Living and Thriving Union County

1st Edition - November 2021


Investing in youth programs brings endless rewards. A few years ago, Boxwood Learning Center had the privilege of running a career exploration program. Juhuad Bernaola (photo below) was more than a youth participant. He naturally became a peer mentor who helped other youth with their social media and graphic design projects.

The first edition of Living and Thriving Union County will be interviews of Boxwood champions who have interesting career pursuits.

I wish you all the best while thriving on,

Marie Thelusma-Chase

Boxwood Learning Center



Juhaud B. - BMW Auto-Mechanic

When we founded Boxwood, our vision was to live in a world where local youth are not only working in their communities but giving back. Juhuad is an example of that. The following interview was done by Paul A of Juhuad B, both participated in the Career Exploration & Job Readiness Program.

The CEJR program is a county-funded program that provides job training, internships, and job readiness workshops for eligible youth.

Q: Where are you from originally?

A:My family is from Peru, but I was born in America. I currently live in the Elizabeth City and work in Cranford Township as a mechanic specializing in BMWs.

Q: What did you do once you completed CEJR Program?

A: Life has been good to me since I graduated from CEJR. Once CEJR program was completed, I interned at a car repair shop, and attended Universal Technical Institute, a trade school in Bloomfield, NJ.

Q: How important is it for a young person to stick to their dreams?

A: It’s extremely important for young people to stick to something instead of being indecisive on what they want to do with their lives.

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Q: What advice would you give to people if they want to go to trade school?

A: The best advice that I can give is that you need to be very focused on what you’re doing, and enjoy it. Choose something you’ll want to be doing everyday. My final advice is that having perfect attendance at school and work is good because it shows perfect responsibility & shows that you are loyal to what you do.

Q: How important is it for others to volunteer/intern to get experience?

A: There are a variety of things you can be learning and doing while having fun. Look around in your community for opportunities to serve or volunteer at a local business. Learn while you are young.

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Paul A,

Interviewer, CEJR Graduate

Congratulations Malakann K, age 16,

Class of 2021! (photo to the right)

Congratulations to all of our 2021 graduates. Boxwood assists with preparation for the high school proficiency exam, college applications, and continued support.

A special thank you to everyone who assisted one of our college students in raising tuition to attend school in Fall 2021. Many, many thanks to all who contributed; 100% of your contribution went towards tuition assistance for a youth impacted by

Hurricane Ida.


"Never Let the Future Disturb Your Peace"

by Bryan Lorenzo (Boxwood graduate)

Support our online t-shirt store - all quotes from students

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Photo by Cytonn Photography on Unsplash.jpg

There are many ways you can support our rising stars!

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 program is funded by the Union County Youth Services Commission through a New Jersey Juvenile Detention Alternative Initiative Grant. The Union County Youth Services Commission is part of the Union County Department of Human Services, Division of Youth Services.

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