Grand Opening of the LGW's Paiva Netto Educational & Social Assistance Center
The LGW’s teaching line shines on U.S. soil with the inauguration of its new educational center in Newark
Paiva Netto Educational & Social Assistance Center
The typically cold American winter morning was in stark contrast to the warmth felt in the hearts that were touched by the Solidarity and enthusiasm of the volunteers, teachers, authorities, and families helped, all of whom had gathered in the new Paiva Netto Educational and Social Assistance Center, of the Legion of Good Will (LGW) of the United States, in Newark, New Jersey, on March 4th, for its grand opening. The school is named after the President of the Organization, educator José de Paiva Netto, who sent a touching message to be read on the occasion. In it, he highlights the happy choice of the date that also marks the beginning of the Hora da Boa Vontade [Good Will Hour] program on Globo Radio, in Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), on March 4th, 1949, which was presented by Alziro Zarur (1914-1979), the late founder of the Organization—an initiative that in a few months would give rise to the LGW itself, which was officially founded on January 1 (Peace and Universal Brotherhood Day), 1950. The letter was read by Legionnaire Nicholas Beck de Paiva during a live broadcast by the Good Will Super Communications Network (radio, TV, and the Internet) and moved those who were present and the thousands of viewers who were watching the opening ceremony in various parts of the world.
Located at 138-140 Pacific Street, in Newark, the LGW’s modern teaching facility was designed to provide a variety of educational and community services. The Educational and Social Assistance Center opened its doors months before the official inauguration and was licensed by the State of New Jersey. It is equipped with all the necessary resources for providing excellent services in Early Education, including furniture, books, and toys that are suitable for developing each age group to the full. The building also has an auditorium, playgrounds, and an industrial kitchen, where nutritious and tasty meals are prepared on a daily basis.
The LGW’s school is open every day from 7:30 am to 5:30 pm. Full-time care includes nursery to preschool facilities for children from birth to 5 years old. Before-and-after-school programs are available for children between the age of 5 and 13.
Families can leave their kids at the new school without having to worry because they know they can work with peace of mind while their children are being well looked after. In addition to the infrastructure, those attending the school benefit from the socio-educational model that is used throughout the LGW's teaching network and social assistance programs in several countries, whose banner is education enlightened by Ecumenical Spirituality, which encompasses ethical values such as empathy, Solidarity, and Fraternity. The aim of this innovative and unique approach is to support and fully develop human beings, considering their spiritual, social, emotional, intellectual, and physical aspects, and to prepare them for assuming their roles as global citizens. All this care is applied via the Pedagogy of Affection (for children up to 10 years old) and the Ecumenical Citizen Pedagogy (from 11 years old onwards), which make up the LGW’s teaching line created by educator Paiva Netto in accordance with the motto he himself coined, “Here one studies. Brain and heart are formed.”
The unit will also host free or affordable social assistance, cultural, and ecumenical activities for the community on weekends, which will be of benefit to around 1,300 families. After the opening ceremony, Minister Fernando Sena, Deputy Consul General of Brazil in New York, who attended the event, stressed the relevance of this initiative: “This work is very important because it brings education and citizenship and helps combat poverty. This is fundamental for the Brazilian community living here, which faces many challenges. This center is a solution for these people. It allows parents to work while their children are studying. It’s a pleasure to be present at this inauguration. The consulate and the Legion of Good Will of the United States have a very close partnership, a very constructive collaboration for the benefit of the community."
Ligia de Freitas, Deputy Mayor of Newark, who was also at the event, said that she had seen the construction of the educational center from up close and praised the union between the local city hall and the Organization: “I went through all the processes. And hopefully, we're going to continue the relationship between the city of Newark and the LGW. It’s good to have partners and work together, for the result is this building. And the most important: it’s for the future of our kids. It is a big impact on the community since the moms and the parents can feel safe in their minds to go (to) work because they know their kids are in good hands, in a good place, and are being educated. No money can pay it. It gives me warm on my heart.”
U.S. Senator Congratulates the LGW of the USA
A few days before the inauguration of the Paiva Netto Educational and Social Assistance Center, U.S. Senator Cory A. Brooker sent a letter to the administrative office of the LGW of the USA, congratulating the Organization on yet another victory. He wrote: “This occasion represents more than just the building of bricks and beams, but symbolizes an ideal—that no one, regardless of background or socio-economic status, shall be left behind. Thank you for your endless generosity, love, and devotion to serving others. Congratulations on this remarkable milestone, and I look forward to your continued success.”
A dream come true
Building this project was challenging right from the outset when, in 2016, the Organization acquired an unfinished building that had been abandoned for almost two decades on Pacific Street, which has been completely renovated and expanded, increasing the usable area from 300 to 700 square meters. The audacious goal was to carry out an extensive renovation and expansion of the site in order to transform it into a center of excellence in Early Education and community service. To do so, the LGW launched an important campaign with the community to make the project viable.
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, inflation, and the rising price of construction materials, the LGW had to rely on the actions of many of its Friends of Good Will to complete the renovation. “This undertaking is the result of a lot of love and dedication of ordinary people in our community, talented professionals in the area, countless collaborators, and strategic partners. The decisive help of these individuals overcame immense barriers and difficulties, including a pandemic, to make this bold dream a reality,” said Danilo Parmegiani, the manager of the LGW of the USA.
“It's absolutely beautiful [the building]. As I said in my remarks [at the event], it makes me feel like I want to be a little kid again. The colors, the way it's decorated, the materials, they're just so supportive of young children and their need for a safe, nurturing environment to learn. We are thrilled to get to be part of it. To renovate a rundown building sends a message to the surrounding neighbors that this is an important place, and that people are willing to invest in it. Obviously, for the kids, it's a place where they're going to feel loved, and they're going to really receive a great education. And then for the parents of the kids, this is going to allow them to go to work, knowing that their children are going to be in this terrific environment, and safe, and really cared for so deeply.”
GREG MAHER - Executive Director of Leviticus Fund
“My son has been here for five months, and I'm loving it; I only have good things to say about the Paiva Netto Educational [and Social Assistance] Center. The affection, the dedication, the care they have for my little boy . . . I leave Brian here and I go to work and I’m not worried. I’m at ease because I know he’s in good hands.”
GISELE XAVIER - Mother of one-year-old student Brian
“I’d like to thank all the people who made this school possible. It was sorely needed in this area. As a single mother, I need to work, and one of the biggest concerns I had was finding a place where I could leave my baby. [But now] every day, she takes her little jacket to go out, because she wants to see her teachers. It makes me very happy to know that my daughter is being really well looked after. Thank you so much to everyone who made this possible, from those who built [the place], to the teachers who take such good care of the children, and to the principal. This place is a blessing.”
JULIANA GOMES - Mother of one-year-old student Maila
The LGW’s new unit in the United States was featured in the local media, such as the Luso Americano newspaper, which had a full-page report written by journalist and Friend of Good Will Vera Reis. A segment by journalist Eduardo Barão on BandNews TV in Brazil was shown on March 4.
Grand opening of the LGW's Paiva Netto Educational & Social Assistance Center
Some of the LGW-USA's main partners visiting the new school: representatives of the eNpower initiative, of Brahma Kumari at the United Nations, and of Purpose Med Solutions.
Some of the volunteers and partners who took part in the opening ceremony of the LGW-USA’s Paiva Netto Educational and Social Assistance Center.