Sponsored by the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders

Come and “STEP Up” to Help Students Help Each Other

All of Union County is invited to help high school students with a new student-created civic campaign this year called “Garments & Gear – Greatness for Years.” The campaign is aimed at helping ensure that all student athletes can obtain the necessary equipment and clothing, regardless of their financial situation.

Garments & Gear was developed by high school students participating in UC STEP, the Union County Student Training and Enrichment Program, an initiative of the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders.

“This exemplary civic campaign will help ensure that finances are no obstacle to students who want to engage in school sports with their friends and classmates,” said Freeholder Chairman Bruce H. Bergen. “It’s a great way to show that the Union County community respects and supports all young people who desire to work hard and excel.”

In the Garments & Gear campaign, high school students from across Union County will collect new and gently used sports equipment and clothing, raise funds by selling Garments & Gear merchandise, and reach out to the community for additional donations.

“Garments & Gear really demonstrates the value of having students brainstorm on civic projects,” said Freeholder Linda Carter, who conceived and launched the first UC STEP during her term as Chairman in 2013. “These young people recognized a significant need among their peers, and they envisioned how we can all step up together and pitch in.”

UC STEP is an annual youth development seminar and civic engagement project for high school juniors and seniors. This year’s UC STEP seminar was held in December with the participation of 195 students from 27 public, private and charter schools throughout Union County.

Each year, the highlight of the UC STEP seminar is the creation of original civic engagement campaigns by teams of student from different schools, working together for the first time. One of the campaigns is ultimately selected as a countywide project supported by the Freeholder Board. Garments & Gear was created by “Team Red,” consisting of 15 members from 12 schools.

Participating in the Garments & Gear campaign this spring are schools that were also represented on Team Red, including Cranford High School, David Brearley High School, John E. Dwyer Academy, Linden High School, New Providence High School, Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School, St. Mary’s High School, UC Vo-Tech High School, Union High School, Roselle Catholic High School, and Plainfield High School.

Governor Livingston High School, Union County TEAMS Charter School, Rahway High School, and Jonathan Dayton are also participating in the campaign.

Union County residents, businesses, organizations and local agencies can participate in Garments & Gear by bringing donations of new or gently used clothing and equipment to drop-off sites, listed on the County website at ucnj.org/uc-step.

To find out how to participate in Garments & Gear with additional funding call UC STEP at 908-659-7412 or email ucstep@ucnj.org.

The campaign will wrap up on Saturday, April 30.