Guiding Families Towards Home
What we do at IHN

Afterschool Program and More

IHN provides a free afterschool program five days a week for children in shelter and permanent housing at the IHN Family Resource Center in Montclair.


Designed to help reduce the significant effects of homelessness on children (see facts below) while providing parents with relief from the cost of childcare, this program includes academic tutoring, enrichment activities, and healthy living education. Teachers from Montclair High School provide pro bono tutoring four day a week to help students increase their proficiency as needed in language arts, math, social studies, science, and history. Enrichment activities take place each Friday and utilize volunteers who often lead a special activity or workshop with the children. If you are interested in volunteering in this program, please contact Angie Benedict.


Joyce with students

Facts show that children experiencing homelessness:

  • Are four times more likely to show delayed development.
  • Are twice as likely to have learning disabilities as non-homeless children.
  • Within a year, 41 percent attend two different schools and 28 percent attend three or more schools. Each change sets them back four to six months.
  • In grades three to 12, only 48 percent were proficient in reading and only 43 percent were proficient in math.


(Facts gathered from National Center on Family Homelessness, Coalition for the Homeless, and the National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth.)


Programs for Parents

IHN also offers programs for parents including a parenting group and workshops such as money management, nutrition, and healthy cooking. The Parenting Group is a gathering of moms whose children receive tutoring at IHN. Meeting once a month with Brenda Myrick, IHN director of Social Services and Dr. Pam Joyce of Montclair High School, parents receive guidance for supporting their children's education.


Joyce moderates the sessions, discussing topics such as navigating the educational system to secure services for their children,  techniques for helping their students with homework, and more. Parents also have the opportunity to discuss problems their children may be having at school and brainstorm the best ways to help them. At the end of each session, the moms take home "to do" assignments — things they can work on to improve their children’s learning environment.


The classes have been a big hit with parents. They are grateful to have mentors who can give them the support and confidence they need in order to help their children become better students with brighter outcomes.



IHN Children Visit the Red Cross and the Montclair Police

Children in the IHN Afterschool Program look forward to their Fridays. That’s when they get to participate in a Fun Friday activity. Recently, they walked to the American Red Cross - North Jersey Region, just down the street from IHN and met Eileen Painter, Manager of Volunteer Services, who trained them on how to respond to an emergency. They learned the stop, drop and roll protocol in case of a fire and how to report an emergency by calling 911. In fact, they engaged in role playing to make the training come to life. Lastly, they decorated pillowcases, the brainchild of a college student, that could be used as a quick way to stuff some much-needed belongings in the event of a home evacuation.


On another recent Friday, students again kept it local by walking to the Montclair Police Department. Detective Michael Lococo of the Juvenile Aid Bureau gave them a tour of the Juvenile Department where they saw a holding cell, learning that this was the place where children who committed crimes were detained until their parents could pick them up. He pointed out that small crimes can escalate to big crimes and encouraged the kids to stay on the right path.


The officer also touched on the racial issues that have been in the news and emphasized that police are there to help and that citizens shouldn't be afraid of them. At the end of the tour, the officer handed out items to remind them of their afternoon.

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"Words are truly not enough to express my sincere gratitude for the help and resources provided to me and my family during our crisis and time of need. Without you and IHN's generous support who knows what the outcome would have been for me and my daughters. You and Interfaith Hospitality Network will always have a special place in our hearts and I feel truly blessed to have come across the generosity and help when I was truly down on luck and pessimistic."