An Online Guide by Rutgers Directs Residents to New Jersey Resources

An Online Guide by Rutgers Directs Residents to New Jersey Resources

‘Rutgers Helps New Jersey’ begins with greater Newark area with a goal to expand statewide
Media Contact
Steve Manas
848-932-0559

An online resource guide produced by Rutgers University is providing professionals and members of the public with a new tool to navigate a complex array of federal, state and local resources that range from after school programs and adult day care to housing, immigration and vocational training services. 

The free, English language website, “Rutgers Helps New Jersey Resources Guide,” combines the expertise of Rutgers’ School of Social Work (SSW) in New Brunswick and Rutgers School of Law-Newark, with assistance from students and faculty of Rutgers Business School-Newark and New Brunswick, and Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences (RBHS).

The project was funded with a $25,000 grant from the Health Care Foundation of New Jersey to the Education and Health Law Clinic and co-directed by SSW associate professor Patricia Findley and Jennifer Rosen Valverde, a clinical professor of law.

“We’re extremely pleased with the initial outcome, but there’s a lot more work to do,” said Valverde, who recruited law students to gather legal-based assistance for the guide. The first phase of the project covered resources for Newark and its surrounding suburbs with plans to eventually expand its scope statewide. The group is also pursuing fundraising partnerships to create a Spanish language version of the guide.

Newark Free Public Library
Rutgers field interns began their research of the city at the Newark Free Public Library.
Jim Henderson
The project relied heavily on the research skills of three first-year students in the School of Social Work’s MSW program. As part of their field internship, Kareim Oliphant, Lauren Guzzo and Clarisa Claeyssen visited the Newark Public Library to learn about the city, its origins and its different ethnic groups and culture. They walked Newark’s streets and neighborhoods to visit – and in some instances unexpectedly discover – many of the more than 325 agencies included in the guide. They interviewed staff and clients, and collected, updated and verified information, often scouring out-of-date, niche databases in search for useful leads.

“There was so much research to do and some of it was frustrating, such as when they found many of the agencies from other databases had closed,” said co-director Findley. But, she added, the students really saw the value of their work once they spent time in the community. “They got to know Newark and the real needs of the people, such as a lack or unavailability of resources, malnutrition and poverty.”

With the help of the Rutgers Business School, the project has created a low-cost direct marketing plan that includes social media, email blasts and the creation and distribution of fliers in both English and Spanish to about 1,400 field instructors who work in social service agencies, clinics and schools, as well as to RBHS schools and units in Newark.

The website is powered by Pro Bono Net, an organization that specializes in the use of information technology and collaboration among the various parts of the public interest legal community.

Media Contact
Steve Manas
848-932-0559