The Princeton Area Community Foundation awarded $500,000 in grants to more than two dozen nonprofits for summer programs that engage local young people, especially tweens and teens living in underserved communities.

The goals of the grants are to help bridge access to summer programming and increase the participation of youth in structured experiences and support families who may not otherwise have options available.

The summer programs offer a wide range of activities, including academic lessons, arts and crafts, swimming, sports, photography lessons, and field trips. Many also serve meals to the participants and some offer transportation.

The programs are also designed to help prevent academic summer slide and provide social emotional learning lessons and enrichment opportunities.

“We are committed to our communities, and to working with nonprofit partners who work daily to support families and help make a difference for children,” said Nelida Valentin, Community Foundation Vice President of Grants and Programs. “We know that for many of these working families, summertime presents childcare challenges, which is why we’re funding these outstanding programs. Having caring adults and good programming that reaches kids can make a difference in the lives of young people.”

The Summer Initiative Grants are funded through the Community Foundation’s Community Impact Fund. The Burke Foundation, J&J Innovative Medicine (formerly Janssen), and generous individuals also contribute to the Fund.

The Community Foundation helps donors give to the causes they care about and provides support to nonprofits to help our communities thrive. Since its founding in 1991, the Community Foundation has awarded a total of more than $200 million in grants to nonprofits.

This is the second year in a row that Summer Initiative Grants have been awarded. This year’s grantee partners are:

Arts Council of Princeton, Princeton: $9,500, Summer Arts for Unaccompanied Teens, which offers 10-weeks of free, bilingual summer arts programming and meals to unaccompanied youth who are enrolled at Princeton High School. The program teaches printmaking, digital arts, ceramics and illustration.

Artworks Trenton, Trenton: $10,000 Youth Art League – Summer Arts Camp; the organization will partner with the Boys & Girls Club and Sprout U to offer 3rd through 9th graders opportunities to foster new ways of imagining and creating through a wide range of arts programming, including fashion Illustration, comic illustration, meditation/yoga and photography classes.

Boys & Girls Club of Mercer County, Trenton and Lawrence: $20,000 for its Teen Camp & Teen Drop in Expansion; the grant will help support a 10-week Tween Camp, and a Teen Drop-In program. Both offer meals and transportation. Tweens will participate in swimming, career exploration, team building, educational activities, lessons in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math), sports and field trips. An expanded Teen Drop-in program will provide social and enrichment programs three nights a week and on some Saturdays.

Capital Harmony Works, Hamilton $25,000 for the Capital Harmony Works Summer Camp; the grant will help fund a half day orchestra camp, and a full-day chorus camp. Meals are provided to campers every day. One week of orchestra camp will be hosted jointly with the El Sistema NJ Alliance (ESNJA) at Princeton Blairstown Center, where campers will have music lessons, leadership training, and outdoor activities, including swimming, boating, and hiking.

Catholic Youth Organization, Trenton: $10,000, to help its 9-week East State Street Center Trenton Summer Camp, which provides meals to students. Activities include swimming, computer lab lessons, literacy/reading, arts & crafts, sports, life skills lessons and trips.

Every Child Valued, Lawrence: $18,000, for its Summer Enrichment Programming; it includes a K-6 model designed to mitigate summer academic loss. Students work with teachers and reading coaches in the mornings, participate in arts, sports and STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) activities in the afternoons and take field trips or have on-site events each Friday. ECV also runs a summer Tutoring and Mentoring Program and a running club designed by two ECV alumni.

Friends of Foundation Academy, Trenton: $10,000, for Foundation Academies Summer Programming; the academy provides academic support to almost 200 students and runs camps that offer recreational activities. Enrichment activities will include STEM programming, coding classes, DJ workshops, culinary classes and field trips.

Greater Somerset County YMCA, Princeton: $20,000, for the Princeton YMCA Summer Camp, which works to inspire children, provide social-emotion learning, and provides a safe, affordable childcare option for many working families.

Hamilton Area YMCA, Hamilton: $20,000, for its Camp Outreach, a pilot program held in conjunction with the Hamilton Township School District. The summer camp will include meals, STEAM lessons, field trips, certified tutors, swimming lessons, and other activities.

Hamilton Township Public Schools, Hamilton: a total of $10,800 for its Summer Camps; the summer enrichment program will include rising juniors and seniors working as junior camp counselors; a $5,000 grant will help fund camp scholarships and increased cost of supplies for the culinary camp in one program. An additional $5,800 grant will help support its collaborative program with the YMCA for Lalor Elementary School students. The 8-week program will include swimming lessons, school trips, fitness programs, academic instruction, and lessons on social-emotional support, mindfulness, and conflict resolution. Parental involvement will be encouraged.

HomeFront, Ewing: $25,000, for Camp Mercer: Summer Programming for Families in Housing Crisis; the 8-week day camp provides children with educational and enrichment opportunities. Mornings will be devoted to academics and afternoons to fun and adventure. The program provides meals, transportation and counselors trained in trauma-informed practices. HomeFront staff will be available to make connections to housing supports and other programs.

HomeWorks Trenton, Trenton: $15,090, for its Extended HW School Year Pilot program, which will include supplemental tutoring and mental health counseling, as needed, college prep, peer leader training and field trips.

Howard’s Healthy Choices, Trenton: $20,000 for its Summer Learning Academy, which includes academic enrichment programming, such as reading and math tutoring, science projects/hydroponics, and first aid classes. Students also learn about conflict resolution and problem solving and take educational field trips.

James R. Halsey Foundation of the Arts, Hamilton: $12,720 for its Music Video 101 program, for young people between the ages of 13 and 25. During the 10-week program, students will meet once a week, share a meal, and learn how to film and edit a music video. The videos will be presented in a showcase at the end of the program.

Mercer County Community College Foundation, West Windsor: $6,200 for its Upward Bound’s Summer Enrichment partnership with Princeton University Materials Academy, a three-week science and engineering program for 20 students. Students will learn about mechanics and chemistry in a project-based learning environment. Breakfast and lunch will be provided.

Mercer Street Friends, Trenton: $50,000 for its Summer Bridge Program for Trenton Students, a collaboration with MSF’s Community Schools. The full-day, 6-week program provides academic instruction in the morning and enrichment opportunities, including arts, fitness, gardening, cooking, and STEAM lessons in the afternoons. Students will also take field trips and spend a week at the Princeton-Blairstown Center.  The program integrates a social emotional learning curriculum into their activities.

Millhill Child & Family Development, Trenton: $16,340 for its Summer STEM Explorers Program for rising 7th, 8th, and 9th graders. Students learn about science, technology, coding, robotics, engineering, and mathematics through experiments, field trips to university labs and museums and by meeting professionals in the field. Social emotional skills are incorporated into the lessons.

PEI Kids, Lawrence:  $11,290 for engaging youth in their Summer Initiative; it provides a safe and structured environment for young people to develop competencies that can make long-term, positive impacts on their quality-of-life decisions.  Students engage in 105 hours of group programming to help them recognize risk factors and develop skills to become successful. Students also volunteer in the community and take field trips.

Princeton Community Housing, Princeton: $13,500 for its Youth Summer Enrichment Program, which will provide grants for 46 children to attend nonprofit and municipal summer camps. PCH’s social services coordinator, a licensed social worker, will promote the program and help families with registrations.

Princeton Nursery School, Princeton: $14,280, for its Un Poco de Todo: An Active, Enriching, and Engaging Summer Experience for All! program; 84% of their families could not afford summer programming without the tuition assistance offered by the school.  The summer program will offer experiences that promote cultural exploration, physical activity, and community building with classmates and families.

Princeton-Blairstown Center, Princeton: $10,000, for its Trenton Summer Bridge Program, which focuses on addressing the summer learning gap and the post-pandemic social-emotional skills deficit in students. Students receive STEAM and literacy instruction, learn about communication, cooperation, critical thinking and creativity and develop an increased appreciation for the outdoors while attending camp at the 268-acre PBC Campus.

RISE, Hightstown: $20,000, for its Summer Academic Enrichment Program, which serves 125 children. Students focus on academics each morning, and participate in fun activities, such as sports, robotics and arts in the afternoons. Students also receive free daily meals and take field trips. Older students participate in leadership conferences and college readiness courses.

Snipes Farm and Education Center, Morrisville, Pa.: $15,000, for its Summer Farm Day Camp for Low-Income and Disadvantaged Children; the farm received an unprecedented number of requests for camp financial aid this year. Children learn about gardening, growing food, healthy eating, cooking, caring for animals and teamwork. The camp also offers STEM-based and reading activities each day.

The Children’s Home Society of NJ, Trenton: $32,000, for its Extended Day Summer Camp, which serves 70 students in Grades 4-8 from three Trenton schools. The grant will allow them to expand the camp day to help working families: instead of ending at 2:30 pm, the camp will run to 5pm, and it will run for five weeks instead of four. Activities include STEM lessons, such as coding and robotics clubs, bowling and field trips.

The Watershed Institute, Pennington: $7,500, for its Summer Camp and Watershed Academy Lunch Program; 25 percent of its summer camp slots and half of its Watershed Academy for High School Students slots are reserved for students who receive financial aid. The grant will help pay for lunch for the students.

Trenton Circus Squad, Trenton: $35,000 for its “Run Away to The Circus” summer program, which is open to students ages 6 to 18-years-old. Students receive lunch, learn circus, life and social skills, and forge lasting bonds. Participants also hold free performances for the community.

UrbanPromise Trenton, Trenton: $15,000 for its Trenton Summer Camp, a free six-week program that provides academic support and fun activities; students will get support in math and reading, and participate in an end-of the summer Spelling Bee.

West Windsor Arts Center, West Windsor: $18,000 for its Teens and Tweens Summer Arts programs; the full-day tween program will offer lessons in musical theater, studio arts, digital arts, filmmaking, and acting. The morning teen program will explore digital illustration and animation, printmaking, painting, drawing, and architecture room design. Full tuition, stipends for breakfast and lunch, and transportation will be covered.

YWCA of Princeton, Princeton: $9,780, for its Summer Enrichment Initiative: Igniting Engagement and Exploration; each week, visitors will provide an array of experiences, including a mobile planetarium, a traveling zoo, storytelling, STEM lessons, and circus performances.