Holy Trinity, West Orange held its annual God, Science, and Art Summer Program for the youth of the Church and the surrounding community. The program, held in the church’s Parish Hall every Saturday afternoon from July 15 to August 19, was attended by an average of 16 to 20 students at every session. This year, because of the shift in the demographics of the community, the sessions were conducted in a bilingual (Spanish/English) format.
To establish the connection between creation, science, and the gift of nature and life, as well as the need to care for the environment, each session started with a reading from the creation story in the Bible. An emphasis was made on water quality.
Participants were then introduced to several advanced mathematical concepts, including the Fibonacci Sequence, the Pascal's Triangle, the properties of the circle, scaling, and Fractals. They were shown how these concepts could be applied in everyday life.
Those participants with an interest in art benefited from the presence of a cartoon artist who participated in four of the five sessions and conducted classes in the elements of constructing cartoons. The smaller children were also able to practice their skills using the art supplies available.
The science component enabled participants of every age group with an aptitude for science to display their skills, using the electronic kits. This provided them with the opportunity to discover how everyday things around them function. This year, two groups of students built AM and FM radios, and two of the more advanced students built a computer.
Participants also had the opportunity to hear from various mentors, including West Orange Council President Tammy Williams and Mr. Felix Plata, Supervisor of ESL and World Languages, K-12, who spoke to the students about the importance of education and job opportunities in West Orange. Presentations were also made by several professionals who spoke about their careers, for example in cyber security, real estate, and small businesses. Former participants in the program returned to talk about their experiences in the program and how it helped them in school and college. Ms. Shanelle Chambliss, a student at St. John’s College in Queens and a Butts Scholarship recipient, spoke to the students about how to navigate the first year of the college experience.
We are grateful for the support provided by our area sister churches. The generous gift by St. Peter's, Essex Fells made it possible for us to acquire new and more advanced electronic kits, a computer project, and art supplies. In addition, we offered refreshments to the children every Saturday. St. George's, Maplewood organized a number of mentors who spoke to the children in the program. In addition, a group which runs a farmer's market in Montclair offered fruits and vegetables to the children and made a presentation on the importance of growing our own food.
At the conclusion of the program, the children were given school supplies, while enjoying a slice of pizza.