Prior to coming to Covenant House New Jersey, Emma could not remember a time in her life when she felt safe. Emma’s early years were spent in orphanages in China. She was adopted at the age of 6 and moved halfway around the world where she didn’t look or talk like anyone else. The transition to her new adopted family never really took. Her “father” was physically, verbally, and emotionally abusive. As Emma searched to discover her roots, she was kicked out of the only home she had ever know by her adopted “mom.” After unsuccessfully trying to stay with friends, Emma began sleeping in the only place she had left—her car.
Emma would park her car on a street near her college and try and sleep in the cramped space each night, month after month. Many nights the temperature fell below freezing. Emma counted the hours until daylight when she could get into the school building. But even then, she couldn’t shake the cold. During this time, Emma lost all hope and felt like she was in complete darkness. She wanted to give up on everything—school, job, even her life.
Eventually, Emma’s godmother found her and convinced her to go for a tour of Covenant House New Jersey (CHNJ) in Atlantic City. Emma’s reluctance began to diminish as she realized that at the very least, she’d have a place to sleep every night and something to eat. She would be able to shower and wash her clothes. So, Emma decided to give Covenant House a try.
Emma quickly learned that Covenant House New Jersey was so much more than “3 hots and a cot”. It was a place where she could begin rebuilding her life. While Emma lived at Covenant House she was able to continue going to college, graduating at first with her Associate’s Degree, then her Bachelor’s in Art Therapy and Social Work.
Emma credits Covenant House New Jersey with restoring her hope in herself and in her future. Through CHNJ she found 2 full-time jobs and saved enough money to move out on her own. Emma has been living independently for over a year now. Recently, Emma received a Masters Degree in Social Work from a New Jersey state university. Emma now attends an ivy league university pursuing an advanced degree in her chosen field.
When someone asks Emma to describe Covenant House she shares the words to the song, “Worth the Fight.” She believes it sums up her feelings and those of many of the kids who come to Covenant House for help:
But still the one thing I can’t deny
Screaming in my veins
Is that life is worth living
I’ve still got a purpose
When I can’t see the reasons
There’s still something inside of me saying
I can take the pain
Bring it on
Let it rain
It’s only gonna make me better in the end.
An organization you can trust.
87.3% of all expenditures went to Program Services (FY 2016).
Highest rating 8 years in a row
Covenant House New Jersey Locations
Headquarters – Crisis Shelter,330 Washington Street, Newark, NJ 07102
Crisis Shelter, 929 Atlantic Avenue, Atlantic City, NJ 08401 – 609-348-4070
Rights of Passage, 227 North South Carolina Avenue, Atlantic City, NJ – 609-348-1421
Outreach, 1419 Springwood, Asbury Park, NJ 07712
Outreach, 2113 Federal Street, Camden, NJ 08105 – 856-757-9111
Raphael’s Life House, 231 Court Street, Elizabeth, NJ 07206 – 908-354-4750
Outreach, Jersey City, 797 Westside Avenue, Jersey City, NJ 07308
Nancy’s Place, 32 South Willow Street, Montclair, NJ 07042 – 973-744-8174