- Oprah Winfrey has donated $500,000 to an after-school program in Newark, New Jersey, CNN reported.
- The money will be going to the school’s Lights On program, which provides students with a safe space every Friday night, Winfrey wrote in a Facebook post.
- The program is run by West Side High School’s principal Akbar Cook.
- In addition to starting the Lights On program, Cook installed washing machines at the school to help students who were being bullied for having dirty clothes, CBS News reported.
- Visit INSIDER’s homepage for more stories.
On Friday, Oprah Winfrey visited a high school in New Jersey and left them with quite a gift. According to CNN, Winfrey donated $500,000 to an after-school program at West Side High School in Newark, New Jersey.
The school’s principal Akbar Cook started the Lights On program in 2016 to give students a safe place to spend their Friday nights, Patch.com reported. In the summer, the program increases its schedule, hosting students on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday nights.
While at Lights On, students who attend can participate in a variety of activities including basketball, yoga, dancing, crafting, and board games, among other things. A meal is always provided, as the program runs from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m.
When Winfrey visited the program on Friday, she treated everyone attending with pizza from her food line, O, That’s Good. Then she announced her donation of $500,000 to a stunned, cheering crowd.
“When I saw what Principal Akbar Cook was doing for his students at West Side High School in Newark, NJ, I had to come see what it was all about,” she wrote on Facebook.
Cook is also behind another headline-making project at West Side. He installed a laundromat inside the school for kids who were being bullied for coming to school with dirty clothing or skipping school altogether if they didn’t have clean clothing, according to CBS News.
“I think we really put the microscope on basic needs of kids. Everyone wants the high test scores, everyone wants them to perform well,” Cook told CBS News. “But if the kid doesn’t feel confidence in just coming to school, being that person we know they can be, then what are we doing?”
- Read more:
- The therapy dogs who helped survivors of the Parkland shooting got their own page in the school’s yearbook
- A high school canceled its spirit week after an unofficial ‘thug day’ was called out for having racist undertones
- A high school in Ohio says it’s doing away with valedictorians to make mental health a priority – and experts think its a game-changing policy
- A Rhode Island school district has changed its lunch policy following national backlash after it said students who owed money would only be served jelly sandwiches