As part of Johnson & Johnson’s(J&J) community service company initiative, a group of employees from the company devoted a day to paint the James R. Halsey Foundation’s newest home in Hamilton, NJ. 

“It is our annual community service day and Johnson & Johnson has a long tradition of giving back to our community. We have a credo that commits us to take responsibility for the communities in which we live and work,” said Deidre Meehan, World Wide Vice President in Regulatory Law at J&J.

The Law Department employees at J&J swapped their business attire for jeans, sweatshirts, and t-shirts as they put on a new coat of paint within the basement of the building, an area that will become a hangout spot for the students in the film program to pitch ideas and create movies. 

Harold Brantley, a J&J employee, stood in paint-covered clothes as he talked about how awesome it was to give back to the community. “It’s an awesome feeling. I think part of our culture is to give back…and you know, a lot of us come from backgrounds where to give back to the community, is just something that gives you that sense of pride,” Brantley said.

Joseph Halsey, founder and CEO of the foundation, explained that the day was much more than putting a fresh coat of paint on the walls. It was developing relationships with J&J in hopes of creating a mentorship program for his students. “We started talking about them, mentoring our high school kids and getting them to help them fill out college applications and things like that…That’s it in a nutshell. But it’s developing relationships with them to also develop relationships for kids,” Halsey said. 

Founded in 2017, the James R. Halsey Foundation encourages filmmaking as a therapeutic outlet that engages the imagination, empowering and nourishing creativity toward personal growth and the development of critical life skills. The goal of the foundation is to help change lives by providing educational and employment opportunities for youth while working to dissolve socioeconomic barriers within the community. 

“More importantly,” Halsey said. “We have a safe place to come and be creative…” 

So far the JRH Foundation has had seven of their kids go onto college. Some go on to study film and media while others seek degrees in other areas. The colleges they are attending include Harvard, William Patterson, Rowan, Rider University, Mercer County Community College, and Drew University. To find out more information go to www.jrhfoundation.org, or reach out at info@jrhfoundation.org