The Hubb Arts and Trauma Center in Newark, which has been in existence for 15 years, has just opened New Jersey's first youth-focused trauma recovery center for kids of all ages who may not have access to mental health services but have experienced trauma that could have lasting consequences.

When it comes to domestic violence, kids suffer with traumatization and victimization and no one addresses it, said Hubb Arts and Trauma Center Founder and CEO Al-Tariq Best.

Average childhood experiences tells us that the things that happen as a child, affect decision-making as adults, said Best. Then these adults not only make the same mistakes, but they wind up teaching their kids the same things that they never recovered from, he added.

Best revealed that he had been through a lot of trauma in his life and no one ever asked him if he was OK or intervened. So he wanted to create a safe space that focuses on the youth. Too many times, kids feel they don't have a place to be able to talk about issues, so they wind up self-medicating or doing disastrous things as a result, he said.

The youth center has grief counseling, anger management and community balance. While it's important to understand that it's OK to not be OK, kids can't stay stuck in that mindset, said Best. So putting kids in a safe environment to talk about their issues and utilizing the art therapies available are ways of helping to break down their barriers, he said.

No child will ever be turned away. Four social workers are on staff. The idea is to create environments of positive experience so kids can understand and trust that they will be in safe space to be open and vulnerable with the things they want to discuss.

Best said the center offers "My Thoughts Out Loud," non-judgmental circles where kids can have non-judgmental conversations with counselors. He said they usually reveal things to counselors that they would never reveal to their parents. This puts the counselors in a better position to help these kids because now they better understand the problem.

"At the Hubb Arts and Trauma Center, there is literally one side which has the recording studio, radio station, videography and photography. I utilize the arts as a way to draw them in. Once we have them in, we educate them. So my philosophy has always been, entertain, educate, empower," said Best.

Any child interested in getting help can reach out to The Hubb Arts and Trauma Center on Prince Street in Newark at or by calling 973-900-6454.


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