Founded by Natalie Tung, HomeWorks gives marginalized high school girls in Trenton, New Jersey, a safe place to come after school, with everything from housing and healthy meals to mental health counseling, bussing to and from school and more—all free of charge.
Natalie was inspired to start HomeWorks after experiencing the benefits of being in a community of women first hand. After repeating 3rd grade, Natalie went to boarding school, where she developed confidence, which she credits in large part to the women in the boarding school community. After becoming a teacher years later, Natalie saw that there was work to be done in the education system.
“When I was teaching in Trenton, NJ, I saw how our incredible community was being held back by systemic injustices where a lot of our students were struggling with chronic absenteeism, food insecurity, and having a stable and structured place to study,” explains Natalie. And from this, the idea of HomeWorks was born!
"HomeWorks is a free community-based after-school residential program," explains Natalie. "We transport our kids to and from school, we have family-style meals, and then our kids get to stay overnight throughout the week and then go home to their families on the weekends. We have a lot of programming that we do with our scholars. This includes mental health counseling, women empowerment workshops focused on safe dating and healthy relationships. We have dance workshops, poetry writing workshops, identity-based workshops where our scholars learn about how to advocate for themselves and to talk about difficult topics," she says.
"I joined HomeWorks not really knowing what I would really get out of it, not knowing that it would impact my life the way it really does, says one HomeWorks scholar. "They really helped me realize the things I truly do love about myself—and to become an even better person."
To help HomeWorks reach even more of their goals for expansion, we surprised Natalie with $10,000 from Stacy's Pita Chips!