PRINCETON, NJ, March 22, 2016 The Princeton-Blairstown Center (PBC) today announced that Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc. has provided a corporate contribution in support of PBC’s innovative Summer Bridge Program. Piloted in 2015, PBC’s Summer Bridge Program works to combat summer learning loss and teach critical social-emotional skills among at-risk urban youth. Janssen’s sponsorship will provide some of the support to 100 low income students from Mercer County, NJ.
Begun in 2015 with a four-school pilot program, Summer Bridge was designed to decrease the summer learning gap of underserved urban youth while developing science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) skills. A group of at-risk youth from PBC’s partner organizations/schools participate in an intensive five-day-and-four-night educational experience at PBC’s beautiful 264-acre Blairstown Campus near the Delaware Water Gap, taking advantage of all that the Blairstown Campus has to offer, such as proximity to animals, birds, amphibians, the lake and forest, a hydro generator and dam, solar panels, and an organic garden. The program engages the at-risk students in three hours of academic enrichment each day, including STEM, literacy, and project-based learning. The program also helps the youth form positive relationships with peers and adults, enhancing the school/organization culture, and builds their social and emotional toolkits to strengthen them for academic and other arenas.
PBC provides this program free of charge to students at partner schools and agencies. In 2016, PBC expects to partner with the following Mercer County agencies and schools: MCCC-Project S.M.I.L.E./GEAR UP; Paul Robeson Charter School; and Young Scholars Institute.
The results from the 2015 pilot program are strong.
- 60-70% of the students felt their SEL skills increased a little, somewhat, or significantly; also, 60-70% felt their appreciation of/comfort in the natural world increased a little, somewhat, or significantly;
- 33% rated the experience a “10” for “the best time ever;” nearly 80% rated it an “8” or higher.
- 45% believed that Summer Bridge helped them to be more effective in helping a group be successful.
- 48% felt more tolerant toward others with opinions different from their own.
- More than half felt better able to cooperate with others.
- One-third were more likely to look for problems to solve; 42% felt more inclined to stop and think before making decisions and believed they’d make good choices.
- More than half felt more comfortable being outdoors.
“We are grateful to Janssen for their investment in PBC’s Summer Bridge Program and the Mercer County youth who will benefit from the daily academic enrichment and the opportunity to build social skills,” said Board Chair Dr. Sarah Tantillo. “Their support of this program aligns with their credo and exemplifies their commitment to being responsible and good citizens.”
About the Princeton-Blairstown Center
PBC, an affiliate of Princeton University, is an award-winning, independent nonprofit with a mission to transform the lives of vulnerable young people through integrated experiential and adventure-based programming in schools and at our Blairstown Campus near the Delaware Water Gap. We collaborate with schools, university partners, and community-based agencies to develop in youth deepened self-awareness, responsible decision-making, teamwork, and leadership skills. Our wide variety of year-round, multi-service programs serve more than 6,000 young people from the Mid-Atlantic States.