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youth, like Irma, can become the next generation of leaders in our community!

YOU can help guide a teen to a great future!

Meet Irma! She believes that Middle Earth helped her become a leader with lots of possibilities ahead of her! Please take a moment to listen to her story in the video.

Many of the teens that we work with face difficult life circumstances. When a child doesn’t have support to overcome obstacles, it can be all too easy to make poor choices… getting involved with the wrong crowd, taking drugs to escape the difficulties, hurting oneself or others, and the list goes on. But, when you support the programs at Middle Earth, you are helping youth to make positive decisions. They learn the skills and gain the confidence they need to tackle challenges, solve problems, and work towards a great future. And their great future impacts our community for the better!

The generosity of donors, just like you, helps to guide local youth on a path towards becoming contributing members of our community. Please make a tax-deductible donation today!

Irma's Story

Irma now has a great future ahead of her! It didn’t always look that way to her though. She grew up in a low-income family with few opportunities and was often home alone after school. Irma said, “If it wasn't for Middle Earth, I believe I would've grown up outside on the streets and continued with the bad friendships I had before.”

It was such a gift to her family when they discovered the 21st Century Community Learning Center, an afterschool program offered by Middle Earth. Irma said that the program “provided me an opportunity to meet new people, learn, and do something productive instead of being at home alone watching television. As a child, surroundings inspire and influence you.”

When Irma moved on to high school and discovered that Middle Earth was launching the Youth College Readiness Program (YCRP), she knew she wanted to participate. No one in her family had ever attended college, but Middle Earth had already helped Irma realize that she had potential to do great things. She became one of the most active members of YCRP and served as a role model to other students, excelling in academics, community service involvement, and leadership.

“If it wasn't for YCRP,” Irma said, “I believe I would not have done my best in high school. Middle Earth's programs helped me step out of my shell, made me become more involved in my community, and also helped me walk the path towards college.”

In her senior year of high school, Middle Earth offered Irma another opportunity: to participate in a new program called Student Ambassadors for Community Health. Funded by New Jersey Health Initiatives and partnered with the Somerset County 4-H, the program prepares young people to become future leaders, while learning to identify and solve barriers to health in their own communities. Irma and her fellow Ambassadors spent the school year meeting with government and community leaders and ultimately identified street safety in Bound Brook as their focus. The team of students implemented a strategy this past July to improve street safety: building a parklet, painting street murals, and studying and implementing new crosswalks. The project was a big success!


Irma noted that Middle Earth “made me realize that, as a young human being, I am capable of doing plenty, that people who truly care are always there to help, and that being involved with your community is beautiful. I learned that I love to help others, and what better way to spend my free time than to help those around me.”

“Middle Earth is not like any other program," Irma said. "The programs they provide have amazing people that help you become a better you. They push you to succeed and actually want to get to know you. At the end of the day, they want to see us succeed because they truly care and they want a better outcome for the person they initially met at the beginning of the program. Middle Earth is part of what shaped me into who I am today.”

And, we are so proud of the responsible and caring adult that Irma has become! When she graduated this past June, Middle Earth awarded her a YCRP scholarship. We are pleased to tell you that Irma is now attending Raritan Valley Community College. We love participating in life changes and seeing young lives transform from uncertain futures to great possibilities. We invite YOU to be part of these amazing transformations!

Your tax-deductible gift helps youth, like Irma, learn the skills and gain the confidence they need to become the next generation of leaders in our community!