Straube Center in the News

PENNINGTON: Straube gives $25K to center for teens

Photo -  (LtoR)
Bill Meytrott, Director of Straube Center, NJ; Nancy Scarpiello, General Mgr Straube Center, Sara Ricker, Co-Chair Youth Advisory Board, Mike Markulec, Township Committee Liaison to Youth Advisory Board, Molly Haggerty, Co-Chair Youth Advisory, Randee Tengi, President Education Foundation, Dave Garber, Board Member Education Foundation and Kim Bruno, Youth Advisory Board Member

Grant to be used to establish the Straube Learning Center within the proposed Hopewell Valley teen center
Thursday, December 24, 2009 1:36 PM EST
By John Tredrea, Staff Writer / Packet Publications, Princeton, NJ

Support to the tune of $25,000 has been given to a plan to start a teen center in the Valley.

The Straube Foundation has awarded a $25,000 grant to the Hopewell Township Youth Advisory Board. Accepting the grant on behalf of that board will be the Hopewell Valley Education Foundation.

Established several years ago, the township Youth Advisory Board confers with township government on issues pertaining to young people. Made up of Central High School students and mentored by township resident Kim Bruno, the Youth Advisory Board has been working for several years on planning a teen center with the intent of locating it near Hopewell Valley Central High School.

The grant is to be used to establish the Straube Learning Center within the proposed Hopewell Valley teen center.

”The learning center is an important part of our idea for a teen center,” explained Youth Advisory Co-Chairwoman Molly Haggerty. “The proposed teen center will encompass a variety of activities that will include educational, recreational as well as health and wellness classes.”
The Straube Foundation is based in the Straube Center — a Pennington complex including offices, stores and an independent school (the Cambridge School) — and other facilities.

Ms. Bruno said the Youth Advisory Board’s goal is “to create a teen center that will focus on fostering the healthy development of Hopewell Valley’s teens in the areas of social and emotional functioning, academic enrichment and recreational activities. An essential component of the Teen Center will be a learning center that will be used to support homework assistance, tutoring and educational classes.”

Ms. Bruno said the Youth Advisory Board is seeking possible sites for the center.

The learning center the Straube grant will fund would equip the teen center with “computers, tables and desks to create a positive learning environment,” Ms. Bruno said. The grant also will be used to fund educational programs that make use of the computers, she said.

The Straube Foundation is a federal government-approved nonprofit charitable organization established by Win Straube     in 1995 for the purpose of finding and publicizing ways of obtaining quality education at little or no cost.

The teen center will be a place where Hopewell Valley youth can meet to spend time with their peers and participate in recreational and/or educational activities. It also will provide an opportunity for teens to explore new interests or to get help and advice from their peers.

”One of our goals was to have a place where teens could do homework,” said Sara Ricker, co-chairperson of the Youth Advisory Board. “We envision high school National Honor Society students tutoring middle-schoolers with homework and other academic needs.”

The Hopewell Valley Education Foundation has agreed to accept the grant on behalf of the teen center. The aim of the Education Foundation, established about 20 years ago, is to enhance the educational experience in Hopewell Valley schools through the identification and development of community partnerships and resources. Supporting ongoing educational needs for students in an after-school environment provides an educational experience that will strengthen students’ academic success, Foundation members believe.

”The Hopewell Valley Education Foundations is very excited to be the funding conduit for this grant,” said foundation President Randee Tengi. “We look for programs that extend typical learning environments and believe that the Straube Learning Center will do just that. Working with the Straube Foundation and Youth Advisory Board is a perfect example of the kind of community-based relationships we seek to develop in support of enrichment programs and activities.”

The Youth Advisory Board has surveyed its peers on the idea, visited other teen centers and made several presentations to local elected officials resulting in the formation of a task force to develop their concept. The Task Force is investigating a location for the teen center that would be within walking distance from Central High School and Timberlane Middle School.

”We want to call it the YAC, which stands for Youth Activity Center, and have it provide many things to different teens,” explained C.J. Sevilla. “It could include recreational activities like soccer, basketball and football, classes on art, music, self defense or nutrition and general health and wellness as well as educational classes.”

The Youth Advisory Board has reached out to other community members for their help with this project. The partners include the Hopewell Valley Municipal Alliance, the Hopewell Valley YMCA, local municipalities and the Hopewell Valley Regional School District.

Community foundations like the Education Foundation and the Recreation Foundation also have joined in support of the teen center.

The Recreation Foundation of Hopewell Valley recently expressed their support with a grant of $15,000 for the teen center.

”The Youth Activity Center is an excellent example of the community coming together to solve an issue,” said Kim Bruno, adult advisor to the Hopewell Township Youth Advisory Board. “We are proud to have the Straube Foundation join us in our efforts to provide a center that is designed by teens, for teens, and appreciate their generosity with this grant.”


One Straube Center Blvd • Pennington, NJ 08534 • Phone: 609-737-3322 • E-mail:
Straube Center Boulevard surrounded by Route 31, West Franklin Ave., Knowles Ave.-Bixby’s Way, and Broemel Place