$313k To Expand NJ Summer Programs for At-Risk Youth


The Juvenile Justice Commission (“JJC”) and the Governor’s Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (“JJDP”) Committee have awarded 19 grants totaling more than $313,000 to police departments, schools, and non-profit organizations across the State to expand summer programs for at-risk youth.

The grants provide organizations already running successful summer programs for at-risk youth with up to $30,000 in additional funding each to enhance their programs and/or increase the number of young people they serve.

Approximately 600 youth throughout New Jersey will be able to participate in an array of recreational, educational, and character-building activities being offered in their communities this summer as a result of these grants.

Funding for the grants comes from the federal Office of Juvenile Justice Delinquency Prevention’s Formula Grants Program, which supports state and local delinquency prevention and intervention efforts and juvenile justice system improvements.

The funds can be used to provide job training, mental health and substance abuse treatment, community-based programs and services, reentry/aftercare services, and school programs to prevent absenteeism.

“The Juvenile Justice Commission continues to support and expand a youth justice system that recognizes that most young people can succeed in their communities with the appropriate resources,” said Dr. Jennifer LeBaron, Acting Executive Director of the Juvenile Justice Commission. “These grants allow our partners in the community to deliver thoughtful, exciting, and meaningful opportunities that will make a true difference in the lives of youth and significantly reduce the possibility of their involvement in the youth justice system.”

Based on the philosophy that communities have a unique understanding of their local youth populations, the JJC administers millions of dollars in state and federal grants that encourage the development and enhancement of a continuum of community-based services for youth to promote safety and well-being and to deter crime.

“The core mission of the JJDP Committee is to provide resources to support community-based programs and system reforms that prevent or reduce delinquency and improve the lives of youth and families in New Jersey,” said Barbara Wallace, Chair of the JJDP Committee. “Each year, we look forward to funding as many summer programs as possible throughout the state so that we can provide important resources and opportunities to young people.”

The following programs will receive funding:

Bloomfield Police Department (Essex County, $17,607.80) will expand its Junior Academy program to include an additional week of services, reaching an additional 25 children. The program will include drill and ceremony classes, CPR instruction, anti-bullying programming, and impaired driving awareness.

Cape Assist (Cape May County, $10,650) will serve an additional 10 children and add a peer leadership component allowing five previous campers to assist with its Camp Resiliency and Field Trip Program.

Center for Prevention and Counseling (Sussex County, $30,000) will serve an additional 30 children from 7th to 12th grade in its prevention, education, and anti-bullying program as well as expand services to an additional 30 high school students to serve as a Youth Task Force. In addition to field trips, leadership, and team-building activities, the program will feature a three-day leadership conference created and executed by the Youth Task Force.

City of East Orange (Essex County, $20,000) the Office of Employment and Training will expand its Summer Work Experience Program to serve an additional 15 children. The entrepreneurship program focuses on guiding youth through the employment process and connecting them with summer employment opportunities.

City of Orange Township (Essex County, $14,509.60) will add a swim program with four part-time Red Cross certified instructors to its Circle of Excellence Summer Camp program.

County of Passaic Sheriff’s Office (Passaic County, $24,830.20) will expand its Junior Police Academy that introduces youth to law enforcement career opportunities, components of community policing, physical fitness, and drill and ceremony by extending its summer program for an additional two weeks and by adding new excursions including rock climbing and Saturday field trips.

Girl Scouts of Central and Southern New Jersey (Camden County, $20,004) will serve an additional 40 girls in its weeklong leadership emersion program for at-risk girls from Camden, Cumberland, Salem, and Atlantic countries. The program focuses on positive peer relationships and features outdoor exploration, archery, tomahawk throwing, zip lines, rock wall climbing, and swimming.

Glassboro Child Development Centers (Gloucester County, $29,973) will serve an additional 30 children and deliver a new health and wellness curriculum to increase nutrition access, limit food instability, and encourage physical activity during the summer months.

James R. Halsey Foundation of the Arts (JRHFA) Acting Programs (Mercer County, $11,032) will serve additional 15 children through its program that allows young people to actively participate in live arts performances as it combines arts education and youth mentoring.

James R. Halsey Foundation of the Arts (JRHFA) Photography Program (Mercer County, $11,667) will provide hands-on learning experiences designed to teach the fundamentals of photography while providing an avenue of expression to an additional 10 young people.

Joseph Firth Youth Center (FYC) (Warren County, $18,779.54) will expand its program to include 40 high school youth and expand services to include mindfulness and wellness in its substance abuse prevention and character development program.

Middle Earth (Somerset County, $15,307) will expand to allow participants to be provided with a stipend to attend and complete an employee readiness curriculum that helps young people develop career paths, budgeting and financial literacy, and independent living skills, as well as assisting with mock interviews, and conflict resolution sessions.

Mighty Writers (Camden County, $30,000) will reach an additional 150 young people at both its Camden and Atlantic City locations through its afterschool academy, college and career prep workshops, literary arts workshops, and one-on-one teen mentoring sessions, mindfulness programs, and family activities.

North Bergen Police Department (Bergen County, $8,573.50) will expand its Junior Police Academy by adding new activities and excursions for youth cadets and junior trainers, who have previously completed the program, including a fishing event that was developed in partnership with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services, a visit to the National Law Enforcement Museum in Washington, D.C, and a graduation ceremony at the completion of the program.

Prevention Education, Inc (PEI Kids) (Mercer County, $26,733) will serve an additional 15 children and increase the number of successful program graduates who serve as paid peer mentors by four, allowing recent graduates to gain valuable work experience and begin building their resumes. The successful summer program incorporates an evidence-based gang prevention curriculum and field trips for school-aged youth.

Roselle Board of Education (Union County, $16,408) will provide additional services and activities for summer program participants that focus on social and emotional learning. The program will also add a bi-lingual social worker to the summer program staff.

A Sun Star Community Outreach Program, Inc. (Essex County, $30,000) will serve an additional 8 young people and hire additional staff. The program combines participation in community events and prosocial activities and offers programs in music and movement, recyclable art, science, conflict resolution, and anger management.

Trenton Music Makers, (Mercer County, $30,000) will serve an additional 29 young people from Trenton’s Children Chorus in its Capital Harmony Works Program. The orchestra and chorus program will also be expanded to include HipHop, music production, handbells, and public community performances.

Trenton Police Department (Mercer County $26,485) will expand its summer camp program by 10 additional participants and integrate a summer video and sound excursion, pickleball lessons, and racket ball clinics.

The JJC was established in 1995 to serve as the single agency of the State government with centralized authority for planning, policy development, and provision of services in the juvenile justice system.

The JJC’s three primary responsibilities are providing care, custody, and rehabilitative services to youth committed to the agency by the courts, supervising and coordinating services for youth released from custody on parole, and supporting local efforts to provide prevention and early intervention services to at-risk and court-involved youth.

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