I am a product of the Newark Board of Education and a proud parent of a future graduate of the Newark Board of Education. While my daughter, a freshman, was valedictorian of her class in 2021, the focus of my educational experience was different. I struggled with a learning impairment while experiencing mental health challenges. These issues remained undiagnosed until I enrolled in college at age 47. I don’t want my story to be the story of any of our children.
I am qualified to bring a professional perspective to the board through my calling as a social worker. My years of experience and training in building and restoring our families and neighborhoods prove invaluable. I am a champion for youth with a proven track record of helping individuals reach their highest potential. As Founder of Girls; Live, Love, Laugh, Inc. (GLLL), I’ve helped empower over 1,200 young women in the city of Newark.
I am an overcomer and my journey reflects the true persevering spirit of lifelong Newarkers. I was not a child born of means, privilege, or access. I was raised in Newark subsidized housing, an environment that presented a unique set of life challenges. At a young age, I lost both of my parents. I have also experienced and survived domestic violence, sexual abuse, gun violence, and homelessness. Although I survived an incident of gun violence, I would later go on to lose my fiancée tragically to that same fate.
Despite life’s hard knocks, I used these adversities as fuel for my fire to be and do more! Each traumatic experience served as a unique catalyst for my aspiration to create something larger than myself. I felt that during my childhood I was deprived of opportunities to live, love, and laugh, so I vowed to one day create an organization that would fill the void for girls in the community who may have had similar experiences.
As a woman of action and true to my word, in 2009, I founded GLLL, a 501c(3) nonprofit organization focused on scholars living with limited resources in the inner city of Newark. The organization builds a safe passage for building leadership skills, developing self-esteem, fostering entrepreneurship, acquiring college readiness skills, learning the fundamentals of savings, and teaching the importance of civic engagement in the community. GLLL implements a variety of programs that focus on tackling many of the pressing issues girls face today. GLLL is building a culture of girls who live, love, and laugh while in pursuit of excellence.
I have received many community, city, and state acknowledgements, which consist of resolutions and proclamations as well as community service, leadership, and humanitarian awards. Both I and GLLL have received the esteemed recognition of a Proclamation from the City of Newark and Mayor Ras. J. Baraka declaring September 14th “Allison James Day” and September 15th “Girls: Live, Love, Laugh, Inc. Day.” However, what I am most proud of is obtaining an associate degree from Essex County College, making me a first-generation graduate out of nine siblings. I then went on to earn a Bachelor of Arts in Social Work from Rutgers University-Newark at the age of 49.
Currently, I work for the Department of Child Protection and Permanency as a certified social worker, and am an active member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated. I serve as a Commissioner for the City of Newark’s Commission on the Status of Women as well as chair of the PTSO at my daughter’s school, University High School. Besides being a community servant, I am a foster parent turned adoptive parent and happily married for 9 ½ years. I am a homeowner and investor in the city of Newark.
On Tuesday, April 19, 2022, VOTE for Allison K. James-Frison as your next Newark Board of Education member. I am your community and parent choice!