EWING, NJ – The College of New Jersey has officially wrapped up another successful year of Community Engaged Learning and working with the greater Trenton community on a variety of issues, including youth development and education.
This past year year, TCNJ received a $25,000 grant from the Wachovia Wells Fargo Foundation in support of the Bonner Community Scholars Program. The money, which included a $5,000 increase from last year’s award, supported the Wells Fargo Bonner Community Scholars Team. The team of 18 Bonner Community Scholars and at least 10 regular Bonner Volunteers work on a weekly basis to improve the academic skills and scores of students at Trenton Central High School, Hedgepeth-Williams Middle School, the G. Grant Academic Sports Academy after school program, and the Isles Youth Institute. The team also works to motivate and mentor students throughout their academic career, whether it is helping improve their literacy, or aiding students with their college applications.
Like many urban school districts in New Jersey, Trenton schools face numerous challenges. The Wells Fargo-Bonner Education Bridage works with students at Trenton Central High School in an effort to help them improve their grades, learn new life skills, pass the state HPSA test, a graduation requirement in New Jersey, and other overall needs of Trenton Central High School. At the middle school, Bonners engage students in “read aloud and respond” programs in an effort to increase their literacy skills along with homework assistance and targeted tutoring. Finally, at Isles Youth Institute, the team focuses on the development of life skills and assistance with the college selection and application process.
In addition, the Wells Fargo Bonner Education team provided Trenton students with a variety of enrichment activities on TCNJ’s campus and in the community. This included the Youth Development Institute, in which Bonners organized TCNJ First Year Seminar classes to deliver workshops on for youth from the local middle schools during an all day event on the College’s campus.
As a result of the Wells Fargo-Bonner Education Brigade’s work:
- 100 percent of the seniors on the Trenton Boys Basketball Team graduated and are enrolled in a two- or four-year institution of higher education;
- 74 percent of assessed students in the Academic Sports Academy (ASA) after school program passed Language Arts with a C or higher;
- 59 percent of assessed students in the ASA after school program passed all of their classes with a C or higher;
- Those assessed students in the ASA after school program missed an average of seven days, compared to the city-wide average of 10 days or more; and,
- 83 percent of the 90 students who participated in the Sixth Grade Writing Project completed their own short story of publication at the end of the year.
The Wells Fargo Bonner Education Team helped the Wachovia Wells Fargo Foundation continue in its mission to build strong and vibrant communities, improve the quality of life and make a positive difference.
The Bonner Institute for Civic and Community Engagement is responsible for mobilizing faculty, students and staff to help sustain and advance the communities in which we live; in other words, to find mission-consistent ways to improve the quality of life for all. It cultivates the common ground that exists between the educational mission of the College and the needs of non-profit organizations and neighborhoods. It does so by creating teaching and learning opportunities that simultaneously build the capacity of TCNJ students and these groups and communities. Students become more knowledgeable, skilled and civic minded while community partners gain additional resources to effectuate positive change.