A different approach to combating  learning loss

A different approach to combating  learning loss

Coming live virtually from NJ Spotlight News, Joanna Gagis, Producer and Correspondent at NJTV News covers the Gem Project and its work from this past summer ” In Newark, a different approach to combating learning loss.” She speaks with fellows like Theodora Hoegah , a high school senior from North Star Academy Charter School. She speaks about how the summer wasn’t a typical one in that students had the opportunity to generate projects such as podcasts focusing on issues like social injustice. Students learned how to address inequities through the media with tools such as podcasts to increase youth representation and express their voices. The Gem Project has been blessed to work with organizations such as United Way of Greater Newark to have grants to work with Newark Public Schools to fund for their resources and projects. The grant given was to combat summer learning loss and to help enrich students media and social media skills.

Gagis asks the question of ” How do you feel the gaps of summer learning loss  with a program like this that is really geared towards activism?” Catherine Wilson, President and CEO of United Way of Greater Newark explains ” It still requires students to read, write, research, and participate with others when it comes to doing group projects together. ” Many other leaders within the Newark Community share this same passion about leveraging opportunities for Newark Youth such as Mayor Ras Baraka. Newark Mayor Ras Baraka says ” I commend United Way of Greater Newark for getting much needed resources into the hands of the incredible organizations that are expanding access to quality summer and out-of-school learning opportunities for Newark families.”

Students are shown speaking about their positive experiences about how it is helping them grow as a person and deal with sensitive issues they face. For the Gem Project and for much of the students they have appreciated their virtual learning experiences and adapted well given the worldly circumstances. The Gem Project continues to conduct virtual programming and is showing constant growth and learning opportunities from the interactions shared between coaches and fellows. The biggest legacy the Gem Project wants to continue to instill in the young people is that the work never ends and that despite being virtual incredible action steps can be taken.

“We champion on time graduation through peer mentoring, youth organizing, employment,  and service-learning initiatives, with a social justice approach.”

Sierra Cole is a communications and public relations professional.  In 2021 she joined The Gem Project as an inaugural Story Corps Fellow, capturing the stories and work of our youth organizers.⠀