The Montclair Neighborhood Development Corporation and Councilman Peter Yacobellis have launched an online fundraising effort to raise revenue to revitalize and restore the Project Oasis summer program for youth. 

Project Oasis is designed to eliminate the achievement gap for students of color, according to an announcement about the fundraiser. The program’s classes will instill and develop a sense of self-worth, knowledge, and awareness that will demonstrate to the students, achievement, and success are attainable, the announcement says. 

The fundraiser seeks to bring in at least $9,000 to help expand program curriculum and allow more young people to participate, according to the announcement. Those funds would pay for two additional program coordinators and three student counselors as well as support curriculum development, the release says.

 “Project Oasis is a program that is near and dear to me,” the Rev. Craig Dunn, head of the Montclair Neighborhood Development Corporation, said in the announcement. “Growing up in the area around Glenfield Park, I know the impact the program has had on my peers who took advantage of what was offered. It is my desire to see the program expanded to transform young lives and lead them to a pathway to a brighter future.” 

Project Oasis will offer opportunities for mentorship, with a focus on job preparedness, business planning, and economic development, building leadership skills, practicing wellness and participation in athletics, according to the announcement. In the past, basketball has been the main draw, but the program will expand to include tennis and soccer. 

“As a Long Island kid, I used to participate in the Police Athletic League summer camp program which helped me make friends, develop skills and keep me out of trouble (sometimes),” Yacobellis said in the announcement.  “I think investing in enrichment programs for kids during the summer is one of the best investments any of us can make not just for these kids for their futures but for what their futures can mean to society in general.”