Helping Bridgeton, NJ Youth Attend College
Steve Adubato moderates a panel of experts to discuss why Give Something Back decided to create a scholarship for students who have/had an incarcerated parent in Bridgeton, New Jersey. This panel shares how the community is coming together to help these students stay on track in high school and prepare them for college through mentorships, family counseling, parent outreach programs and community events.
Jennifer Henderson, Program Henderson, CASA of Cumberland, Gloucester, and Salem Counties
John Faqua, Family Advocate, Stronger Families
Dirk Johnson, Co- Author, “Working Class to College”
Wally Kappeler, Program Director, First Star Rowan Academy
"Welcome to Caucus. I'm Steve Adubato. Bridgeton, New Jersey has the highest high school dropout rate in the state. And it has the least amount of students obtaining a college degree in New Jersey. Here to discuss Bridgeton, and how it's coming together to help students stay on track to graduate with a college degree, we are joined by Jennifer Henderson, she is the program director for CASA of Cumberland, Gloucester and Salem counties, John Fuqua, a family advocate for Stronger Families, and we also have Dirk Johnson, the coauthor of a compelling book called Working Class to College with Bob Carr. And also, we are finally joined by Wally Kappelar, is the program director of the First Star of Rowan... at Rowan Academy, is that right? Correct. Now let me just get this right. This is so important that we talk about Bridgeton, because we were just actually... before we got on the air, what's the population of Bridgeton, New Jersey? It's 25,000. We want to get a feel for what Bridgeton is. You know, I've talked to Bob Carr on the air about this just a little bit, at the Give... Give... excuse me, the Give Something Back Foundation, but I want to get a sense of Bridgeton. Highest dropout rate. A very low number of... the percentage of students who go to college, a high percentage of young women who get pregnant. Why are there so many challenges in Bridgeton? And is it unique to other communities? What do you got John? As a person... But how well do you know the community? As a person born and raised in Bridgeton, I've seen it firsthand. The last 20 years, the high teenage pregnancy rate, high school dropout rate, the entire gamut. We also house 30 percent of the state's inmates. So the idea... Back up. Yeah. We house 30 percent of the state's inmates. With the federal prison, two state prisons in Cumberland County, it's easy to see how we would get so many of the... I'm not gonna say "state's rejects" but we allow people to leave those prisons and stay in our town. Hmm. So we have a high rate of crime, a high gang rate... that's not excluding my family, so I know about it firsthand. Three of my four sisters were teenage parents, education really wasn't..."