What is Middle Earth? Sorry Tolkien fans, it has nothing to do with hobbits or rings, although the original founders were huge Tolkien fans.
Middle Earth is a non-profit, community-based agency located in Somerset County, New Jersey that has been providing services to adolescents for over 40 years. Our mission is to provide prevention, intervention and crisis services to help youth develop into responsible and productive members of the community. Our programs, which are free to our youth, guide teens in learning respect for themselves and others, serving the community as volunteers and choosing positive alternatives to gangs, drugs and crime.
Each year, Middle Earth serves approximately 1500 youth between the ages of 10 and 18 from all over Somerset County. Although the agency was founded on helping teens through mentoring, community service and positive recreation, we offer a great deal of additional services today. We provide employment and college readiness services so that teens will have marketable skills for employment. We provide positive afterschool programs for 3rd-8th graders. And, all of our programs offer crisis intervention, case management, youth advocacy, educational support, life skills education, socialization skills, informal counseling, and information and referral.
The staff focuses on meeting the needs of those children who do not have a support network or important resources to develop in a healthy way. If a working parent is not home after school, then that child can visit one of our community youth centers to find a safe environment to hang out with their friends, caring adults to listen, help with homework or fun group activities. If a child’s parent is struggling with substance abuse and cannot teach their child basic life skills such as budgeting or cooking, Middle Earth fills that void. If a child is caught in the justice system, Middle Earth teaches them positive decision-making and how to accept the consequences of their actions. We offer the kids a sense of responsibility to community through volunteer service which also demonstrates to the public that our youth are valuable resources.
Many of the young people we helped in the past are now our neighbors, co-workers or friends. Many work in local businesses, own homes, raise great children, pay taxes and volunteer in our community. It is because Middle Earth helped them believe they are capable of achieving high goals and that the horizon of their future is endless.
You can learn more about our services on our official website www.middleearthnj.org.