Bridgeton Mayor and CASA Director Share Scholarship Impact
Steve Adubato talks to Bridgeton, NJ Mayor, Albert Kelly, and Melissa Helmbrecht, Executive Director of CASA of Cumberland, Gloucester & Salem Counties, to find out how the Give Something Back Foundation’s college scholarships for youth from needy backgrounds is a long term investment in the economy.
"Hi, Steve Adubato, normally One on One, we have one on two today. We are pleased to welcome two very special guests. First we have Albert Kelly, who is the mayor of the great city of Bridgeton, New Jersey, and Melissa Helmbrecht, who is the executive director of CASA of Cumberland, Gloucester, and Salem counties. And Melissa, CASA stands for? Court Appointed Special Advocates. Wow, this is a terrific segment. On that's really positive. I hate to say "feel good", but it does feel good to talk about this. Our friends at the Give Something Back Foundation told us about the initiative that helps increase college graduation rates for foster youth if you will. Set this up for us. Sure. Who are these children? Why is it so important? Foster youth have some of the lowest college graduation rates of any part of the population in our country. About three percent of foster youth... only about three percent ever graduate from college, and more than half end up homeless or incarcerated within two years of aging out of the system. So providing on ramps to attaining a college education without accumulating debt is a game changer. So mentoring them, coaching them, getting them ready, Mister Mayor, is so important. Describe Bridgeton for those who don't know it, and why its population and the demographic changes going on are so important there. Well, Bridgeton is an urban area in southern New Jersey surrounded by farmland, and so we're a town that's economically challenged because we used to be an industrial powerhouse back in the day. Many of those businesses have left and closed up or moved south, and so it has left many of our citizens struggling. And so by not having the economic background and foundation, many of our students... college would not be a reality for them. And so I'm very grateful to Bob Carr and the Give Something Back Foundation. Yeah, so the Give Something Back Foundation is so interesting. As we... I'm gonna set this up. Because there are thirty students if I'm not mistaken here. Fifty three. Well, okay, but what we are about to see is some video. Sure. If I'm not mistaken, of some students who are being surprised because they are receiving scholarships. If I'm not mistaken, four year scholarships? Correct. To go to college. And these are the children we are talking about right now? Yes. From the community, from the community. From the university. They're not expecting this? No. This is an announcement. Does it need any more of a setup? I don't think so. These are special kids, talented kids, kids who deserve an opportunity. It speaks for itself..."