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Friday, October 17, 2014

Learn How to Detect and Prevent Child Assault



Teens and adults are invited to learn how to detect and prevent child sexual assault at free training session on Wednesday, November 12th, from 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. or from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m.  The workshop will be offered by the Enough Abuse Campaign, a cooperative effort of Prevent Child Abuse New Jersey, Project Self-Sufficiency and the Sussex Warren Partnership to Prevent Child Sexual Abuse.  The community-wide education initiative aims to mobilize adults and communities to prevent child sexual assault by increasing awareness of the warning signs displayed by predators and as well as victims.  Educators are particularly interested in training middle and high school youth, their parents, teachers, administrators, coaches and other youth-serving professionals on how to recognize and prevent child sexual abuse.  Project Self-Sufficiency is located at 127 Mill Street in Newton.  Participation is free and open to anyone interested in stemming the tide of child sexual assault, but advance registration is required.  To register, or to find out more about the Enough Abuse campaign, call Project Self-Sufficiency, 973-940-3500.


Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Alternative High School Program Places Teen on the Path to Success



Not all teenagers make it through middle school and high school in time to graduate with their class.  Sussex County resident Jacqueline Crane voluntarily signed herself out of school after becoming pregnant at a young age.  After giving birth, she stayed home for over a year to care for her son.   During that period, her family also moved to a new town, so when the time came to return to school, Jacqueline felt uncomfortable.  Her mother referred her to Project Self-Sufficiency’s Skylands Alternative High School program instead.

Approximately 7% of high school students will drop out of school before reaching the 12th grade, according to the U.S. Department of Education.  Students from low-income families are almost twice as likely (13.8%) to drop out of high school as their higher-income peers.  There are many significant reasons teens drop out of high school before graduating, ranging from peer pressure to lack of parental support to failure to address special needs.  A feeling of boredom or lack of engagement at school is another common problem.  While the reasons for dropping out are varied, it is predictable that those without a high school diploma will fare worse economically than their peers.  Without a diploma, they will have a difficult time finding meaningful work.  High school drop outs will earn less, have poor health, live in poverty and have children at an early age, many of whom will also grow up to be high school drop outs, according to EduGuide, a non-profit organization that works with schools and other non-profit groups.

The free Skylands Alternative High School program at Project Self-Sufficiency is designed for teens and young adults who are no longer enrolled in school, or those who have graduated from high school but who may be struggling with literacy.  The Skylands Alternative High School program helps guide participants through GED testing, job training, and placement at a work site, in college or the military.  Once a participant is accepted into the program, they can expect to undergo a battery of assessment testing followed by help with attaining their GED, life skills training, pre-employment training, and other remedial education efforts.  Childcare, lunch and limited transportation assistance is available to all participants.  Upon completion of their education, participants will be placed in internships, followed by placement in paid employment, college or the military.  Follow up support will be provided by Project Self-Sufficiency staff to ensure that the new employees are faring well in their new positions.

Now 16 years old, Jacqueline admits that at first she was nervous about trying out the Skylands Alternative High School program at Project Self-Sufficiency.  However, she quickly adapted and is now thriving in the program, “I would recommend this program because it’s a great place and they teach you a lot of things besides schoolwork.”  In addition to academics, the program helps participants to become ready for the workplace, through skills assessments, internships and instruction in business etiquette.  “It’s definitely made me more self-confident.  It’s taught me how to write a resume and a cover letter, and how to prepare for an interview.”  Jacqueline now spends her days immersed in typical high school curriculum, like science, social studies and math.  She has surprised herself with her aptitude for numbers.  “When I was in school, it was really hard for me to understand math, but now the only thing I want to do is math!”

Eligibility guidelines for the Skylands Alternative High School program are strict.  Participants must be local residents between the ages of 16 – 21, who fall below the federal poverty guidelines.  Male participants are required to register with the Selective Service System in order to qualify.   

Project Self-Sufficiency is a private non-profit community-based organization dedicated to improving the lives of low-income families residing in northwestern New Jersey.  The agency’s mission is to provide a broad spectrum of holistic, respectful, and comprehensive services enabling low-income single parents, teen parents, two-parent families, and displaced homemakers to improve their lives and the lives of their children through the achievement of personal and economic self-sufficiency and family stability.  Since 1986 Project Self-Sufficiency has served more than 20,000 families, including over 30,000 children. 

For assistance in applying for the Skylands Alternative High School program, or to find out more about the other programs and services available at Project Self-Sufficiency, call 973-940-3500 or visit www.projectselfsufficiency.org.

Learn about Programs for Local Vulnerable Families



Members of the religious community, social service organizations, civic groups, educators, medical professionals, and local officials are invited to attend a luncheon at Project Self-Sufficiency designed to introduce them to the home visitation and alternative high school programs provided by the agency to Sussex County families.  The event will take place on Wednesday, October 29th, from 12:00 – 1:00 p.m. at the agency’s Community Education Center.  Project Self-Sufficiency is located at 127 Mill Street in Newton.  The one-hour long event will highlight the services available through the agency’s home visitation programs to low-income expectant mothers and new parents, and introduce attendees to the Skylands Alternative High School program, which is geared towards individuals ages 16 – 21. 

Through the home visitation programs at Project Self-Sufficiency, income-eligible, first time mothers, or those who are pregnant with their first child, can receive free parenting tips, baby items, information about childhood health, and other topics from certified nurses or professional home visitors.  The programs combine home visits with educational outings for mother and child to help parents boost literacy levels, address health issues, and help prevent potential developmental delays.  Women who are pregnant or parenting infants, as well as those with children up to the age of three are eligible.  Mothers have the opportunity to meet regularly with other women in similar circumstances by attending monthly Mommy Parties held at Project Self-Sufficiency.  Participants receive the latest information about household safety, parenting, health and wellness, and other topics, while enjoying lunch and engaging in craft projects with their children.  While on site, mothers can also take advantage of the other programs and services available to families at the agency.  Transportation to the monthly gatherings is available to women in need.  Project Self-Sufficiency’s home visitation services are available to income-eligible residents of Sussex, Hunterdon and northern Warren Counties. 

The free Skylands Alternative High School program at Project Self-Sufficiency is designed for teens and young adults who are no longer enrolled in school, or those who have graduated from high school but who may be struggling with literacy.  The Skylands Alternative High School program helps guide participants through GED testing, job training, and placement at a work site, in college or the military.  Once a participant is accepted into the program, they can expect to undergo a battery of assessment testing followed by help with attaining their GED, life skills training, pre-employment training, and other remedial education efforts.  Childcare, lunch and limited transportation assistance is available to all participants.  Upon completion of their education, participants will be placed in internships, followed by placement in paid employment, college or the military.  Follow up support will be provided by Project Self-Sufficiency staff to ensure that the new employees are faring well in their positions.

Bundling these two programs into one informational session has a purpose, noted Project Self-Sufficiency Executive Director Deborah Berry-Toon.  “Each individual invited to this event has the opportunity to help vulnerable families in our community.  We want to ensure we are all leveraging our power as a community, so that every family in need knows about the resources available to them, and understands how to go about accessing these services in order to change their lives for the better.”

To find out more about the programs offered at Project Self-Sufficiency, call 973-940-3500, or visit www.projectselfsufficiency.org.