Atlantic City nonprofit assists local students, homeless
ATLANTIC CITY — The longer a group serves its community, the more it tailors its services to the specific needs of those most impacted by its efforts.
That symbiotic relationship is displayed in Atlantic City-based Princess Inc.'s current Blue Light Campaign, which is trying to identify unmet and previously unthinkable needs brought on by the continuing COVID-19 pandemic.
When founder and CEO Indra Lyn Owens, along with colleagues Automne Bennett and Nicole Williams, heard that local kids were weary of logging on for remote learning, they weren't surprised.
But it wasn't because the students didn't want to learn. They were experiencing headaches and fatigue, among other symptoms, from looking at screens for too long.
So one of the Blue Light Special's goals has been getting glasses for these kids — which helps ease the burden on their parents and teachers too.
For most of Princess Inc.'s decade-long history, however, there has been a pronounced focus on helping the homeless community in and around Atlantic City. Owens said that's not just a group of down-on-their-luck city residents.
"The elephant in the room is that a lot of the homeless and displaced people in Atlantic City right now are not necessarily from Atlantic City," she said. "They're foreigners in this land."
And a particular challenge for the nonprofit right now, according to Owens, is what can it do for these people that hasn't already been done?
Some previous endeavors include a Mother's Day "Pack Your Purse" event, to provide women with essential, everyday items, and a "Thanksgiving To Go" concept that enlisted chefs from Atlantic City casinos to donate meals.
Corporate partnerships like that, Owens said, are what will keep Princess, Inc. running for the next decade, noting that most nonprofit organizations struggle to make it past the three-year mark.
"I think that, you know, the universe has shown that since we've been around now for 10 years, that we're supposed to be here, doing this work," Owens said.
For more on the mission of Princess Inc., go to princessinc.org or call 609-287-4235.
Patrick Lavery is New Jersey 101.5's afternoon news anchor. Follow him on Twitter @plavery1015 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.