New Jersey’s Teen Magazine Literacy Program Creates Therapeutic Outlet For The Community
Pastor John H. McReynolds’ Jersey City Teen Magazine Literacy Program has impacted the lives of over 70,000 youth in New Jersey.
According to CBS News, Jersey City Health and Human Services partnered with Teen Magazine to provide high school seniors attending school in the district with the opportunity to engage in an eight-week program to improve the student’s well-being by focusing on education, mental health checks, and financial awards.
Tamika McReynolds, the wife of Pastor McReynolds, spearheads the program.
Tamika said, “Teen Magazine is simple, it’s to motivate, to encourage, and to let them know that you have a place that you can have a safe haven to be able to come and rock out with us.”
“Our kids think they can’t win, and when they don’t know they can win, we give them the access to be able to know that you can have a shot at the title, whether it’s internships, whether it’s job opportunities or whether it’s a financial blessing,” she continued.
The program’s published “Teen Magazine” addresses sensitive topics such as suicide and bullying. Each excerpt is a personal account written by one of the high school seniors.
Members around the city also lead the program. The team includes Abraham Lincoln High School Vice Principal Natasha Walker and Rasheen Peppers, a retired Newark Police captain. Walker believes the program “helps the students become more of who they want to be leading into adulthood. They get to find out what they like, what they don’t like, what they’re good at.”
“This program does provide children to open up about situations that are going on in their lives,” Peppers said.
In an interview with CBS News, Tamika and HOT 97’s DJ Wallah, a program mentor, spotlighted three grand prize winners of its annual writing contest. The students were asked to write about who they were at the onset of the pandemic and who they are now.
The first-place winner was Janasia Wood from Snyder High School, who was awarded $5,000. The second and third-place winners were Marissa Wilcher and Melanie Barrett, respectively.