How to Get Involved in the South Orange NJ Community
How To Make Friends in South Orange
If you're new to South Orange, making new friends and getting involved in the community will probably be a top priority for you and your family. Fortunately, you'll find a wealth of groups, activities and organizations that will introduce you to other South Orange residents and open the door to long-lasting connections and opportunities. Here are some of the best ways to make friends in the South Orange area.
South Orange Village Center & Alliance
The South Orange Village Center website is a wonderful one-stop shop for all there is to do and see in the township's business district. You'll find an excellent directory of local stores, restaurants and entertainment venues — all great spots to meet your neighbors. The website's calendar also offers a timely list of upcoming community events ranging from Summer Saturdays with live music to the weekly farmer's market held at First and Sloan. Keep an eye out for specific newcomer events, including a Newcomers Day typically held in the fall. If you're a business owner or have a particular interest in the future of the town's business center, consider becoming involved with the South Orange Village Center Alliance (SOVCA), the not-for-profit management entity of the Special Improvement District. The SOVCA's volunteer board of directors includes business owners, residents and other stakeholders interested in making South Orange's downtown the best it can be.
SOMA Families' mission is to foster a diverse, supportive and welcoming local community through events, playdates, new mom gatherings, classes and more. This purposefully diverse and inclusive community of parents and caregivers offers support and connection throughout South Orange, Maplewood and the surrounding towns, making it a great place to befriend parents and grow your local network. The group offers multiple meetups each week, including a regular New Members Meet & Greet.
South Orange Recreation & Cultural Affairs
The mission of the Department of Recreation & Cultural Affairs is to enhance the quality of life in South Orange, by providing a robust program of recreational activities and for residents of all ages and interests. While the department's usual headquarters, the Baird Community Center, is undergoing an extensive renovation, there is still an abundance of local activities to choose from in their extensive catalog. Residence can participate in tennis instruction, soccer clinics, sports camps, yoga, water aerobics and more. Adults with a passion for sports coaching will find numerous volunteer opportunities as well.
Parents of school-age children can look to the School District of South Orange and Maplewood (SOMSD) for ways to participate in their child's or children's education while meeting other parents and community members. SOMSD serves more than 7,200 students in 10 schools, including an early childhood center, six elementary schools, two middle schools and Columbia High School. On the district's community partners page, you'll find a list of applicable PTA groups and home and school (HSA) groups by school. These organizations are integral to the success of the area's diverse student body by providing in-classroom support, fundraising, activities and more.
This vital organization provides services to older residents and caregivers to support people to age in place in the Maplewood and South Orange communities. You'll find essential resources ranging from senior housing and transportation services to fitness and cultural programming on the website. The organization's volunteering page provides an exhaustive list of opportunities for residents to give back to the community while meeting fellow citizens of all ages.
South Orange Performing Arts Center (SOPAC)
The South Orange Performing Arts Center brings a wide range of top-tier entertainment to the township, including outstanding concerts, theater and dance performances. Inside the modern SOPAC facilities in downtown South Orange, you'll find the Jennifer & Tony Leitner Performance Hall, a 439-seat theatre, plus the 2,170 square-foot Loft used for performances and events, and a stunning three-story atrium that houses The Herb + Milly Iris Gallery. Becoming a SOPAC member will help you meet fellow South Orange residents at performances as well as at special members-only events and behind-the-scenes experiences. Volunteer to make even deeper connections through a range of front-of-house and administrative roles.
In South Orange, you'll find a warm and amiable community waiting to help you settle in and build close bonds. Welcome!
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