N.J. teacher appears on Ellen to discuss his impact on the lives of Newark’s youth

Apr. 22, 2022

Community outreach, musical talent and mentorship continues to shape the narrative that a recent The Ellen DeGeneres Show guest prides himself on.

However, for the Newark teacher, who appeared on the show on Friday, securing a better future for the young men in his community is the holy grail.

Known as JaRich to most, Jaleel Ritchwood-Jordan, 30, of Newark, is a special needs educator at Marion P. Thomas Charter High School, as well as co-founder of the school’s Boys to Men Mentoring Club.

“Boys to Men Mentoring Club is way for me to reach our young men in the high school and give them a place to be very vulnerable, and allow them to express themselves.”, Ritchwood-Jordan told NJ Advance Media.

Ritchwood-Jordan said Principal Chanelle Wolfe helped inspire him to found the club when she encouraged teachers to find new ways to connect with students. He said part of the slub’s mission is to combat ongoing gang violence in the city.

Ritchwood-Jordan’s appearance was part of an episode on influential individuals making strides in their community. He flew to Burbank, California, to tape the episode, which aired Friday.

Guest host Stephen “tWitch” Boss asked Ritchwood-Jordan questions stemming from community outreach to his non profit, Victim to Victor, which focuses on mentorship, homelessness, and feeding the Newark community.

“It is so important not only what you are doing, but the way you are taking up space and putting in so much inspiration and love,” Boss told Ritchwood-Jordan. “Especially as a Black man and a teacher. What you are doing for your students is really creating new paths.”

Boss and TisBest, a charity gift card company, presented Ritchwood-Jordan with $10,000 to help his outreach efforts.

“My experience during the ... farewell season of Ellen just proved that God is real and his timing is the best timing,” Ritchwood-Jordan told NJ Advance Media. “Everyone from my drivers to the entire Ellen staff made me feel right at home, and I’m so glad that I was able to be just a fragment of what the show stands for.”

In September, Ritchwood-Jordan set up a community drive that was geared toward helping better the lives of people in Newark who aren’t as fortunate as others. He donated over 100 coats, and all the money raised during the drive went to those who are homeless, as well as families in need.

Newark Municipal Council honored Ritchwood-Jordan with a resolution on January 21. Gov. Phil Murphy went honored Ritchwood-Jordan on his 30th birthday with a proclamation. “He (has a) timeless voice,” Murphy said in reference to Ritchwood-Jordan’s talents as a singer.

Ritchwood-Jordan credits God for his continued success. “Worrying about the storm won’t get you through it any faster. Faith and the will to survive will, though,” he told NJ Advance Media. ”Make your mark in this world and be the best you possibly can be by getting up everyday, deciding to put purpose over fear.

“You’re destined for greatness, but you have to believe it first.”

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published this page in News and Politics 2022-04-25 02:47:02 -0700