The Princeton Area Community Foundation has awarded a total of $250,000 in grants to local nonprofits for summer initiatives that reach children and teens, including many whose families would not otherwise have access to affordable, high-quality programs when school is not in session.
The grants, funded through the Community Foundation’s Community Impact program, will support 26 summer programs that provide a wide variety of activities for young people, including arts instruction, academic enrichment, social-emotional learning opportunities, swimming and sports lessons. Many programs also provide transportation and meals.
Some initiatives include bilingual instruction. Some are geared toward populations that may be difficult to reach, such as tweens and teens.
For many families, summer programs serve as safety nets that help working parents. But for many families, the programs are often out of reach, because of affordability or accessibility.
“Summer programs help reduce learning loss and provide much needed support for many working families who otherwise would not be able to enroll their children in quality, summer activities during the summer months,” Nelida Valentin, Community Foundation vice president of grants and programs, said. “These grants help nonprofit partners sustain terrific initiatives that serve some of our most vulnerable children, particularly teens and tweens in this region. We also want to thank our generous donors, whose support of our Community Impact grants program helps make these grants possible.”
Grants were awarded to the following nonprofits:
- Arts Council of Princeton, Princeton, for its Summer Arts for Unaccompanied Teens program; unaccompanied Princeton High School students — immigrant students who were not accompanied by a parent when they arrived in the U.S. — will receive scholarships to attend the bilingual 10-week, full-day Summer Studio camp. The camp provides breakfast, lunch and lessons in a range of mediums, including printmaking, digital arts, ceramics and illustration.
- Artworks Trenton, Trenton, for its Youth Art League – Summer Arts Camp; the arts organization will partner with the Boys and Girls Club and Catholic Youth Organization to offer crafts-based art programming. Fashion illustration, comic illustration, meditation/yoga and photography classes will be among the classes offered.
- Boys & Girls Club of Mercer County, Trenton, for its Summer Teen Programming; the grant will allow the organization to expand its 10-week Tween Travel Camp for 11- to 14-year-olds and start a summer teen drop-in program for area students in grades six to 11. The Tween Camp provides transportation from Trenton and Ewing neighborhoods, breakfast, lunch and activities, including swimming, career exploration, team building, STEM, sports and field trips. The drop-in program will run two evenings a week, and provide transportation, dinner and social and enrichment programs.
- Capital Harmony Works, Hamilton, for its Trenton Music Makers Summer Camp; the grant will help fund the summer program, which provides breakfast and lunch, full orchestra rehearsals, small-group studios and music games. It will also include a weekend retreat at the Princeton Blairstown Center, where students will receive leadership training and go swimming, boating and hiking.
- Catholic Youth Organization, Trenton, for its East State Street Center Trenton Summer Camp; the nine-week program provides breakfast and lunch, social-emotional and academic learning opportunities, and swimming, arts and crafts, sports and excursions.
- Every Child Valued, Lawrenceville, for its Summer Enrichment Program, which includes three components: a program for students in grades K-6 designed to mitigate summer learning loss, which includes academic enrichment, social-emotional learning activities, recreation and field trips; a weekly tutoring and mentoring program for middle and high school students; and a Running Club, designed by two ECV alumni for students of all ages.
- Greater Somerset County YMCA, Princeton, for its Princeton YMCA Day Camp, which offers a wide variety of options, including sports, dance, STEAM and teen travel camps. Camps focus on social-emotional learning, summer learning loss and water safety.
- Hamilton Area YMCA, Hamilton, for its Title I School Summer Camp Program; the initiative is designed to address the lack of camp and structured activity opportunities for underserved children during the summer. The six-week camp for children ages 5-11 will include meals, transportation, sports, arts and crafts, swimming lessons, tutoring and STEM experiments.
- Hamilton Township Public Schools, Hamilton, for its Summer Camp, which will include full- and half-day programs. The grant will help provide additional supplies and scholarships for a wide range of camps, including art, music, STEM, technology, sports, theater, chess and gardening & landscaping.
- Help Self Community Development Corp., Trenton, for its Trail Blazer initiative for children as young as 2½ and adults up to the age of 20; the program provides educational and recreational programs, outdoor experiences, job and school readiness programs, mental health education and meals.
- HomeFront, Ewing, for Camp Mercer: Summer Programming for Families in Housing Crisis, which is designed for children whose families are experiencing housing instability or homelessness. The eight-week day camp for children ages 5-15 provides breakfast, lunch, transportation, academics, fun activities and counselors who have been trained in trauma-informed practices.
- Howard’s Healthy Choices, Trenton, for its Summer Learning Academy, which provides academic enrichment, social emotional learning, college preparation programs, swimming and culinary classes, and educational trips to museums and science institutes.
- James R. Halsey Foundation of the Arts, Hamilton, for its Photography 101 program. The 10-week summer program will provide hands-on photography instruction in Spanish. It will include lessons on lighting, photo composition and editing and will end with a showcase of students’ photos.
- Millhill Child & Family Development, Trenton, for its STEM Explorers & Summer Youth Employment Programs; STEM Explorers is a 6-week program for rising seventh-, eighth- and ninth-graders. Students will be paired with mentors and learn about robotics, coding, engineering and renewable energy, take field trips to university labs and museums and learn social-emotional skills. The Youth Employment program provides high school students with workforce training and summer internships with nonprofits.
- Prevention Education Inc. (PEI Kids), Lawrence, for its Juvenile Intervention Services’ Summer Initiative; the project is designed to give at-risk youth a structured environment and positive outlet. Students engage in 105 hours of group programming, including community service and excursions, which teach them about team building, trust and positive social skills.
- Princeton-Blairstown Center, Princeton, for its Trenton Summer Bridge Program; the five-day educational experience at the Center’s 268-acre Blairstown Campus includes academic and social-emotional learning and helps immerse students in school culture and create a strong sense of team.
- Princeton Community Housing, Princeton, for the PCH Summer Enrichment Youth Program, which provides summer enrichment activities for children of PCH residents; this grant primarily serves teens and tweens of families living in Princeton Community Housing sites. Summer enrichment activities include onsite preschool and participation in programs offered by the Princeton Recreation Department, Arts Council of Princeton, YWCA Princeton, Princeton YMCA and in PCH sites.
- Princeton Nursery School, Princeton, for An Equitable and Enriching (and Fun!) Summer Experience program; the school plans to offer a variety of activities to inspire cultural exploration, artistic and physical expression and community building. Students’ siblings and parents will be invited to participate.
- RISE, Hightstown, for its Rise Summer Academic Enrichment Program, a six-week full-time summer program for at-risk youth. The program provides morning academic lessons and afternoon activities, including sports, robotics, art and dance, as well as meals and field trips. Older students participate in leadership conferences, entrepreneurship and college readiness courses.
- Snipes Farm and Education Center, Morrisville, Pennsylvania, for its Our Kids-to-Farm Camp Program /Summer Farm Day Camp for Low-Income and Disadvantaged Children; the program teaches students about the value of farming, the impact of nutrition on personal health and the importance of environmental stewardship.
- The Children’s Home Society of New Jersey, Trenton, for its Extended STEM Summer Camp; the program serves students in grades four to eight from three Trenton Public Schools and provides coding and robotics clubs, team bowling and day trips.
- Trenton Circus Squad, Trenton, for the Bridging the Gap: Reducing Language Barriers program; the nonprofit offers free circus-based summer programming that helps students develop life skills and focus on social and emotional learning. Through the grant, the organization will conduct more outreach to Latino youth, hire a bilingual summer intern and offer Spanish instruction to staff and coaches.
- Trenton Makes Athletic Center, Trenton, for its City-Wide Wholesome Summer Soccer Program; the Saturday morning program will provide premium sports training and include several volunteers who previously played professional soccer. The program will work to nurture students’ self-confidence and conflict resolution skills through team building.
- UrbanPromise Trenton, Trenton, for its Summer Camp; the program places an emphasis on academics and will include a web-based program that allows students to learn reading and math skills at an individualized pace. Students participate in morning academics, afternoon games and weekly off-site trips. Breakfast and lunch are also provided. High school students work in paid Street Leaders positions at the camp, gaining job skills and personal development opportunities.
- West Windsor Arts Center, West Windsor, for its Teen Art Summer Program; the grant will provide tuition for students identified through a partnership with Capitol County Children’s Collaborative; students will learn about different media, including digital illustration, printmaking, drawing and painting during the five-week program.
- YWCA of Princeton, Princeton, for its Come Use Your Imagination program; the grant will help the YWCA bring programs, including music and storytelling, to its site for students enrolled in summer child care and enrichment programs.