8/22/2004 Journal News pg 2B

Naomi program wraps up for summer with awards

13 young people honored as part of annual ceremony

AnnMarie Marano

Special to The Journal News

Thirteen children who took part in Naomi╣s Program of Excellence were honored yesterday.

The third annual awards ceremony was held at the home of Wayne and Pamela Charles, one of the program╣s founding families.

Naomi╣s Program of Excellence was named after president and founder Jacqueline Cherry╣s daughter, who died at the age of 2 from a bone disorder.

It is a family-based program designed to provide cultural and spiritual enrichment to children who live in and around east Ramapo.

│This organization is saying we are doing right by our kids, and we want to do right by our kids,▓ Cherry said as she addressed the small group of children and parents. She said the point of the program is to work with and learn from one another.

The program╣s curriculum is designed by the parents. It consists of a six-week summer program and various volunteer opportunities that the children participate in every three to four months.

The ceremony was the culmination of the summer program. The honorees were ages 3 to 14.

Pamela Charles, parent and founder, explained to the group how the program keeps academics in mind, as well as social experiences. This summer, the children enjoyed skipping to Double Dutch and learning the fundamentals of soccer. Each child also decorated a posterboard that was meant to represent his or her personality.

As their parents held the posterboards, the children described the collages of pictures they had put together.

│The best way to predict the future is to create it,▓ 8-year-old Amber McGloster of Hillcrest read from her poster. With aspirations to be a pediatrician, she pasted pictures of children around the quote.

│I want to be the best of the best,▓ said another magazine clipping on the poster of 13-year-old Lawrence Jackson of Spring Valley.

This year, the summer session was held at the CEJJES Institute in Pomona.

After hearing that the parents of Naomi╣s Program of Excellence had been using their own homes to conduct the program, CEJJES offered its facilities.