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Bonner Welcomes Experts to Campus to Speak to Students and Train Bonner Communtiy Scholars

Ewing, NJ – The Bonner Center for Civic and Community Engagements has welcomed an impressive group of speakers and trainers to campus so far in the Fall 2012 semester. As part of its Student Development Model, the TCNJ Bonner Center strives to provide beneficial and practical trainings to its students throughout the Academic School Year. The TCNJ Bonner Center and its practices are recognized by the national Bonner network as exemplary, and are highly respected in the community for the work of the Scholars via the Community Engaged Learning program.  Training of the Bonner Community Scholars Scholars and Bonner Center staff is an integral part of the program.

In September, the Bonners participated in two trainings during their bi-weekly, All Bonner Meetings. During the first meeting, Scholars were trained in Public Speaking by Pat Donohue, Assistant Provost for Community Engaged Learning and Partnerships, who previously served as the Bonner Center Director. Students learned how to articulate the work they do as Bonners and why it is important; the Bonner Center staff and students affectionately refer to this as “Democracy 101.” As citizens in a democracy, it is incumbent upon us all to go out into the community and help those in need, and through its Community Engaged Learning (CEL) program, The College of New Jersey requires all of its students to meet this responsibility. The public speaking training also served as a training for the students for their role in mobilizing TCNJ Freshmen for the CEL program.

On September 26th, Penny Ettinger, Sharon Kane and Hera Mir of PEI Kids conducted a Child Abuse Prevention Training for Bonner Community Scholars and Bonner Center staff at TCNJ. The training educated Bonner students and staff on how to recognize the signs of abuse in a youth and what steps should be taken if they suspect abuse is occurring. In the State of New Jersey, any person who has reasonable cause to believe a child has been subject to abuse is required by law to immediately report the information to the State Central Registry (SCR). Many Bonner Community Scholars work with youth at their various community partner sights, consequently, it is very important for Bonner Center students and staff to go through trainings such as this one. PEI Kids is one of the Bonner Center’s Community Partners and has been providing prevention, education and intervention programs regarding personal safety, sexual abuse and the overall well-being of children since its founding in 1985.

In October, the Bonner Center hosted several trainings and speakers for both Bonner Community Scholars and the larger TCNJ community. On October 1st Bonner Community Scholars, Bonner staff and TCNJ Freshmen from the Freshmen Seminar Program course, ‘Holistic Wellness,’ participated in a training with the Hawn Foundation titled, “Mind Up.” Participants were trained in the Mind Up curriculum, which is a comprehensive social and emotional learning program for pre-kindergarten through eight-grade students. It is based on evidence-based teaching practices as well as research from the fields of cognitive neuroscience, mindful education, social and emotional learning and positive psychology. The TCNJ students will be running the Mind Up curriculum with first- and second-grade classes in the Academic Sports Academy afterschool problem at Hedgepeth-Williams Middle School. For more information on the Mind Up Curriculum, visit

On October 24th, Andrew Black, a TCNJ alum and Legislative Assistant to Congressman Rush Holt, came to campus to speak with Bonner Community Scholars and TCNJ students about social entrepreneurship in government and politics. During the discussion, Andrew discussed how the work done by Bonner Scholars and TCNJ students in their Community Engaged Learning projects is connected to public service, whether its serving in public office, working in government or getting involved in the political process in a general sense.

In the evening of that same day, Bonner Community Scholars participated in training with Dr. Jerry Petroff, titled “No Rain, No Rainbow, No Fire,” that focused on helping the staff and students learn how to maintain their dedication and optimism while hitting road blocks in their service. When working in social justice, sometimes we are face with what appears to be insurmountable issues or tasks, and it is important to take time to reflect on the “small moments” of good that make the work we all do worthwhile. Whether it’s the smile on the face of a participant from Academic Sports Academy or the excitement of an El Centro client who passed their citizenship test, its small moments where we see the impact we have on the individuals and communities with which we work. The Bonner Center collaborated with Dr. Petroff and the Center for Sensory and Complex Disabilities on two projects in the past year. The “Human Abilities Unplugged” forum in the Spring focused on discussing how people with differing abilities live full lives and direct their own futures as well as a month long awareness campaign in October for Blindness Awareness Month.

On November 7th, Martin Johnson, Founder of Isles, Inc., spoke to three Freshman Seminar Program classes, two of which are comprised of Freshmen Bonner Community Scholars, about his experience in social entrepreneurship. Marty shared some of his personal background with the students, and how it shaped his ideals. Marty also shared how he was able to start up his own non-profit, including many of the challenges and eventual victories he experienced in doing so. Finally, Marty imparted some advice on those students who are considering becoming social entrepreneurs, or as he put it, “Non-profit 101: Have a good idea; Stick around; Learn to live with nothing; and Learn how to ask for money.”

To download a PDF version, click here: Trainings and Speaker 11.13.12

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Media Contact:

Madeline Bell