Lawrenceville, NJ – January 9, 2014 – Since 1984, Lawrenceville-based PEI Kids has delivered comprehensive Prevention, Education and Intervention programs aimed at keeping Mercer County children safe. Recent financial support from the County, State and two corporate foundations will further strengthen the nonprofit’s “Comprehensive Juvenile Offenders Outreach Services (CJOOS)” and “Managing Aggression and Violence” programs, which served 120 at-risk youth in 2013.
Totaling more than $72,000, the grants came from the County of Mercer, Department of Human Services; the Office of Faith Based Initiatives (OFBI), a Division of Programs in the Department of State; Jannsen Pharmaceuticals, Inc.; and the Church and Dwight Employee Giving Fund. Additional support has been received from the City of Trenton Community Development Block Grant. The funding helps PEI Kids cover the costs to run the programs, which are provided at no charge and run in close partnership with local law enforcement, the Mercer County Juvenile Probation Department, the Mercer County Family Court and area schools.
PEI Kids Program Coordinator Rob Fiorello explains, “These programs utilize proven techniques and curriculums to help children who have committed entry-level offenses, or who have been identified as having anger management issues, increase coping skills, establish positive relationships and make better life choices. The OFBI grant specifically supports a partnership with Trenton Central High School that allows our staff and peer mentors, most of whom are from the Bonner Center at The College of New Jersey and Princeton Theological Seminary, to tutor students twice a week after school, helping them increase educational and job skills and see there are people available who are willing to help them.”
Despite the fact that 80 percent of these teens are reported to be gang-affiliated when they enter the programs, following program participation, they traditionally have very low re-arrest rates. “Historically, the recidivism rate for our kids has been about 25 percent, well below national statistics,” Fiorello states.
About PEI Kids
PEI Kids’ aspiration for the children of Mercer County, NJ, is “Safe Kids, Sound Futures.” Currently serving approximately 16,000 children and their families each year, the nonprofit organization began in 1985 when, while working at a rape crisis center, its founders discovered there were no local services tailored for children who had been sexually abused. For the past 29 years, its mission has been dedicated to promoting and maintaining a safe environment for all children. Its services have expanded to include engaging, developmentally appropriate and culturally diverse Prevention/Education and Intervention programs relating to personal safety; physical and sexual abuse; understanding physical and educational differences; school safety and bullying; anger management; gang prevention; and the overall well-being of the child and family. It is also the lead agency of the Greater Mercer Coalition to Prevent Child Abuse. PEI Kids also provides client services to foster care children and their biological families, supervising more than 1,600 family visits each year and transporting foster children and family members to visitations, and medical and other important appointments. To learn more about PEI Kids’ many programs and services for Mercer County children and families, and how you can support its efforts, please call 609-695-3739 or visit www.peikids.org. All calls regarding possible abuse are confidential.