PATERSON, NJ — The New York Giants and Eva’s Village are proud to announce a partnership to address the social justice and socioeconomic disparities facing inner-city populations that Eva’s Village serves.
Since 1982, Eva’s Village, based in Paterson, N.J., has been a community pillar that provides care and support to individuals struggling with food and housing insecurity, underlying substance use, mental and physical health disorders, and lack of job readiness or access to employment.
Over the last few months, a group of 13 Giants players and coaches have committed time to educational Zoom meetings with Eva’s staff, learning more about the men, women, and children that the nonprofit serves and the areas where support is most needed, especially where those needs have been magnified by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Together, the Giants and Eva’s Village will develop a mentoring program, pairing each team member with one or two clients, working with those who receive outpatient treatment and support as they recover from substance use disorders. “Both Eva’s clients and the Giants mentors will benefit by making personal connections,” noted Heather Thompson, Eva’s Village EVP of Development and External Relations. “The mentoring relationship will give the Giants a deeper understanding of the underlying issues to recovery and the barriers to stability their mentees face. A one-on-one relationship with a national sports figure may very well provide the spark of care that may make the difference that helps an individual maintain sobriety and recovery,” she said.
“We are excited about the partnership with Eva’s Village. We believe that we can have an impact by supporting Eva’s clients and the important work that Eva’s Village does, and by raising awareness of the issues that lead to addiction, homelessness and food insecurity, ” said Giants Evan Engram, who is serving as the captain of the group of Giants players working with Eva’s Village.
Angela Broxton-Terry, MSW, LCADC, Eva’s Director of Substance Abuse Counseling & Criminal Justice Services Coordinator said, “Most of Eva’s residents and clients have never learned to trust anyone - they grew up without love or encouragement from a teacher, a parent, or a relative. Most have experienced childhood trauma, neglect, abuse, and violence. Some never met their fathers; others had parents who were incarcerated, suffered from mental illness or addiction; or died of overdose. Learning to trust is an important step towards healing. Many of Eva’s clients learn to trust for the first time at Eva’s, supported by our counselors and others recovering from similar trauma.”
The individuals served by Eva’s Outpatient Program struggle not only to overcome addiction, but must face the related obstacles of generational poverty, homelessness, lack of opportunity and access to health care. The table below clearly shows the COVID 19 demographic disparities in Passaic County, where Eva’s Village is located.
COUNTY POPULATION CHARACTERISTICS*
Passaic County New Jersey United States
% Hispanic or Latino 41 20 18
% Minority 58 44 39
% in Poverty 17 10 14
% Uninsured 14 9 11
The goal of the mentoring program will be to create relationships that will help those individuals overcome the obstacles that they face.
“Integral to the success of our programs are the personal relationships we create with our clients through our services and treatment. Human interaction is vital to ongoing recovery from poverty and addiction,” explained Marie Caliendo, Eva’s director of philanthropy. “We hope to establish a permanent mentoring program, that will build on the experiences and feedback we receive from both the Giants and our clients”.
Giants are bringing some valuable skills and resources to the project, most notably, their familiarity with key relationship building elements, such as teamwork and trust. Engram noted, “Our number one goal as a football team is to develop and build trust. We understand the importance of teamwork, and in order to build trust it’s all about commitment to each other and the team, holding ourselves and our teammates accountable, being a good listener and talking things through. Those qualities are what we are excited to bring to the mentoring program at Eva’s Village.”
Beyond the mentoring program, the Giants players will also help support fundraising efforts for Eva’s Village by championing a donation campaign throughout the season. More information on the campaign will be forthcoming.More about Eva’s Village
Founded as a soup kitchen in 1982, Eva’s Village began by serving 30 meals a day to feed the hungry in Paterson. In response to the related issues of poverty, addiction, mental illness and homelessness, programs and services grew out of the original soup kitchen to address these needs. Today Eva’s Village is a non-profit, comprehensive behavioral health and social service organization with a mission to provide care and support for people struggling to overcome obstacles to recovery, independence, and stability.