On June 1st, the Center for Community Engaged Learning and Research (CELR) was presented with a $25,000 grant from Wells Fargo Financial Services Company. This award marks the sixth year of collaboration between the Bonner Institute and Wells Fargo. The funds support the education-related service of the Bonner Institute, housed within the CELR Cetner, and its Bonner Community Scholars program in the Trenton community. Led by Bonner Institute staff, the grant enables Bonner Community Scholars to work with city youth in three locations: Robeson Elementary School, Hedgepeth-Williams Middle School (where the Greg Grant Academic Sports Academy is located), and Fernbrook Farms Environmental Education Center. Their focus has been on literacy and positive youth development programs, and new this year, a focus on environmental education.
In addition to Bonner Institute staff members, with support from a full-time AmeriCorps member and CEL Coordinator, 33 Bonner Community Scholars and 31 Bonner Volunteers (non-scholarship volunteer students) worked with students at the aforementioned locations and were directly and indirectly supported through the Wells Fargo award.
The Wells Fargo award supported five main programs in an effort to promote students’ academic achievement, as well as to encourage and enable them to continue their education. As of the end of the spring semester, Bonner Community Scholars along with the TCNJ volunteers they mobilized have provided academic assistance, mentoring, and/or enrichment opportunities for over 700 Trenton students. Site statistics are as follows:
- Academic Sports Academy: 94 students participated in the Academic Sports Academy afterschool program over the course of the year;
- Read Aloud and Respond programming: Over 500 Paul Robeson elementary school students participated in Dr. Seuss Day (activities facilitated were much like read across America);
- Sixth Grade Writing Project: 89 students participated in six revised Literacy Project days
- Positive Youth Development Community Engaged Learning: 90 Trenton Public Schools students participated in six CEL activities
- Environmental Education at Fernbrook Farms Environmental Education Center: 56 Trenton Public School students and 50 TCNJ students participated in Fernbrook Farms activities
It is through the continued support of Wells Fargo that the Bonner Institute staff, Bonner Community Scholars, TCNJ students, and Bonner volunteers are able to facilitate such initiatives, and to contribute to the educational success of children in the region