The seven founders of s.a.v.e. are made up of high school students from around Hudson County, the most densely populated county in the United States. Although we are all from different neighborhoods and backgrounds, we all share a strong passion for preservation, and an appreciation for the vibrant history of Hudson County. Together, we hope to inspire awareness for historic and environmental architecture, which celebrates our county’s varied past and influences its future.

The formation of s.a.v.e. was the result of several series of events and occurrences between the years 2002-2006. Many of us were introduced to preservation as middle school students, through field trips, cleanups, and other volunteer opportunities. Realizing the history behind different landmarks made us realize how significant they are in our communities. We saw beyond old bricks and mortar- we saw history come to life.

Stephanie Castano. “Our history is not to be explored and discovered through a textbook or document.  The existing facades of those places that once held leading purposes should withstand the changes of time and educate new and younger generations without the hassle of traditional schooling. It should stimulate others to investigate beyond the usual, unsubstantial ink on paper so that these very places are embraced for their historical value. People often forget that young eyes have visions and aspirations; and even as young as I am, my eyes do not ignore our city’s few cobblestone streets and numerous demolition sites. It is in my deepest hopes that our efforts will encourage people of all generations to join us in the contemporary battle of a war that never ends: preservation.”

Helene Chen. “In today’s fast-paced modern world, where old and not-so-old establishments are torn down and replaced time and time again, there are fewer and fewer places that have stood the test of time and contemporary humanity’s hunger for change–fewer places that we, the young and the old and the new, can connect to, can recognize in what is becoming a rapidly-altering environment. My objective is to preserve these establishments, whatever they may be, so that everyone has something familiar to remember.”

Aaron Haier. “A large component of my passion for s.a.v.e’s founding, and its basic operation following that, came from the knowledge that we would be educating people of all ages and unearthing for them that which the founders of s.a.v.e. hold so dear, the architectural beauty that lies within Hudson County. We hope to share with them the wonders that we have been lucky enough to be exposed to not only as residents of this county but as students of John Gomez, founder of the Jersey City Landmarks Conservancy, both in the classroom and out. And now, we, just a simple group of driven high school students, have taken it upon ourselves to aid in the fight to preserving that which we have grown to value so much.”

Ruby Hankey. “Not everyone would think Hudson County is the most beautiful region in New Jersey, but I have come to appreciate the wonderful things it has to offer. By preserving our historic and environmental landmarks we maintain what is special about where we live. To learn more about Hudson County’s history and preserve it for the future is a great feeling. Since my involvement in s.a.v.e I definitely feel more a part of the community as well. So let’s all just say ‘Thank You’ to the culture of our surroundings!”

Willow Latham. “On display for anyone who will look, architecture inspires, educates, and communicates on a grander, deeper level than words – a carved message from a past generation, with their ideas, values and ideals.  Likewise, each building that our generation erects holds a message for the future. Architects in Jersey City have left a majestic legacy, from the monolithic towers of the old Jersey City Medical Center (now ‘The Beacon’) to Dickinson High School, commanding over Jersey City’s downtown from atop the Palisades. It is now left up to the current generation to preserve that legacy and to pass on a new message all our own.”


Violet Malolepsza. The rich, diverse history of Hudson County fascinates me, and preserving the architecture that represents this history is an obligation we have to our culture. Founding s.a.v.e. has helped educate and expose Hudson County residents to local architectural masterpieces. Our group celebrates historic and natural environments, and stresses that preservation enhances our cities, creating exciting places where the old and the new coexist.

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Janita Sawh. For me, historic preservation is not all about saving bricks and mortar–it’s about sustaining a beauty that was once captured and preserving a culture for future generations; that’s why our group is aimed at getting the youth involved. As the future of our community, we are the ones who must take the initiative to create a healthy and vibrant environment. On our journey to natural and structural vitality, s.a.v.e. hopes to not only educate residents about the history of our community, but to also build on ideas of the past that extend into the future.

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Welcome, Janika! s.a.v.e. is thrilled to introduce our newest board member, Janika Berridge, who joined our ranks in the summer of 2007.

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