A key mission component of the New Jersey Academy for Aquatic Sciences is to provide educational and economic opportunity to residents in Camden, New Jersey. The Academy developed the Community and Urban Science Enrichment (CAUSE) program to address that part of its mission.
CAUSE trains high school youth in marine science and biology to prepare them as interns at the Academy. Each year, 30 to 35 interns serve as educators in the New Jersey Aquarium, mentor eighth-graders through after-school programs, and guide summer campers.
Over the last 17 years, 150 teenagers have interned in the CAUSE program, all graduating from high school (local drop-out rates exceed 50 percent). Many interns stay at the Academy through their high school years, working as many as three to four days after school and up to 35 hours per week in the summer. All interns leave with enhanced self-esteem and widened horizons. In the last four years, 100 percent of CAUSE participants have enrolled in college.
Through this program, the interns have connected with 3,247 disadvantaged youths to date.
Subaru of America Foundation has made contributions to the CAUSE program, helping it to be successful. Because the program is comprehensive and offers a complete approach to creating personal success, private and corporate funding is essential for it to function.
Angela Wenger, executive V.P. and C.O.O. of the New Jersey Academy of Aquatic Sciences, “Generous support, like that from our long-time partner Subaru Foundation, allows the Academy to not only provide rigorous science training, personal and life-skill building workshops, and 21st-century work skills, but paid, meaningful work that provides economic support and a sense of self-confidence and competence.”
For more information on the New Jersey Academy of Aquatic Sciences and the CAUSE program, go to www.njaas.org.
Read more about the New Jersey Academy of Aquatic Sciences in the Fall 2007 issue of Drive.