The Bonner Community Scholars are a diverse group of students who share a common desire and commitment—to work as part of a team (of students, staff and community members) that strives to improve the quality of life in the Trenton area. This four-year student and community development program provides all with opportunities to enhance their own skills while promoting positive change and social justice. In return, Bonner students receive an annual scholarship which can cover from 50 to 100 percent of their tuition bill.
At the beginning of the Bonner experience, Bonner Scholars choose to join one of 12 issue-based service teams (approximately 5-8 students). Each one focuses on an area such as hunger, homelessness, housing, developmental disabilities, the environment, juvenile justice, the environment, immigrant services, prisoner education, urban education (2) and youth development. These teams work primarily with one or two community-partner organizations, which currently include: the Attorney General’s office, the Bonner Academic Fellows program, Isles Youthbuild, Cities of Service, Sustainable Jersey, the Henry J. Austin Health Clinic, Mercer Street Friends Food Bank, Trenton Prevention Policy Board, Center for Prisoner Outreach and Education, Habitat for Humanity, the Trenton Area Soup Kitchen, the Academic Sports Academy, the Hedgepeth-Williams School, Trenton Central High School, the Visitation Home, the Albert C. Wagner Correctional Facility, PEI Kids and the Rescue Mission. This brings together their service and academic experiences in significant ways.
As students continue in the Bonner program, they are given multiple chances to pursue their interests and increase their levels of participation, commitment, and leadership–both at their sites and on campus. For example, Bonner students play a key role in creating service learning opportunities for other students. They help the staff and faculty organize as well as supervise more than 80 Community-Engaged Learning projects and experiences a year. Some of these involve teams of students from the same residential floor who share a common interest. Others are participants in one of 40 class-based projects that are integrated into FSP courses. Bonners also organize critical issue forums on campus to address local and international issues (i.e. immigration, Darfur) as well as participate in short-term service trips in New Orleans, Nicaragua and other locations.
Five-day orientation, training & community planning session
300 hours of meaningful service, meetings or workshops (7-10 hours per week)
Bi-Weekly all corps or team meetings
Occasional forums or conferences
Class-based service trips
Good academic standing