WHO WE ARE
ASPIRA, Inc. of New Jersey (ASPIRA NJ) is a private, nonprofit community-based organization founded in Newark, New Jersey in 1968 by a group of parents and community leaders distressed by the high dropout rates of Hispanic/Latinx students. Since its inception as a small storefront in Newark, ASPIRA NJ has grown into a statewide organization, and has operated in cities such as Camden, Pleasantville, Jersey City, Paterson, Vineland, Long Branch, and the City of Newark.
ASPIRA NJ is an Associate of the ASPIRA Association. The ASPIRA Association is the second largest national Hispanic organization in the United States, providing services to over 5,000 communities. Each associate operates a variety of programs that grow out of the specific conditions and needs of their own communities. As an ASPIRA affiliate, we are dedicated to empowering primarily the Hispanic community and other minorities through the development of its youth. Our basic belief is that the path out of poverty must be through education. ASPIRA NJ implements a variety of evidence-based youth development, workforce development and social service programs designed to promote self-sufficiency within the Hispanic/Latinx community.
Since it's inception, ASPIRA has also operated and created several nationally recognized model programs – Juvenile Delinquency Alternative Initiatives, Evening Reporting Center (Essex County), Family Friendly Centers (Jersey City and Pleasantville), Family Success Centers (Newark), Carrera Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention (Newark), Upward Bound (Camden), and YouthBuild (Vineland).
In 1996, President Bill Clinton presented Dr. Antonia Pantoja with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the first Puerto Rican woman to receive this honor.