Thursday, December 27, 2012

Trenton Area Volunteer Organizations

TRENTON-- In preparation for Anwar's Reflections Martin Luther King, Jr. panel discussion on community service scheduled for January 23rd at 6 pm at Mercer County Community College in Trenton, here are some groups and organizations that might have some volunteer opportunities available if one is interested in helping out and being of service:

Trenton Area Soup Kitchen
Address: 721/2 Esher Street, Trenton, NJ 08609
Phone: 609-695-5456 - or with hearing or speech impairments can call 800-852-7899 for NJ Relay service.
Contact: Peg O’Halloran @ 609-695-5456 X-109

Habitat for Humanity of Trenton
You can go to their website to volunteer
Or need more information

The Children’s Home Society of New Jersey
Address: 635 Clinton Avenue, Trenton NJ 08609
Phone 609-695-6274

Big Brother Big Sister of Mercer County
Address: 535 East Franklin Street, Trenton NJ 08610
Phone: 609-656-1000

Boys & Girls Club of Trenton & Mercer County
Address: 212 Centre Street, Trenton, NJ 08611
Phone 609-392-3191

Trenton Free Public Library
Friends of the Trenton Public Library
Address: 120 Academy Street, Trenton, NJ 08608
Phone 609-392-7188 – Director Kimberly Matthews

Chamber of Commerce for Mercer County Region
Contact: Rob Kantenwein, Director of Operations

For more information on other activities surrounding Trenton's King Week 2013, visit Restoring Freedoms website by clicking here.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Anwar's Reflections Hosts MLK Panel Discussion at MCCC

TRENTON--Anwar's Reflections--a Trentonian affiliate-- will be hosting two panel discussions during historic King Week 2013 in Trenton to honor the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

 These two events are scheduled for Jan. 22nd and Jan. 23rd at Mercer County Community College's James Kerney Campus located at their Downtown Trenton site. These events will be held from 6 to 8 pm.

These public forums will focus on one of the fundamental questions that Dr. King posed during his lifetime, he asked: Where do we go from here: Chaos or Community?

Indeed, as the city of Trenton grapples with 24 homicides, a 48% graduation rate, and dwindling resources many people are wondering if we, too, are headed for chaos or community. As I said before, Trenton is in bad shape. Something has got to give. So it is in the tradition of Dr. King's eloquent words, that I am saying that now is not the time to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism or to consume the all too tempting shot of do-nothingness, but rather now is the time to address our community's issues in such a way that sparks ongoing and concerted action. It is my belief that now is the time to talk about service, in particular, community service.

During this forum, panelists will discuss things like, how can we better serve our communities? What practical steps can we take today to address the condition of our families, our schools, and ultimately our city? In what ways, do our everyday acts of community service help to bring King's well-known 'Dream' into existence in the 21st century? What, if anything, would Dr. King do if he were alive today? What are the challenges and opportunities surrounding servant leadership in the tradition of Dr. King?

Panelists will include writer Will Deshair Foskey, playwright Rashad Walker, Kieanna Childs Alexander, Duncan Harrison, Jerell Blakeley, Rio Swinson, Celestine Chukumba, New Black Panther Party Spokesperson Divine Allah, among others.

The event is free and open to the public at large. Refreshments will be available.

For more information on the event, contact Anwar Salandy at 609.968.6114.

If you want to hear this blog being recited by Anwar Salandy, click below to hear the audio version:

Listen to internet radio with anwarsreflections on Blog Talk Radio

Saturday, December 8, 2012

As Trenton Weathers Storm, Now Is The Time For Service

TRENTON-- With the mayor being indicted Thursday, three shootings just this past week, and a 48% graduation rate, is it any wonder that residents and onlookers alike are saying, "Mercy Mercy Me, Ohhh, Things Aint What They Used to be" as Marvin Gaye once said.

Indeed, Trenton was once a booming town. According to Trenton Mill Hill, this city thrived in the early 20th century due to its manufacturing economy. However, the state's capital now finds itself in quite a quagmire.

News reports from The Trentonian indicate that the city now has 23 homicides on record. And to add insult to injury, the city's only downtown hotel, the Marriott, is talking seriously about having its name changed because it has been struggling to post a profit since opening 10 years ago.

Along with these developments, Trenton small businesses like Cafe International and Can Do Errands have both decided to close their doors, while the owner of another small business, the Baldassari nightclub, has not decided to close his establishment, but has voiced serious concern over the city's violent crime.

Indeed, blind eyes can see that there's something rotten in the city of Trenton. But what's more important to know now is: where do we go from here? City council members and concerned residents alike are speaking out. On the one hand, we have Councilwoman Phyllis Holly Ward saying that "Silence and inaction is no longer an option". She went on to admonish members of the community by saying that we need to "clean up, stand up, and speak up".

Then we have South Ward Councilman George Muschal saying that he was in support of creating a curfew that would require teenagers to be inside by 10 pm. However, Trenton Police Director, Ralph Rivera, said that he would not go along with such a curfew. Rather, he plans to saturate "those areas where violence has been occurring to decrease the level of violence we've been experiencing".

Lastly, we have community activist Duncan Harrison recommending that we hire part-time police officers as a way to help a police force that was reduced by a third due to recent budget cuts. The mayor has even appealed to the Governor's office through a formal letter requesting more funding to address the crime issue, but there has been no response as of yet.

I personally think a curfew is going overboard and will not actually solve the problem, it unfairly punishes everyone when the problem wasn't caused by everyone. I think 'fair is only fair'. As far as saturating high crime areas is concerned, this idea has promise, but at the same time, it may just influence the city's criminals to migrate to those other areas of the city, still leaving us with a problem. At the end of the day, I think the best thing we can do is what Mayor Mack spoke about earlier this week, he said, "The Trenton Police Department can no longer be expected to carry the burden of crime reduction on its own. Parents and guardians need to step up and take control of their homes and children. For those that need help, speak up and speak out. Our administration will continue to do its part by reaching out to state officials to secure additional public safety dollars".

Indeed, I think we (myself included) need to stop complaining and start helping out and be of service to our community. I don't know about you, but it hurts to see my community crumbling before my eyes. It hurts so much that I have decided to volunteer with the Boys and Girls Club. Basically, I read to children once a week for two hours. And from speaking to the program's director, it sounds as though they need all the help they can get. And I'm pretty sure that other groups and organizations are in need of volunteer help as well.

Why not reach out to them and offer your services? If you just so happen to have a gift for mentoring, then why not be a mentor? If you have a knack for working with the youth or the elderly, then what's holding you back? Or maybe just maybe, you have about a hour a week, where you can start a neighborhood clean up on your block. Indeed, we can all be of service in our own way, we don't have to wait on public safety dollars from the State to get things done in our community. Sure, the funds can help and I do believe the government has a role to play in this, but at the same time, I say let's take the initiative as everyday people and start changing within for the better. What do you say?

For those interested in hearing an audio version of this blog recited by Anwar Salandy, click below:

Listen to internet radio with anwarsreflections on Blog Talk Radio

Monday, December 3, 2012

PC Trouble Stop By Mike's

TRENTON-- Is it just me or is does it drive you completely bonkers when you don't get good service from a store you do business with? Come on, don't be coy with me, you know what I'm getting at: the waiter that doesn't check on you until you say something about it. The dry cleaner that somehow misplaces a button on one of your favorite shirts.Or maybe it's the barber that pushes your hairline further back than you wanted. All of these experiences have  left me saying at one point or another what well-known singer Marvin Gaye once said, "What's going on?".

Yet at the same time, there are those other situations where a small business does get it right. As a matter of fact, just last week, my laptop needed a new USB port because the original one that was installed on the computer ending up breaking.

And you know, for a guy like me that likes to charge his phone and upload videos to YouTube, I knew I couldn't live without my USB port for too long. So, I went to Mike's Computers downtown Thursday afternoon. I have to admit, that day parking was tough,  but thankfully Mike was able to order me a USB port at no cost to me since I bought the laptop from him for a very affordable rate ($150). After he ordered the part, I had the piece in no time. I came back the following week and it was available.

Mike sells refurbished laptops and computers. In a recent Trentonian article, the store's owner, Mike Register, said "I try to make everything really affordable because we know what our customers want, and even try to stay under the competition’s prices,”. With laptops being priced at $150, $199, etc it seems as though the local entrepreneur doesn't just talk a good game, but rather he puts his money where his mouth is.

Despite the low price, my laptop runs like a charm, no performance issues. And if any problems do happen to pop up, Mike gave me a six month warranty, something he keeps his word to. On top of providing a quality laptop at an affordable rate, Mike and his assistant, Dave, are both helpful and professional. They greet you by name as you enter their downtown shop. I have to admit, it made me feel like I was on a episode of Cheers, a place where everybody knows your name.

In this busy and hectic world we live in, it can sometimes feel as though good business has become a thing of the past, but thankfully there are small businesses out there like Mike's that go the extra mile for the customer. That's why I recommend Mike's to anyone looking for a quality personal computer at a great price.

The shop is located at 228 East State Street, Downtown Trenton. For more information, contact Mike at 609.341.0951 or visit their Facebook page by clicking here.