Jeremy is currently a freshman at Seton Hall University where he jump started his college career by enrolling and completing a summer program. Two weeks into the program, he was named as a Martin Luther King Scholar for his academics and work with the homeless. He has also taken accelerated courses in Hudson County Community College and medical-themed classes at the University of Medicine & Dentistry of New Jersey. Jeremy’s professional goal is to become a medical doctor and specialize in neurosurgery. He also plans to perform research on diseases of the brain and environmental influences in breast cancer.
Jeremy’s community activism began at an early age. He advocates for the elderly, the homeless and needy families. In 2013, he was named “Pacesetter” for raising $2,500 to benefit Making Strides for Breast Cancer. He has volunteered for the Jersey City Police Department during National Night Out, during Christmas Toy Drives, and served as cast characters at a community Halloween Fun House held in the Hudson Mall in Jersey City. Throughout the years, he has also held food and prom dress drives for fellow students and families.
In 2011 and through his volunteer work at the Hoboken Shelter, Jeremy founded Soxcess; an initiative to provide the homeless with warm socks. Since 2011, Soxcess has distributed over 4,000 pairs of new socks and other basics at the Project Homeless Connect, the Palisades Emergency Residence Corporation in Union City, The York Street Project, St. Lucy’s Shelter (both in Jersey City), the Hoboken Shelter, United Way and The Jersey City Peace Movement in Journal Square. In his search for more sock donations, Jeremy reached out to major retailers. At Jeremy’s behest, the Jersey City Target store answered his call by providing volunteers armed with donated goods and food at the Hoboken Shelter each year. They also help prepare and serve lunch to shelter guests. Jeremy also partnered with LUSH Cosmetics in the Newport Mall in Jersey City, which continues to provide hand-made natural soaps to the Hoboken shelter. In addition, LUSH employees volunteer at the shelter by helping prepare and serve over two hundred meals on Event Days.
Two weeks after Hurricane Sandy, Jeremy was called into service by Hoboken Volunteer Ambulance Corps as a trainee/observer. While there, he was awarded a fee-waiver to attend night and Saturday classes at the Jersey City Medical Center in preparation for the New Jersey State EMT certification. Today, he is the youngest New Jersey State certified Emergency Medical Technician in his unit. At the Corps, Jeremy has logged over 300 hours of volunteer time where he responds to emergencies ranging from persons in medical distress to motor vehicle accidents.
On Thanksgiving Day 2013, Jeremy became part of a coalition of AngelaCares Inc. volunteers; a local not-for-profit that provides support services to seniors and teens. He helped package and deliver over four hundred Thanksgiving meals to senior citizens throughout the City of Jersey City.
Jeremy was recently named a 2014 Global Teen Leader by the We Are Family Foundation, where he represented the United States in a week long peace summit. He was one of 30 teen leaders chosen from eleven countries on four continents. There, he learned strategies in taking Soxcess to the next level from professionals in the media, print and film industries. In addition, Jeremy is a member of the DoSomething.org National Youth Health Advisory Council where he provides input on healthy lifestyles for todays’ youth.
As a member of The First Tee of Metropolitan NY golf program, he was recognized as its’ Outstanding Participant in 2013 and was awarded a scholarship from a pool of over five thousand members at the NY Athletic Club during the Master’s tournament in April, 2013. This award is given to the participant who embodies the First Tee nine core values, chapter participation and who also displays a humanitarian spirit. He was also honored with First Tee Community Service Challenge Award back in 2011. In September, 2013 as a member of The First Tee, Jeremy traveled to the Coca Cola headquarters in Atlanta as a one of five national semi-finalists vying for America’s Future Scholarship where he was chosen winner of a $5,000 scholarship. In addition, and through the First Tee program, he was also recognized for his work by the Whitney Family Foundation with a $20K scholarship.
In April, 2014, Jeremy was one of twenty two students chosen from the state of New Jersey as a N.J. Hero by First Lady Mary Pat Christie. Awardees were recognized for their work in communities and each earned a $5K scholarship. In the same month, he also traveled to Baltimore for recognition by the Carson Scholar’s Fund. He joined 400 national scholarship winners who exemplify academic achievement and for their humanitarian work. He has also earned scholarships by the Hispanic Business Council, Becca’s Closet, Key Club, The Asian Pacific Islander American Scholarship Fund, Metro PCS , the Comcast Corporation, The Simon Youth Foundation and the Maplewood Country Club. In May 2012, he was recognized as the Student of the Year at the Jersey City Puerto Rican Day parade.
Former student, Katayla Rodgers, had the privilege of experiencing many accomplishments after her graduation in 2003 from Explore 2000, which was her stepping stone. She took all the tools she received from Explore and used them in the rest of her future education.
Katayla soon went to County Prep High School and in 2007 she went to College of St. Elizabeth in Morristown, NJ, which she attended for a year and then decided to attend New Jersey City University to be closer to home. Katayla always knew she wanted to be a teacher, so she pursued a dual major in Early Childhood and Special Education. Despite being in school, she managed to still work and volunteer in many educational settings. The love for children has allowed her to volunteer in several districts where she assisted in multiple students activities. She had the experience of working with emotionally distressed and developmentally disabled children/teens in classrooms of children with various disabilities.
After graduation from NJCU in May 2014, Katayla worked as a substitute teacher for Source for Teachers in the Jersey City Board of Education Schools, while also being a home instructor for children in Trenton, NJ. She was also able to go back to where it all began and substitute in Explore 2000. Now, Katayla is able to take all the skills and tools she has learned from not only her various educational settings, but also from her various mentors and bring them into her own classroom. Starting in September 2014, she has had the joy of being a General Education Teacher in a second grade inclusion classroom.
Brandiez Jerido, 27 years old, is currently working to complete her certificate as a teacher of Theology at Manna Bible Institute located in Hainesport, NJ. Brandiez is employed by Freedom Mortgage Corporation as a closing coordinator. She loves to sing and write Gospel music. She is inspired to reach people through song for the uplifting of God’s kingdom.
Brandiez credits Explore 2000 for her success. After an uninspiring early experience in public school, she felt lost without a desire for education or a vision of its importance. Explore 2000 gave her the opportunity for one on one learning, hands-on activities and the formation of great partnership and friendships.
“During my Explore 2000 experience, were some of the best life changing experiences in my life yet. I learned that life may not necessarily be easy but as long as you continue to try your best, you will achieve results.”
“HCST taught me that learning can be fun and that it’s ok to be different. You do not have to follow the crowd but follow your heart because dreams really do come true. I personally have to say thank you to Mrs. Amy Lin-Rodriguez, because her one on one teaching is what encouraged me to understand that my mind has no limit and if I don’t get everything right as long as I keep trying I will get it right soon!”