Happening Now at CJR
While it is still early in the year, I am reminded of all the accomplishments our boys and girls have made in the various programs at the Connecticut Junior Republic (CJR). Many of our young people face serious problems in their homes, schools and communities, and lack sufficient financial resources to meet basic needs, including adequate food, heat, healthcare and housing. A significant number of our boys and girls struggle with other challenges, including substance abuse and behavioral health issues.
Thanks to the support of generous friends and supporters, and the expertise of a skilled staff, many CJR students are able to overcome these obstacles and achieve remarkable successes. Last year, 16-year-old "Michael" was struggling with a serious opioid drug addiction. He had problems at school and was involved in incidents of theft and arrest fueled by his addiction. Michael was referred to CJR's Multidimensional Family Therapy (MDFT) substance abuse treatment program for help. Despite numerous challenges, he is doing well and hasn't had any relapses since starting treatment with CJR nearly a year ago.
To read more about Michael’s journey, please click here.
The girls at CJR’s Cable Academic and Vocational Education Center (CAVEC) in Bristol held a canned foods and coats drive. The young women proposed the concept of the drive and organized it themselves. Between CJR’s Litchfield and Bristol campuses, they collected nearly 100 non-perishable food cans and more than 50 items of clothing. The food and clothing were donated to local charities in Torrington and Bristol. The initiative our young students show and their concern for the well-being of others, in spite of their own issues, never ceases to amaze me. The CAVEC girls’ school was opened in September of 2017, and was recently licensed by the Connecticut State Department of Education as an approved non-public school and an approved private special education program.
To read more about CJR’s education programs in Litchfield and Bristol, please click here.
Earlier in 2018, the students enrolled in our Work-Based Summer Learning Program raised $2,500 through class projects. The boys and girls selected a local pregnancy care charity in Waterbury to be the beneficiary of $1,000 of these funds. Working together, youth used skills they learned in the program to market and sell various products, such as T-shirts, photographs, meals, fruit, candles, candies and coffee to reach their fundraising goal. This summer employment program was funded by generous grants of $24,000 from the American Savings Foundation and $10,000 from the Frederick W. Marzahl Memorial Fund, Bank of America, N.A., Trustee, and we are grateful for the educational opportunities their support made possible for CJR boys and girls.
To read more about CJR’s Work-Based Summer Learning program, click here.
We are thankful that CJR was able to help more than 1,500 at-risk, special needs and troubled boys, girls and their families over the past year. With the assistance of many impactful friends and supporters, young people like Michael can dream of brighter futures.
Daniel W. Rezende
If you believe CJR’s work with young people is important, please consider supporting our organization. To make a gift, click here.