*This press release was updated to reflect the programs receiving grant awards.
TRENTON – Acting Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin today announced that the Juvenile Justice Commission (“JJC”), in conjunction with the Governor’s Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (“JJDP”) Committee, has awarded 18 grants totaling more than $304,000 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.
“New Jersey is once again investing in innovative programming to serve its most vulnerable youth populations,” said Acting Attorney General Platkin. “The funding announced today by the Juvenile Justice Commission underscores the Murphy Administration’s focus on ensuring that every young person has the opportunity to overcome challenges, develop life skills, and recognize their true potential.”
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 truancy.
“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 the safety and well-being of youth and to deter delinquency. The JJDP Committee is responsible for setting funding priorities for the federal funds awarded through the federal Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention that support state- and local-level initiatives, community-based programs, and system reform efforts.
“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 youth. The program will include drill and ceremony, CPR instruction, anti-bullying programming, and impaired driving awareness.
Cape Assist (Cape May County, $10,650) will serve an additional 10 youth 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 7th to 12th graders 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 fieldtrips, 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 youth. 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 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 youth and deliver a new health and wellness curriculum while increasing nutrition access, limiting food instability, and encouraging physical activity during the summer months.
James R. Halsey Foundation of the Arts (JRHFA) Acting Programs (Mercer County, $11,032) will serve additional 15 youth 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 to 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, 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, one-on-one teen mentoring sessions, mindfulness programs, and family activities.
Prevention Education, Inc (PEI Kids) (Mercer County, $26,733) will serve an additional 15 youth and increase the number of successful program graduates by four who serve as paid peer mentors allowing them 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 the 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 to 10 additional participates and integrate a summer video and sound excursion, pickle ball 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 is committed to implementing and promoting policies and practices that improve outcomes for young people involved with the juvenile justice system, their families, and their communities.
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.