Thanks to the support of the American Savings Foundation, the Frederick W. Marzahl Memorial Fund and Connecticut Community Foundation, the Connecticut Junior Republic (CJR) was able to provide a seven-week Work-Based Learning Summer Program for 40 Waterbury boys and girls, ages 13 to 17. Generous grants of $25,000 from the American Savings Foundation, $11,000 from the Frederick W. Marzahl Memorial Fund, Bank of America, N.A., Trustee, and $5,000 from Connecticut Community Foundation, funded this unique summer program, which included vocational training in culinary arts, video and media production, horticulture and landscaping, and entrepreneurial skills development. All students also participated in a financial literacy curriculum and collaborated on projects while developing specific skill sets relevant to the four job areas. Program participants “worked” Monday through Friday, from 9:00 AM to 2:00 PM, at CJR’s Waterbury Campus, located at 80 Prospect Street, starting their “work” experience on July 1. The program concluded on Friday, August 5, with a celebration luncheon event put on by the four program components.
The students’ educational experience began the week of June 20, with a standardized application and interview process. Boys and girls participated in resume development, as well as interviewing and employment-readiness training. Each of the four study areas associated with the “work” component of the program used an entrepreneurship model to develop specific “products” associated with culinary arts, media production, and horticulture and landscaping. A fourth entrepreneurial skills development class worked with the other program components to market products and develop promotional materials. All students were paid stipends for their participation in the program.
Young people in the culinary class catered lunches for CJR programs and other non-profit organizations in the Waterbury area. This project component was specifically funded by the grant from the Frederick W. Marzahl Memorial Fund.
The horticulture and landscaping class tended a garden area on the grounds of CJR’s Waterbury campus that included herbs and vegetables and participants also worked on community beautification projects.
Students in the video and media production class documented the activities of the other classes through photography and video, and worked on their own class projects. This portion of the program was supported by the grant from Connecticut Community Foundation.
“This work-based learning summer experience for adolescents in Waterbury has never been as important or relevant as it is this summer,” stated CJR President & CEO Daniel Rezende. “Post-pandemic, there is a high level of need for educational enrichment, academic and vocational learning opportunities and summer youth employment,” he noted. “Students across Connecticut are still struggling with the educational challenges associated with COVID-19 and this highly-structured, strength-based program supported the development of equitable education, work and social skills for our 40 participants,” he said.
“Everyone can remember the importance of that first summer job. It’s a step toward adulthood and independence, and an opportunity to gain real-world work experience,” said Maria Falvo, President & CEO of the American Savings Foundation. “We are proud to have partnered with CJR on their Summer Youth Employment program for the past 16 years, providing fun, educational, and safe experiences for youth to help them prepare for successful future careers.”
The American Savings Foundation is an independent charitable foundation dedicated to strengthening the community by supporting education, human services, and the arts, with special emphasis on the needs of children, youth and families, through grants to community organizations and college scholarships. Since its inception in 1995, the Foundation has contributed nearly $68 million in total grants and scholarships.
Established in 1923, Connecticut Community Foundation was created by and for the people of Greater Waterbury and the Litchfield Hills. Serving a 21-town region, the Foundation works to address the community’s critical issues, funds programs benefiting local residents, supports efforts to improve systems to foster more equitable outcomes for residents, strengthens local organizations through learning and outreach, and works with individuals, families and corporations to steward charitable and scholarship funds. Connecticut Community Foundation made a total of $6.6 million in grants and scholarships in 2021.
The Frederick W. Marzahl Memorial Fund was established in 1974 to support and promote quality education, human services and health care programming for underserved populations in the Woodbury area.
Founded in 1904, the Connecticut Junior Republic (CJR) provides care, treatment, education and family support for vulnerable at-risk, special needs and troubled young people so they may become productive and fulfilled members of their homes, schools and communities. Today, the organization’s combined programs serve approximately 1,500 boys and girls annually at program sites throughout Connecticut and in a growing number of public schools.
A private charitable organization, the Connecticut Junior Republic is accredited by the Council on Accreditation (COA) and the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC). CJR is supported by gifts from individuals, businesses, foundations and organizations, and through service contracts funded by the Judicial Branch Court Support Services Division (JBCSSD), the Connecticut Department of Children and Families (DCF), the Connecticut Department of Social Services (DSS), by Connecticut’s public schools, and through other income earned for services provided.
For more information, please contact Hedy Barton, Director of Development and Public Relations (860) 567-9423, extension 252; or by email: email@example.com.