Season of Giving: AECDC Helps Middlesex County's Youngest

EAST BRUNSWICK, NJ - Laura Gordon and Dana Schrager want to run East Brunswick next year. For now, they are committed to running Highland Park.

Track Friday is a movement that began four years ago to counteract the commerical effect of Black Friday and its blow-out sales. It has now grown into a fully-developed movement in which hundreds of people can run/walk for the charity of their choice.
This year the closest event (there are 4 locations particpating in New Jersey) will be held at the Highland Park Middle School track on Friday, November 27 from 10:00am to 1:00 pm. Participants can walk or run for as far as they like or as long as they like to raise some funds to support charities.

Read more: Season of Giving: AECDC Helps Middlesex County's Youngest

Car Seat Workshop Makes a Difference

As described in an article published in New Brunswick Today, the AECDC hosted a car seat training program on Saturday August 29th at the New Brunswick HUB Teen Center where more than 200 backpacks and 50 carseats were given away for free to more than 50 new and soon-to-be parents.  The AECDC received a grant from the State Farm Insurance Company to purchase the car seats and cover the costs of the training program.


Starting September 1, Small Kids Must Be Buckled in Rear-Facing Car Seats
Car Seat Giveaway
Event organizers pose for a photograph after the successful educational program and giveaway. Kofi Amankwaa
NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—More than 200 backpacks and 50 carseats were given away for free as part of back-to-back events held at the New Brunswick HUB Teen Center on Joyce Kilmer Avenue on August 29.

The backpacks went quickly, but more than 50 young and soon-to-be parents hung around the center, waiting to pick up baby car seats and learn the proper way to use them.

Though the car-seat giveaway has been an annual tradition for the past decade, it has special significance this year because of new state regulations requiring toddlers under age 2 and 30 lbs. to remain in rear-facing car seats.

Under the new law, which took effect on September 1, older kids have to be supported with booster seats until they are either age 8 or 57 inches tall as well.

The new legislation was signed by Gov. Chris Christie in May and violators will be fined $50 to $75 if they are caught by police with children in the wrong car seat or sitting in no booster seat.

After waiting inside the Teen Center for roughly an hour, the parents and their children walked over to the back of the building for a demonstration on how to place a child inside a car seat.

Anna “Cuqui” Rivera, the Administrative Chair of the Integrated Justice Alliance and representative of the Puerto Rican Action Board, led the demonstration.

“Today we were actually doing large demonstrations which are kind not what we are used to,” said Rivera. “You can get the headlines but you can’t get your hands on it and feel it as you should as a parent, because you are learning a lot of major things that’s going to help you and your baby stay safe.”

Rivera’s live lecture utilized three dolls, given the names Arturo, Trent, and Beatriz by the kids at the event, to showcase how to properly place a child in the car seat.

She also brought in some of the kids who were attending the event with their parents to show the adults how to place them in the booster seat.

Some of the kids were excited to be part of the demonstration. Others really wanted to go home.

The Car Seat Safety Class is an education program created by the Anshe Emeth Community Development Corporation (AECDC), which is based out of the city's largest Jewish temple.

The AECDC worked in conjunction with the State Farm Insurance Company to provide teachings about the importance of car seats for infants to low-income families.

“We hope that the parents learn that they need to know that they need to keep their child safe,” said Norka Torres, the Director of the AECDC.

“If your child is not in a car seat, and you’re in a car accident you could lose your children. They can get injured if their seat belt is not put on correctly.”

Torres and Rivera were invited by New Brunswick Public Schools and Walter Virgil, a Recreation Program Specialist at the Teen Center, to do a live workshop to show the parents how to place a car seat in a vehicle as opposed of being read the instructions at the Memorial Temple.

“We’ve been doing the baby program for over ten years,” said Torres, “and we are pretty blessed that we continue to receive funding.”

Rivera, a mother of six children, believes it is important that parents understand the importance of child safety when driving a motor vehicle; especially with the new laws being passed to ensure that parents follow the rules in regards to child safety in a car.

“I think this is the only place where a parent can be educated this way,” Rivera said.

About the Author

Kofi Amankwaa

Articles About Car Safety Program

Two local newspapers have published stories about the Anshe Emeth Community Development Corporation (AECDC) receiving $18,000 from the State Farm 2014 Citizenship Grant for an important child safety program. The C-CARS (Children’s Car And Road Safety) program offers car seat safety workshops given by credentialed instructors, as well as free car seats for AECDC parents who complete the training. 

  • Click here to read the article in New Brunswick Patch
  • click here to read the article in the North Brunswick-South Brunswick Sentinel

Full Article:

The Anshe Emeth Community Development Corp. (AECDC) has been awarded $18,000 from the State Farm Good Neighbor Citizenship Grant for a child safety program.

The Children’s Car and Road Safety Program offers car seat safety workshops and free car seats for parents who complete the training.

“Infant car seats are required by law, and they save lives. But there is no free source for them anywhere else in Middlesex County,” former AECDC President Deborah Cherniss said. “Even if parents can afford a car seat, they don’t receive instruction in its proper use. Through this State Farm grant, we can both give a car seat and educate the parents in how to install and use it to keep babies safe.”

AECDC is a nonprofit that provides a variety of free and low-cost services to lowincome individuals who reside in Middlesex County or Franklin Township. A referral from another established agency is needed, and the programs are available to everyone.


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