Northern Valley students start a nonprofit organization, encourage teens to get involved
Four students in the Northern Valley area have risen above traditional community service efforts and established a non-profit organization named Change4Good Foundation to help other teens organize charitable events.
“In our society there are so many things that are wrong, and being able to raise money, get people involved and actually make a difference has impacted my life for the better,” said Ashley Dinerman, the director of teen engagement.
The group of girls, Alexis Arnold and Aly Rubin of Norwood along with Sam and Ashley Dinerman of Closter, grew up together and are now looking to make a difference by capitalizing upon their shared interest of helping those in need.
Two years ago, with the help of the Paterson Great Falls Rotary Club, they held their first annual Prom Perfect Dress Giveaway, a dress drive where gently worn dresses, shoes and jewelry are collected and are displayed for students to choose from.
The drives have been held at Passaic County Technical Institute, where students from all over Passaic County were able to partake in the drive.
“The girls energized us once they got involved. They motivated us to do more.” said Debra Flower, community service chairperson for the Paterson Great Falls Rotary Club.
The Rotary Club had collected donated prom dresses in the past but when Change4Good got involved, they took the drive to new heights. Flower explained that the first Prom Perfect Dress Giveaway had 50 students in attendance but the number ballooned to 125 in the second year.
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The third Prom Perfect Dress Giveaway will be held on May 14 at International High School in Paterson, where free tuxedo rentals, along with shoes and ties for boys will be offered. The drive will be hosting students from more than four high schools in the area, and, as usual, will have music playing and other activities, such as raffles for the students to participate in while they select their clothes.
For Sam Dinerman, the director of partner relations for the foundation, said working outside of the Northern Valley region has been an eye-opening experience.
“They live in a different type of community, but we are all so alike. We got to talk to them and build relationships with them so it changed our perspective on going to new areas.” Dinerman said.
Prom Perfect Dress Giveaway also served as a method to connect teens with their counterparts in other areas of New Jersey.
“Kids in this area may not want to spend time around certain areas because of rumors they might have heard,” said Rubin. “Without kids our age having those experiences they might just take what they hear and go with that, despite that it’s not true at all.”
Change4Good is expected to continue it’s work after the founders graduate over the next couple of years.
“Change doesn’t happen overnight. It’s not going to take days or weeks, it will take months and maybe years,” said Alexis Arnold, the director of community outreach.
Change4Good has also run an Annual Fundraising Gala for Breast Cancer Research and a Snack Pack Drive to Fight Childhood Hunger in addition to their partnering with Cell Phones for Soldiers, which uses money from recycled cellphone metals to purchase calling cards for military members far from home.
To learn more or to get involved, go to the Change4Good Foundation website at change4goodfoundation.com.