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It is the week of Saint Valentine, and while it is great to have a special week when we let people know we love them, some people are spreading love to complete strangers who are in desperate need. One of those places is Sierra House in East Orange, New Jersey.

Sierra House is a non-profit organization that specializes in young adults from about 18 to 25. They provide them with a safe place to stay, food, and training that will help secure them and enable them to survive after leaving the facility. The non-profit was created by Keely Freeman in 2002. She is a graduate of Rutgers and NYU and while she has a degree in Economics and Non-profit Management, she chose to create a safe space for at-risk young adults and families.

Sierra House has three programs for rehabilitation; the Transitional Program, the Neighborhood Improvement Program, and the Family Support Services. The Transitional Program provides residents with learning activities that will transfer to lifelong independent living skills. They provide classes that teach regular hygiene, how to present yourself at interviews and to future employers, and how to maintain a job. By housing homeless youth, they are able to prepare them for a future where they can fend for themselves.

The Neighborhood Improvement Program helps to rehabilitate low income neighborhoods in East Orange and renovating homes for working members of the community. This will help with economic development and improve the lives of people in the neighborhood. The Family Support Service offers individual support services for eligible children, youth and young adults under the age of 21 with challenging behaviors and developmental disabilities. By helping students, they provide them with the ability to function in society.

If you are also looking to spread love throughout the community, you can give back through Sierra House. They have many events they need volunteers for and they also need tutors to help with their Family Support Services. They also accept donations. One very delicious way to give back is to buy from their new cookie line. This way, you can help out with funds while receiving delicious cookies in the process.

Ibu Akintola

Seton Hall '20

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