AG Platkin Announces 17 Grants Totaling $369,845 to Expand Summer Programs for At-Risk Youth

32 Organizations Receive Financial Support to Help Reduce Community Violence

For Immediate Release: April 21, 2023

Office of the Attorney General
– Matthew J. Platkin, Attorney General
Juvenile Justice Commission
– Jennifer LeBaron, Ph.D., Acting Executive Director

For Further Information:

Media Inquiries-
Tara Oliver

TRENTON – 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 17 grants totaling more than $369,000 to police departments, schools, and non-profit organizations across the State to expand summer programs for at-risk youth.

The grants provide organizations already operating successful summer programs for at-risk youth with up to $30,000 in additional funding to enhance their programs and/or increase the number of young people they serve. Due to these new grants, approximately 500 additional 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.

“I’m pleased that New Jersey is able to continue its investment in programs that serve our most vulnerable young people,” said Attorney General Platkin. “The funding announced today by the Juvenile Justice Commission is emblematic of the Murphy Administration’s commitment to make sure all of New Jersey’s youth have opportunities to develop new skills, overcome challenges and achieve their optimal 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 youth 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 recognizes that having the appropriate resources increases young people’s chances of success,” said Dr. Jennifer LeBaron, Acting Executive Director of the Juvenile Justice Commission. “Our community partners deliver meaningful opportunities that reduce the chances of young people becoming involved in the youth justice system and that truly help change the lives of the young people they serve. These grants will allow them to continue creating those opportunities for even more young people.”

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 certain problem behaviors. 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 JJDP is pleased to once again provide resources to support community-based programs to expand their reach, enabling them to offer engaging and useful endeavors to more youth in New Jersey,” said Barbara Wallace, Chair of the JJDP Committee. “These programs help prevent or reduce problem behaviors and improve the lives of youth.”

The programs below were selected through a competitive process.  Each submitted an application that was reviewed and scored by members of the JJDP Committee and JJC staff.

Boys & Girls Clubs of Monmouth County (Monmouth County, $24,520) camp expansion will focus on increasing enrollment and services in the new Long Branch Unit by 20 additional youth and 3 additional weeks. This summer program will provide opportunities for youth to experience field trips, guest speakers, and special events.

Center for Prevention and Counseling (Sussex County, $30,000) will enroll 6th graders as well as expand services to 7th through 12th graders through a prevention, education, and anti-bullying program. 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.

City of East Orange (Essex County, $30,000) 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.

Community Action Service Center (Mercer County, $19,511) The one-week training program will expand to include 20 Rise Summer Camp Leaders in Training (LITs) who will receive training as well as attend field trips and workshops. Training will focus specifically on future Summer Camp youth leaders with an emphasis on learning about college readiness, team building, and psychoeducation to understand self-care and develop effective coping skills. Youth who successfully complete the program will be eligible for employment at the 6-week Rise Summer Camp.

Englewood Police Department (Bergen County, $30,000) will serve 25 to 30 additional recruits ages 9 to 17 through their Junior Police Academy (JPA) program.  Additional officers will enhance the services by extending the academy from 5 days to 10 days. Two new field trips will also be provided through the expansion.

Family Connections, Inc. (Essex County, $30,000) will offer individual and group mental health services to an additional 90-100 youth. It will increase availability of nutritious meals and snacks during the program, add significant incentives for youth attendance, and incorporate fun and enriching field trips. Expressive Arts services will be added to increase the range of structured educational and wellness workshops on a variety of topics such as positive nutrition habits/culinary skills, team building, art therapy, and yoga.

Girl Scouts of Central and Southern New Jersey (Camden County, $20,091) will serve an additional 40 girls in its weeklong leadership emersion program for at-risk girls from Camden, Cumberland, Salem, and Atlantic counties. The program focuses on positive peer relationships and features outdoor exploration, archery, tomahawk throwing, zip lines, rock wall climbing, and swimming.

Girl Scouts of Central and Southern New Jersey (Camden County, $20,269) will also serve an additional 40 girls in its weeklong leadership emersion program for at-risk girls from Burlington, Mercer, and Middlesex counties. 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, $29,961) will serve an additional 30 youth and deliver new educational arts workshops: Circus Acts, Story Quilts, Soul Steps, West African Dance and Culture, Silkscreen, and Drumming as well as workshops in photography, dance and theater. Youth will enjoy field trips to Mainstage Center for Arts, Philadelphia School of Circus Arts, The Fabric Workshop, Clay and Pottery Fahrenheit Studio, and Grounds for Sculpture.

Hackensack Police Department (Bergen County, $15,798) Police Youth Academy (PYA) will provide an engaging and meaningful five-day opportunity for rising 8th through 12th graders who are at-risk and may be interested in a career in law and public safety. The program will be expanded from the existing services to include 100 youth in the PYA program.

James R. Halsey Foundation of the Arts Character Building Acting 101 (Mercer County, $11,359) program will expand with a new focus on the concept of character building. Over a 10-week course, youth will learn about the skills and research needed for an actor to bring a character to life for film or theater. The program will serve a minimum of 10 youth.

James R. Halsey Foundation of the Arts Photography Program (Mercer County, $10,674) will provide hands on learning experiences designed to teach the fundamentals of photography while providing an avenue of expression to an additional 10 youth.

Joseph Firth Youth Center (Warren County, $23,115) will expand its program to include 90 to 100 additional youth and expand its substance abuse prevention and character development program services to include enrichment and wellness activities. Youth will have the opportunity to explore an animal exhibit, a drone/robotics simulation, and cooking classes.

Middle Township Police Department (Cape May County, $7,067) will expand its one-week summer program for 6th through 8th graders to serve 7 additional incoming 6th graders. The program will foster positive relationships between youth and law enforcement. Youth will have the opportunity to go on a daily field trip and learn life skills.

New Community Corporation (Essex County, $18,387) will provide an 8-week summer camp for an additional 20 youth. The program will consist of 4 new components: Science Instruction-MAD Science Labs Program, Personalized Learning Program, Children Zumba, and Theatre Arts Program.

Timbuk 2 Academy (Mercer County, $30,000) Sew So Dope program will serve an additional 20 youth. The program will provide youth stipends, internships, and holistic therapeutic services. The current 1-week program will extend to a 2-week program. Five of the additional youth will be given an opportunity to participate in a 3-week leadership internship.

The Trenton Police Department (Mercer County $19,093) will expand its summer camp program to 10 additional youth and integrate a Mad Science component. The program will also offer a field trip to the Liberty Science Center and will conclude with a graduation ceremony.


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.


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