Originally Published on NJ.com's The Times of Trenton: https://www.nj.com/times/2020/12/trenton-residential-program-for-high-school-girls-gets-grant-for-new-bus.html
HomeWorks Trenton, a Trenton-based nonprofit organization, recently received a $50,000 capital grant from the James Kerney Foundation to purchase a school bus for transportation to and from its residential home.
HomeWorks Trenton is a free, community-based after-school residential program for high school girls in Trenton. The residents live in the HomeWorks house from Sunday evenings to Friday mornings and are transported to and from their public schools. Every afternoon, scholars engage in activities focused on academics, cultural life skills, women empowerment, and civic engagement. They then eat a family-style meal and stay overnight in a dorm with two full-time staff members.
Transportation is an essential part of the model. HomeWorks transports scholars to and from their Trenton public schools to ensure that scholars arrive at school on time and ready to learn. This helps combat the 36 percent chronic absenteeism rate in Trenton high schools.
This year, due to the COVID-19 crisis, scholars are transported to and from the local facility in Trenton, where scholars receive virtual schooling support along with academic and social-emotional programming. The $50,000 grant from the James Kerney Foundation allowed HomeWorks to purchase a 20-passenger school bus in August. In previous years, HomeWorks rented a van to transport scholars.
HomeWorks co-founder and executive director Natalie Tung started HomeWorks Trenton in 2016 after attending a boarding school and teaching in Trenton public schools.
“This fall, the Trenton district reported a 59% attendance rate amongst high school students,” Tung said. “Our HomeWorks scholars have an average of 94%.
“Our success is in large part because of the James Kerney Foundation and its generous donation for our very own school bus,” she continued. “We are so grateful for their investment in us and our scholars.”