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Grants Fund Work-Based Learning Summer Program in Waterbury
Posted 07/29/2019 02:15PM


      Thanks to a grant from the American Savings Foundation and the Frederick W. Marzahl Memorial Fund, the Connecticut Junior Republic (CJR) has been able to provide a six-week Work-Based Learning Summer Program for 40 at-risk and disadvantaged boys and girls from Waterbury.  Generous grants of $24,000 from the American Savings Foundation, $10,000 from the Frederick W. Marzahl Memorial Fund, Bank of America, N.A., Trustee, and in-kind contributions from CJR, have funded this unique summer program, which included vocational training in culinary arts, video and media production, horticulture and landscaping, and entrepreneurial skills development.  Participating boys and girls have “worked” Monday through Friday, from 9:00 AM to 2:00 PM, since July 1, and continuing through August 2, at CJR’s 80 Prospect Street Community Program site in one of the four study areas noted above.

      The students’ educational experience began with a standardized application and interview process for various positions the week of June 24th.  Boys and girls participated in resume development, as well as interviewing and employment-readiness training.  Each of the four study areas associated with the “work” component of the program utilized an entrepreneurship model to develop specific “products” associated with culinary arts, media production, and horticulture and landscaping.  A fourth entrepreneurial skills development class worked with the other program components to market their products and develop promotional materials.  Assigned student teams collaborated on projects and developed specific skill sets relevant to the four job areas, and all students have been paid stipends for their participation in the program.

      Boys and girls in the culinary class have catered lunches on a daily basis for CJR programs and other non-profit organizations in the Waterbury area.  The horticulture and landscaping class created an herb and vegetable garden on the grounds of the Junior Republic’s Waterbury facility at 80 Prospect Street, and students have worked on community beautification projects, including weeding and clean up along Prospect, Linden and Grove Streets. 

      In addition to completing its own projects, the video and media production class has documented the efforts of the other classes through photography and video.  This project component is specifically funded by the grant from the Frederick W. Marzahl Memorial Fund.  The Work-Based Learning Summer Program will conclude with a special awards luncheon for the 40 participants and their families, catered by the culinary arts program, on Friday, August 2.

      “These grants enable at-risk adolescents who are associated with CJR’s programs in Waterbury to have a productive and educational work experience, and to maintain the gains they have made during the school year through enrollment in a highly-structured, strength-based summer program,” stated CJR Executive Director Daniel W. Rezende.  “This experience provides educational and continuity over the summer and helps students develop practical skills that will facilitate their growth as responsible and contributing participants in the classroom, in their homes, and eventually, in the workplace,” he noted.   

      “Everyone can remember the importance of that first summer job.  It’s a step toward adulthood and independence, and an opportunity to gain real-world work experience,” said Maria Falvo, President & CEO of the American Savings Foundation.  “We invest in CJR because this is a great program that helps young people stay focused and engaged over the summer, while giving them career skills they will carry forward into the future.”

      The American Savings Foundation is an independent charitable foundation dedicated to strengthening the community by supporting education, human services, and the arts, with special emphasis on the needs of children, youth and families, through grants to community organizations and college scholarships.  Since its inception in 1995, the Foundation has contributed $57.8 million in total grants to local nonprofit organizations and in scholarships to hard-working students in need of financial support. 

      The Frederick W. Marzahl Memorial Fund was established in 1974 to support and promote quality education, human services and health care programming for underserved populations in the Woodbury area and is administered by the Bank of America, N.A., Trustee.  

      NOTE:  This program provides many wonderful photo opportunities.  To request a photograph or arrange a photo opportunity this week or next, please contact Hedy Barton (; or by phone:  (860) 567-9423.

      Founded in 1904, the Connecticut Junior Republic (CJR) provides care, treatment, education and family support for vulnerable at-risk, special needs and troubled young people so they may become productive and fulfilled members of their homes, schools and communities.  Today, the organization’s combined programs serve approximately 1,500 boys and girls annually.

      The Junior Republic conducts three residential programs for young men on its Litchfield campus, and provides longer term care at its Group Home in Winchester and REGIONS Program in Waterbury.  Regular, special, vocational and alternative education programs are provided for boys from communities throughout Connecticut at CJR’s Cable Academic and Vocational Education Center, which is located on its Litchfield campus.  Enhancement, transition and related services are also provided.  CJR also provides educational services for girls at its Cable Academic and Vocational Education Center in Bristol.

      A broad spectrum of prevention, early intervention, family support, substance abuse treatment, and intensive, home-based therapy and aftercare programs are provided for boys and girls through CJR’s community locations in Danbury, East Hartford, Meriden, New Britain, New London, Torrington and Waterbury.  Behavioral and mental health services are provided in most of these locations, as well as on CJR’s Litchfield campus and at the Gilbert School in Winsted by special arrangement.

      A private charitable organization, the Connecticut Junior Republic is accredited by the Council on Accreditation (COA) and the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC).  CJR is supported by gifts from individuals, businesses, foundations and organizations, and through service contracts funded by the Judicial Branch Court Support Services Division (JBCSSD), the Connecticut Department of Children and Families (DCF), the Connecticut Department of Social Services (DSS), and by Connecticut’s public schools.  For further information, please contact Hedy Barton, Director of Development and Public Relations (860) 567-9423, extension 252; or by email:

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  • Connecticut Junior Republic
  • 550 Goshen Road, P.O. Box 161
  • Litchfield, CT 06759
  • (860) 567-9423

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