News Releases

Junior Republic Receives $32,000 Grant From Alcoa Foundation
Posted 02/19/2014 11:00AM


           Litchfield – Daniel W. Rezende, Executive Director of the Connecticut Junior Republic (CJR), recently announced that the organization has received an education grant of $32,000 from the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvaniabased Alcoa Foundation, one of the largest corporate foundations in the U.S. The grant will be used to further develop and enhance the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) curriculum for students attending CJR’s Cable Academic and Vocational Education Center in Litchfield over a three-year period. This curriculum was formally added to the Junior Republic's education program through a previous two-year grant of $35,000 from Alcoa Foundation in 2011, and impacts the approximately 150 students who benefit from CJR’s education programs annually.

           Alcoa Foundation's 2013 grant was awarded over a three-year period and will enable CJR to engage an advisor with expertise in assistive technology to further develop the STEM curriculum. The advisor will provide guidance and support for the teaching staff in the use of technology, such as iPads, and will facilitate the enhancement of the Cable Academic and Vocational Education Center’s STEM education curriculum through the use of these tools. The support will also include training to ensure that CJR’s instructors are using tools and resources effectively in all areas of academic and vocational education to teach STEM principles.

           According to CJR Director of Education and Student Services, James Obst, the integration of technology into the STEM curriculum will help CJR align its education programs and curricula with the Common Core State Standards, which reflect best practices and national trends. These new state standards for education are designed to ensure that students have learning opportunities which enable them to demonstrate competence in English Language Arts and mathematics in ways that are applicable to real-world experiences, including problem-solving, critical thinking and evaluation of applied strategies. Furthermore, the grant covers workshops for CJR teachers and staff to ensure that technology is integrated into CJR’s academic, vocational, enhancement and independent living lessons plans, and will assist the educational leadership team in developing Individualized Technology Professional goals.

           “The opportunity to bring in further expertise and to stay current within the field is of great value to our STEM curriculum and to our education programs,” stated Mr. Obst. He indicated that the implementation of a STEM curriculum was a major part of the goal statement that was created at the time CJR’s Cable Academic and Vocational Education Center was accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges in August of 2010. The CJR education programs will be reaccredited by NEASC in 2015.

           “Alcoa Foundation's 2011 and 2013 grants have made it possible to integrate STEM principles into the curriculum and to empower our faculty to provide students with the most effective and productive learning environment," he said. "Alcoa Foundation’s 2013 grant will ensure that we are using best practices and in the forefront of national trends to provide at-risk and special needs young people with a competitive education,” he continued. “The use of technology not only helps us teach STEM principles but also supports workforce development programs for students that will help them meet their post-secondary education and employment goals,” he stated.

           “As the world evolves, so do the skills needed to participate in the economy of tomorrow. To prepare our next-generation workforce for these rapid changes, our schools must engage students in meaningful curriculum that is delivered by well-trained instructors,” said Lee Fish, Manager - Human Resources, Alcoa Howmet in Winsted. “This grant will help brighten the future prospects of a sometimes forgotten group of students and strengthen our community’s ability to compete in the global marketplace with an expanded pool of technology savvy workers.”

           Alcoa Foundation is one of the largest corporate foundations in the U.S., with assets of approximately $470 million. Founded 62 years ago, Alcoa Foundation has invested more than $590 million. In 2013, Alcoa Foundation contributed more than $22 million to nonprofit organizations throughout the world, building innovative partnerships to improve the environment and educate tomorrow's leaders for careers in manufacturing and engineering. The work of Alcoa Foundation is further enhanced by Alcoa's thousands of employee volunteers who share their talents and time to make a difference in the communities where Alcoa operates. Through the Company's signature Month of Service program, in 2013, a record 62 percent of Alcoa employees took part in nearly 1,300 events across 24 countries, benefiting more than 505,000 people and 1,900 nonprofit organizations. For more information, visit and follow @AlcoaFoundation on Twitter.

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

           The Junior Republic conducts residential programs for court-referred young men on its Litchfield campus. 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 provides residential care for boys at its group homes in East Hartford and Winchester and short-term, residential crisis intervention for girls at its Center for Assessment, Respite and Enrichment (CARE) in Waterbury. A broad spectrum of prevention, early intervention, family support, and intensive home-based services, and aftercare programs are provided for boys and girls through CJR’s offices in Danbury, East Hartford, Meriden, New Haven, New Britain (two sites), Torrington and Waterbury.

           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 (CSSD), 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:

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



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