Middle Earth To Bring Program For At-Risk Students To Township

Ike Onyejiaka of Somerville-based Middle Earth speaks at the Jan. 1 Township Council reorganization meeting.

A Somerville-based organization will begin programs for township at-risk youth later in the month,

Middle Earth will provide the programs for students in Franklin Middle School and Franklin High School in rented space at 935 Hamilton St., beginning on Jan. 19, said Middle Earth’s Ike Onyejiaka.

Onyejiaka, a son of Township Councilman Charles Onyejiaka (D-Ward 3), told the council of the program at its Jan. 1 reorganization meeting.

Onyejiaka said the Hamilton Street location is temporary, with the hope being that the program would be moved into the township Community Youth Center planned for Lewis Street.

The grant-funded program will be run from 3-6 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays, Onyejiaka said.

“We’ll have staff there that have experience working with youth, and they’ll be running various life skills groups with the kids, we’ll also have a paid teacher there to help them with their homework, and we’ll also do different trips with them,” he said. “The idea is to not only give them a safe place to have fun, but also to decrease the chance of them getting in trouble and also help them with their homework and things like that.”

Middle Earth runs similar programs in Manville, Bridgewater and Bound Brook, “and it works,” Onyejiaka said.

“The things we focused on were the parents’ concerns,” he said. “We’ve been talking to the parents here in Franklin, a lot of them have been concerned about their kids not doing their homework, or getting more help for school.”

Onyejiaka said the group has met with the principals of the middle and high schools, and has also distributed fliers in those schools to promote the program.

“We also did outreach to other community organizations, they’re the ones already dealing with kids in our area, so they see who needs the help,” he said. “They’re referring people who want to be in the program.”


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