By: Andrew Mees, Director of College and Athletics Communications Communications@bloomfield.edu
The Bloomfield College Coaching Health for African-American Males to Promote Success (C.H.A.M.P.S.) Program gave students the chance to give back during the holiday season, as the group offered its volunteer services at the Community FoodBank of New Jersey in Hillside, N.J. Dec. 13.
A collection of six C.H.A.M.P.S. coaches and current Bloomfield students visited the facility and helped create food boxes during their two-hour stay, also helping with the separation of materials for recycling and disposal as part of their community service experience.
“Getting involved in community service was a humbling experience,” said participating student Al-Jahaad White. “Being a part of it made me feel good, and it’s great to know the work you’re doing is going to help a lot of people.”
Launched in September 2012 and funded by the Predominantly Black Institutions (PBI) Competitive Grant, the C.H.A.M.P.S. Program brings together individual coaches with African-American male students to develop their short and long-term goals. The initiative is designed to increase the retention, graduation and academic success of African-American male students through an intensive coaching program.
Trained C.H.A.M.P.S. coaches include Bloomfield College alumni, staff, and community members dedicated to the success of the institution’s current students. Each of the coaches boasts prior coaching experience, and an understanding of the unique challenges facing African-American male college students. In addition to monthly group events centered on personal and professional development, students also engage in one-on-one personal coaching sessions with a designated C.H.A.M.P.S. coach.
A member of the non-profit organization Feeding America, the Community FoodBank of New Jersey provides education and programming throughout the Garden State, and has distributed nearly 500 million pounds of food since its incorporation in 1982.
“We were so pleased to host the C.H.A.M.P.S. Program at the Community FoodBank of New Jersey,” said Sue Yurasits, a volunteer resources manager with the organization. “The FoodBank would not be able to provide food and other essential resources to nearly a million New Jersey residents annually without the help of our volunteers. We are so grateful that thousands of volunteers every year choose to give their time and support selflessly to support our mission and help their neighbors in need."
The C.H.A.M.P.S. Program will hold its next event April 10-12, when they will travel for their semiannual retreat to Camp Mason in Martinsville, N.J. Students wishing to join the C.H.A.M.P.S. Program should contact Gina Thomas at (973) 748-9000 ext. 1682 or firstname.lastname@example.org.