Certified Angels, providing a safe space through the Arts where our youth feel embraced and comforted for who they are while discovering their inner talents. We encourage creativity, self - awareness and physical activity while supporting them in their journey to become the best version of themselves.
We envision a place where our members discover their inner talents and develop new passions through the Arts. A place that encourages each of our members to become more aware of who they are and recognize their full potential, while working hard and believing in themselves. Certified Angels will provide them with a safe haven, an opportunity to express themselves, and a platform to tell their stories through Art.
& THE NEED
The City of Passaic, also referred to as the fastest growing city in New Jersey, is home to approximately 71,085 residents, according to the 2015 United States Census. That marks this Passaic County city as the 15th largest municipality in New Jersey. 71% of Passaic's population is Hispanic/Latino, 10.6% is Black/African American, and 16.1% is White. 74.8% of families speak a language other than English at home. In 2015, the median household income was only $31,832. Furthermore, 31.6% of Passaic residents live in poverty.
Unfortunately, only 65.7% of Passaic residents ages 25 and older are high school graduates. 31.5% of the city's population consists of persons under the age of 18. That's where we come in! Certified Angels aims to provide a high-quality arts afterschool program to the children in our community. After the school bell rings, violent juvenile crime triples between the hours of 3 and 6 PM. Kids are more likely to engage in other risky activities and/or become victims of violent crimes themselves.
Students involved in extra-curricular group activities afterschool tend to perform better in both behavioral and academic areas during the regular school day. Good after school programs, like ours, are proven to reduce risky behavior in children and teens, while keeping them safe and out of trouble, as well as model how to succeed in school and in life.
Join our cause and "Help Us Spread Their Wings"
The idea for “Certified Angels” first came about in October of 2013, after its founder, Jessica Delacruz, decided to follow her dream and pursue her inner most desire to make a difference. Simply stated the vision is to develop and promote talent in our children in Passaic. Jessica graduated from Passaic High School and was an active member in the Modern Dance Club, Latin American Student Organization (LASO), NJROTC, and in other extra-curricular activities throughout her years as a student in the City of Passaic. Ms. Delacruz always believed that there was more to life than just working a “9-5” job. She was determined to fulfill her calling, make a difference, and leave behind a legacy. Growing up in Passaic in a single parent household, enabled her to develop the image that she wanted for her community. She has been active in various agencies that have implemented after-school programs in our area. Furthermore, it has been her aspiration and passion to start her own Arts Program in the City of Passaic. She believes that an abundance of talent is going undetected as a result of lack of coordinated effort and opportunities. For this reason, Certified Angels was born.
The name, “Certified Angels,” originated with the birth of Ms. Delacruz’ s first child. Her daughter, Jaslene, was born twelve weeks premature and faced three near-death battles within her first four months of life. Jessica spent each-and-every day beside her daughter’s incubator. As a result of her consistent nurturing, love, and dedication, Jessica was able to help spread her daughter’s wings. After Jaslene’s release from the hospital, Ms. Delacruz ensured that she was provided with the best medical specialists and early intervention services. Presently, the little girl that Doctors’ said would most likely experience learning disabilities and developmental delays is an honor-roll student exceeding doctors’ expectations. Certified Angels aims to help our youth overcome their own battles. As a result of our consistent nurturing, love, dedication, and guidance, Certified Angels will be successful in “helping our youth spread their wings.”
Certified Angels’ youth will be capable of facing the world without fear, reaching their highest potential, and believing that anything and everything is possible. More importantly, they will understand that despite any adversities they face, whether coming from a single-family home, living in a low-income community, or not having the funds necessary to be exposed to extra-curricular activities, they can still achieve greatness. Certified Angels will help them overcome those obstacles by providing them with a safe haven, an opportunity to express themselves, and a platform to tell their stories through Art.
Our organization’s mission is to Make A Difference by offering our youth the ability to find comfort in who they are, discover their talents, and learn how to share them with the world. Most importantly, it is our aspiration to provide each-and-every one of them with a space where they feel loved and supported to become the best version of themselves.