed nationwide! Connecting New Jersey kids to local agriculture reinforces our agricultural roots, economy, and unites communities with a shared vision of improving child health and wellbeing. Like New Jersey itself, our service sites reflect a broad diversity of culture and geography. Too many New Jersey residents experience health disparities as a result of decades of systemic racism, and service members mainly serve in communities with the highest rates of food insecurity. In partnership with our network of service sites, we strive to positively impact the ways New Jersey children experience food in school by using a variety of action-driven and scientifically-backed farm to school efforts including promoting local procurement and student voice and choice in cafeterias, leading hands-on lessons in classrooms and school gardens, and by supporting our community partners to foster the culture of health that’s right for them within each unique school building we serve across the state. Our full New Jersey/New York Cohort meets regularly throughout the year for state-based trainings with local leaders, growers and organizers to set our service members up for success for their 1-2 years of service. During the first month of service, members research and present on the place-based histories and current context of the communities we serve; are introduced to a wide variety of food justice and farm to school stakeholders at the state and local levels; practice active learning by planning and leading culturally relevant classroom lessons, garden activities and taste tests with their fellow service members before entering their schools; spend ample time cooking and sharing meals together, learning from each other, and building community as a cohort (AKA ‘cohort bonding’), and orienting themselves at their sites throughout August prior to the first day of school in September, all of which is necessary to serve our communities intentionally, respectfully and from a Community Assets Based Approach. Additionally, our service members participate in a wide variety of national, state, and site-based professional development and networking opportunities throughout the year that are necessary for our New Jersey/New York service members to advance in their chosen careers following their 1-2 years of service.

Preferred Qualifications

  • Strong organizational and communication skills
  • A strong sense of social justice and equity as it applies to food systems and food justice
  • The ability to work independently
  • Interest and knowledge in local food procurement
  • Working with diverse populations, food waste reduction, and school gardens
  • Community organizing
  • Project management
  • Youth development
  • Gardening
  • Cooking
  • Social justice work
  • Food systems understanding