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TCNJ Bonner Center Receives $20,000 Grant from Wells Fargo Foundation

Ewing, NJ – The College of New Jersey has received a $20,000 grant from Wachovia Wells Fargo in support of the Bonner Scholars Program. The money will go to support the Wells Fargo Bonner Community Scholars Education Team, which will consist of approximately 15 Bonner Community Scholars and 10 regular Bonner Volunteers. This team will work on a weekly basis to improve the academic skills and scores of high school students at Trenton Central High School and K-8 students at Hedgepeth-Williams Middle School in the city of Trenton. The team will also strive to have a positive impact on the attitudes and dispositions of the Trenton students with respect to their education.

At the high school, Bonner students will primarily work with a targeted group of 50 students in an effort to help them pass the state HSPA test, which is needed for them to graduate.  According to recent press reports, the dropout rate for Trenton students is close to 50%.  At the middle school, the Bonners will be engaged in a “read aloud and respond” or similar program in an effort to increase the literacy rates for at least 50 additional students. On average, the middle school students are at least two grade levels behind their peers in higher performing districts in terms of reading and writing.

In addition, the Wells Fargo Bonner Education Team will involve over 200 Trenton students in a variety of enrichment days on campus and in the community. This includes the Youth Development Institute—when Bonners organize approximately 8 TCNJ First Year Seminar classes to deliver workshops on a variety of topics, such as ‘How to Read and Write a Short Story,’ and ‘Digital Domain.’ This one-day conference brings Trenton-area students to TCNJ’s campus to not only learn about the material taught by TCNJ students, but also to experience a College atmosphere. The Hoop Skills Academy—which combines basketball with life-skills lessons, academic workshops, and tickets to a men’s home basketball game-–is another enrichment activity the Wells Fargo Bonner Education Team will organize for Trenton students.

The Bonner Center has worked over the past several years to form a strong relationship with the Trenton School District in an effort to address some of the aforementioned issues regarding educational needs of the city’s youth. “[The Bonner Center’s] contributions to the TCHS Chambers Campus and the district are the types of external partnerships that advocate and sustain the school’s mission and purpose on student achievement. Aside from the research that supports the necessity to build internal and external capacity the Bonner Institute has been and continues to be a huge component and key factor attributed to the improvement of our test scores and school culture,” Carlos Gonzalez, Vice Principal, Trenton Central High School Chambers Campus.

The Wells Fargo Bonner Education Team will help 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. In 2011, the Foundation invested $213.5 million in 19,000 nonprofits nationwide, which included $67.8 million invested in 8,000 educational programs and schools around the United States.

To download a PDF version, click here: Wells Fargo Press Release 2012.

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Douglas Dimmig of the Wachovia Wells Fargo Foundation delivers the grant award to Patrick Donohue, Assistant Provost for Community Engaged Learning Programs and Partnerships, and Adam Preim, Third Year Bonner Community Scholar.

Media Contact:

Madeline Bell