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Tom and Christine

United Way of Monmouth and Ocean Counties volunteer Community Impact Committee Chairperson Tom Hayes (who also serves as director of Customer and Community Relations for New Jersey Natural Gas) sits beside UWMOC Vice President of Community Impact Christine Jagerburger atop a lifeguard stand built by High School South students as part of Project SPEAR-IT, the CTE and career pathways program funded by the nonprofit.

March 16, 2022-- Since its inception in 2019, Project SPEAR-IT at High School South has been making tremendous strides as a CTE and career pathways program, and has very much caught the eye of its funding organization, United Way of Monmouth and Ocean Counties. So much so that-- in advance of a more formal, celebratory event scheduled for late spring-- UWMOC reps and volunteers visited HSS Monday and Tuesday afternoon to see firsthand what their generosity has helped build.

Build being the operative word, as UWMOC reps walked into a fully-renovated space which now holds equipment and tools that Project SPEAR-IT lead teacher Timothy O'Leary uses with his students to improve the school and community. A prime example of that community effort is the model lifeguard stand, one of eight that students will build for Ortley Beach thanks to an arrangement with Toms River Township. UWMOC reps tested the students' handiwork and the stability of the lifeguard stand, and it passed with flying colors.

The informal visits were full of positive energy and good vibes, as nearly everyone present-- including some district reps-- were stepping foot into the space in person for the first time, as the pandemic prevented such visits even though the program is in its third year. Much is being planned for the coming months, including a trip to the beach once all the lifeguard stands are complete.