News and Events

Paterson’s Promise

Posted in: Office of Community Engagement and Partnerships

“After school at Paterson’s Public School No. 15, in a neighborhood facing challenges, its community service programming is in full swing, with classes in the performing arts presented as a means to boost student achievement. Nicholas Rodriguez, the executive artistic director of Inner City Ensemble, leads elementary students in stillness, mindfulness, movement and more. The uniform-clad group of students mimic his moves, then dance through their routine as he plays Santana’s “Smooth.”

A Juilliard-trained dancer and choreographer, Rodriguez got his start with this same ensemble in his hometown of Paterson, dancing with his older brother in the group’s first performance. He’s come full circle, now running the arts nonprofit that ignited his passion for dance and provides free training and performing opportunities for underserved youths in Paterson.

Rodriguez is one of many who believe – despite its deep struggles – in Paterson’s promise. There is profound pride and a deep reservoir of hope among the city’s community activists, 110 nonprofits and volunteers that outcomes can be better, that streets can be safer, and fewer lives can be lost to addiction and gun violence.”

Read full story and learn more about the “One Square Mile” project HERE!