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Grants Fund Work-Based Learning Program in Waterbury
Posted 07/28/2020 03:47PM

Grants Provide A Work-Based Learning Summer Program For CJR Students In Waterbury

Thanks to the support of the American Savings Foundation and the Frederick W. Marzahl Memorial Fund, the Connecticut Junior Republic (CJR) is providing 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 includes 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, at CJR’s Waterbury Campus, located at 80 Prospect Street, since July 6, and the program will continue through August 7. A number of COVID-19 precautions have been incorporated into the program to ensure the safety of participating young people and staff members.

The students’ educational experience began the week of June 8, with a standardized application and interview process for various positions. 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 are using an entrepreneurship model to develop specific “products” associated with culinary arts, media production, and horticulture and landscaping. A fourth entrepreneurial skills development class is working with the other program components to market their products and develop promotional materials. All of the young people are participating in a weekly financial literacy course and collaborating on projects while developing specific skill sets relevant to the four job areas. All students are being paid stipends for their participation in the program.

Boys and girls in the culinary class are catering lunches for CJR programs and other non-profit organizations in the Waterbury area. This project component is specifically funded by the grant from the Frederick W. Marzahl Memorial Fund.

The horticulture and landscaping class is tending an herb and vegetable garden on the grounds of the Junior Republic’s Waterbury Campus and students are also working on community beautification projects.

The video and media production is documenting the activities of the other classes through photography and video, as well as working on other projects.

“We have never been more pleased to be able to provide this work-based learning summer experience for at-risk adolescents who are associated with CJR’s programs in Waterbury,” stated CJR President & CEO Daniel Rezende. “Our staff has been extremely diligent and creative about adapting and implementing this educational program to ensure the safety of all involved,” he noted. “With all the educational challenges associated with COVID-19, it has never been more important for at-risk young people to have a highly-structured, strength-based summer program that helps them add to their educational, work and social skills,” he said. “This experience helps students develop practical skills while facilitating their growth as responsible and contributing participants in the classroom, in their homes, and eventually, in the workplace,” he continued.

“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 believe it is important to continue to invest in programs such Summer Youth Employment at CJR, knowing that they are taking every precaution to ensure a fun, educational, and safe experience for youth this summer.”

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 nearly $61 million in total grants and scholarships.

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.

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 at 11 sites throughout Connecticut.

CJR conducts three residential programs for young men on its Litchfield campus, and provides longer term care for boys at its Group Home in Winchester and REGIONS Program in Waterbury.  Education programs are provided for boys from communities throughout Connecticut at CJR’s Cable Academic and Vocational Education Center (CAVEC), which is based on its Litchfield campus.  Education services for girls are provided at CAVEC’s Bristol campus.

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 by special arrangement at The Gilbert School and Northwestern Regional High School in Winsted.

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), by Connecticut’s public schools, and through other income earned for services provided.  

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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