NJSGA Youth Foundation Supports Mercer Street Friends Reading Intervention Program

NJSGA Youth Foundation Supports Mercer Street Friends Reading Intervention Program

TRENTON, N.J. - The New Jersey State Golf Association Youth Foundation has always been committed to assisting and helping advance youth group organizations. This charitable arm of the NJSGA has evolved over the years. This past summer, the NJSGA conducted a record-breaking Pro-Am at Hackensack Golf Club, compiling over $100,000 through entry fees, raffle ticket sales, hole sponsorships, and other donations. Through these generous donations, the NJSGA can support deserving youth programs throughout New Jersey. 

In 2023, the New Jersey State Golf Association Youth Foundation helped provide a transformative donation of $25,000 that will help advance the Mercer Street Friends Reading Intervention Program at their Community Schools. 

“The Youth Foundation is very enthusiastic to join in the Reading Intervention program. We hope that this Success grant will provide these youngsters with the necessary tools to expand their opportunities and live productive lives,” said Frank O’Brien, Chairman, New Jersey State Golf Association Youth Foundation. 

Mercer Street Friends, a nonprofit organization whose mission supports local families through comprehensive food and education programs has gone above and beyond to develop the reading skills of young students through their Community Schools initiative.  

In their Reading Intervention Program, Reading Interventionists meet with small groups of students four times per week for 30 minutes. 

“With first and second grade we do a lot of phonetic work,” explained Kathy Flowers, one of the Reading Interventionist. "Then we go into reading comprehension, working on reading skills, inferencing, predicting and character traits. With the upper grades, my main focus is to move away from the phonetics and focus more on the reading skills - the cause and effect, the sequencing, the higher order thinking questions for comprehension.” 

For Flowers, this has become a rewarding role she accepted following retirement.  

“It may take a month, for some it may take two months... then all of a sudden, the light bulb comes on,” expressed Flowers. They love coming to reading intervention. We're tweaking the skills that they lack and making them become better readers. Our goal is to get them on their grade level so that they're independent and instruction is a little higher.” 

The contributions stemming from this gift will have a direct and positive impact on children at Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School, Luis Muñoz-Rivera Elementary School and Benjamin C. Gregory Elementary School, all a part of the Trenton Public Schools.  

“It's very gratifying,” expressed Bernadette Trapp, Director of Community Schools at Mercer Street Friends. “The old adage of ‘it takes a village’ is very true. Here at Mercer Street Friends, the Community School department believes that we're an integral part of this village here at Gregory, Rivera and King Middle School. Especially at our two elementary schools, we believe we're part of the support, the resources and the solution to pushing kids towards reading on grade level.” 



The NJSGA Youth Foundation has donated to the Mercer Street Friends organization for several years, supporting other areas of their organization.  

“It helps to ensure that we can sustain this program moving down the road and that we don't have to make any cuts due to funding,” Trapp added. “Mercer Street Friends funds the entire Community School department through the general funds and generous donations from organizations such as the New Jersey State Golf Association Youth Foundation and other donors. Without your support and your generous contributions, there will be kids that we could push over that level that won't get pushed because we're not here to do it.” 

Mercer Street Friends also provides comprehensive educational opportunities in addition to social, emotional, physical and mental health support to students and families year-round, including summer programming. 

About the New Jersey State Golf Association 
Founded in 1900, the New Jersey State Golf Association promotes and preserves the traditions of the game of golf in the State of New Jersey. Today, more than 250 member clubs, courses, and organizations represent nearly 65,000 members of the NJSGA. Most importantly, due to the variety and quality of services provided to its member clubs, courses, and golfers, the Association continues to grow. The NJSGA is proud of its diverse tournament schedule, which includes 25 State Championships for golfers of varying backgrounds and skill levels. To learn more, visit www.njsga.org 

About the New Jersey State Golf Association Youth Foundation 
The New Jersey State Golf Association Youth Foundation supports deserving youth golf and sports-related programs throughout the state of New Jersey. This support is provided through grants and instructional clinics, as well as recognition through NJSGA publications and events. To learn more, visit www.njsga.org/youth-foundation 

About Mercer Street Friends 
As a Quaker-affiliated, nonsectarian 501(c)(3) organization, Mercer Street Friends is dedicated to nourishing minds and bodies, empowering families and communities by providing comprehensive programs to address poverty and the physical and emotional trauma it creates for children, families and the community. Their work is focused on three critical areas: food, families, and education. To learn more about Mercer Street Friends, visit mercerstreetfriends.org. 

NJSGA Social Media    
For the latest updates and news, visit njsga.org or follow New Jersey State Golf Association on Facebook, X and Instagram at @NJSGA1900. 

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