Local children's agency wins third straight 'HI-Impact' award

West Milford. A local children’s organization recently won national recognition for its programs, according to a press release from the organization.

07 Jan 2020 | 03:36

Hands In 4 Youth, a local not-for-profit agency providing educational and enrichment programs for children from under-served communities throughout New York and New Jersey, recently received its third consecutive HI-Impact Award, the organization announced in a press release this week.

The agency scored in the top four percent of nearly 460 youth agencies serving some 27,000 young people nationwide, based on the annual assessment of the agency’s impact on participants in its summer sleep away camp program, the organization said in a press release.

The award comes from Hello Insight, an innovative online platform developed by the firm Algorhythm, that leverages AI and research-based tools to evaluate Social and Emotional Learning skills in young people across the country, the release said.

“This is an extraordinary feat, as the competition has gotten steeper as more programs across the nation join the Hello Insight community,” Algorhythm CEO Kim Flores said in the release. “The development of SEL is now more important than ever, with growing evidence showing that SEL qualities rival academic or technical skills in their ability to predict employment and earnings, among other outcomes.”

According to the organization, Hands In 4 Youth’s mission is to inspire young people from diverse backgrounds to be fully engaged in school and life, so they have opportunity and choice to pursue their dreams.

The organization was founded in 1924, and continues to build on its 95-year history with a year-round calendar of programming for youth from underserved communities: summer camp and school-year programs at its Camp Vacamas site in West Milford, as well as its daily Afterschool Enrichment Programs at partner public schools in the South Bronx and Manhattan in New York City, its website said.

“Winning the HI-Impact Award three years in a row is a tremendous validation of the impact we have on underserved young people,” HI4Y Executive Director Lee Bell said in the release. “We bring hundreds of children to our Camp Vacamas every summer, and give them a safe, nurturing environment to learn and grow together. This shows that what they learn with us will support their success throughout their lives.”