Martin Luther King Youth Center gives children ‘the best’

Like many nonprofits, the pandemic has severely affected the Martin Luther King Youth Center in Bridgewater. Founded in 1973, the center welcomes disadvantaged children aged 5 to 13 in the Somerset County area, with the hope that they will acquire academic and professional skills.

Through educational programs that focus on character development and leadership skills, the center creatively engages children, he said. Currently, over 55 children participate in the programs during the year and over 100 attend its summer camps.

“For us, it was difficult and it was always about getting donations, volunteers to help the children with their homework,” said Executive Director Rajni Chopra. “But the center always strives to give the best to the children who participate in our program, because they deserve the best.”

While acknowledging a tight budget, Chopra said the center has been successful in continuing to provide child care services to needy parents since the start of the pandemic – with many restrictions to keep children safe, including mask warrants, temperature checks and making sure each participating child is healthy.

Fund for needy cases 2021:How to help your neighbors in need this holiday season

The center also continued to help children with homework and to connect virtually with teachers during school hours. It also has a library, a computer room and a team of certified teachers for each grade level. Children are supervised individually and in small groups.

“We offered to open as early as 10 am even though our centre’s opening hours are 2.15 to 3 pm,” Chopra said. “We are working with local school administrators to continually improve our program, especially in the areas of math, reading and language. Our hopes, as we continue to grow as a community, are to ensure that the quality and care for the children here remains at their highest standards. . “

The center receives state and federal grants, but relies primarily on donations. Chopra said the center has lost a lot of funding due to the pandemic, but she hopes the association will start receiving donations and funds in the coming year as “things improve.” The center did not charge any parental co-payments in 2020, relieving another burden on parents. In addition, many relatives were displaced as a result of Hurricane Ida, and the center made arrangements to provide them with transportation as well.

Despite the challenges, Chopra said the center is focused on its main mission: helping children.

“Our goal is to make sure these kids learn something and do very well in school,” she said. “So they can become something when they grow up and they can have a career. “

For more information on the Martin Luther King Youth Center, visit

How to support the Needy Cases Fund

From November 28 to December 5, the Courier News, Home News Tribune and are focusing on 11 organizations serving central Jersey as part of the annual Needy Cases Fund.

The Needy Cases Fund has a Central Jersey holiday tradition stretching back over seven decades. The community service project was sponsored by the Home News Tribune and its predecessor, the Daily Home News, in conjunction with the New Brunswick Lions Club. In 2021, the Courier News will again join the Home News Tribune to sponsor the association.

Send your donations (checks payable to the Needy Cases Fund or cash) to: Needy Cases Fund, Home News Tribune / Courier News, 92 E. Main St., Suite 202, Somerville, NJ 08876. Please do not send checks payable to the Courier News Wish Book program this year. Please indicate with a note if you wish to be recognized in a summary story on the program, or if you wish to remain anonymous.

Donations will be gratefully accepted until the end of December.

For questions, contact Carolyn Sampson at 908-243-6624 or [email protected]

Email: [email protected]

Cheryl Makin is an award-winning reporting and education reporter for, which is part of the USA Today Network. Contact: [email protected] or @CherylMakin.

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