2014-2015 Grant Recipients

Recognizing Rutgers’ responsibility to be a strong partner in New Brunswick, the university provides grants up to $25,000 to support community-based participatory research in the city. Below are the grant recipients for the July 1, 2014 - June 30, 2015 grant period.
A Study of the Working Conditions of Women Warehouse Workers in New Brunswick
Rutgers co-director: Dana Britton, Center for Women and Work, Department of Labor Studies, School of Management and Labor Relations
Community co-director: Marién Casillas Pabellón, New Labor

Warehouses in northern and central New Jersey, including in the city of New Brunswick, employ thousands of workers – mostly Latino immigrants – who pack goods for the largest retailers in the country. This research is a partnership between New Labor and the Center for Women and Work. We will focus on women warehouse workers, documenting how gender matters – how it shapes recruitment, training, experiences of work, and efforts to balance work and family life. The research will inform New Labor’s efforts to meet the needs of this workforce and the broader academic literature on immigrant women workers.

Backpacks Across Generations/Mochilas a través degeneraciones: Family Engagement in Support of Early Math and Science Readiness
Rutgers co-director: Alissa Lange, National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER), Graduate School of Education
Community co-director: Rita Koromi, PRAB

Backpacks Across Generations/Mochilas a través de generaciones is a partnership between the Puerto Rican Action Board (PRAB) and the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) to develop an innovative educational program for preschoolers and the adults in their lives. Families are invited to monthly workshops to learn and play, then take home a backpack filled with bilingual books, games, and activities with a math or science theme. A series of interviews and surveys will measure participants’ educational growth and perceived benefit to children, and inform strategy for maximized usability, appeal and educational value in future similar programming.

Hub City Fresh – A Healthy Corner Store Initiative
Rutgers co-director: Nurgul Fitzgerald, Department of Nutritional Sciences, School of Environmental and Biological Sciences
Community co-director: Briana Suffy, Office of the Mayor, City of New Brunswick

The City of New Brunswick, the New Brunswick Community Food Alliance, and the Department of Nutritional Sciences at Rutgers will work together to establish a healthy corner store initiative in New Brunswick. Through a participatory approach, this initiative will aim to solidify community level change to help achieve a healthier food environment in the city. Corner food stores will receive assistance in obtaining, displaying, and marketing healthful foods and beverages. Progress and outcomes will be evaluated by observation of instituted changes, sales of the healthful items, and interviews with store owners, managers, and customers.

New Brunswick School District Truancy/Dropout Prevention Study
Rutgers co-director: Rachel Lyons, 4-H Youth Development, Rutgers Cooperative Extension/New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station/School of Environmental and Biological Sciences
Community co-director: Richard Kaplan, New Brunswick Public Schools

The New Brunswick School District Truancy/Dropout Prevention Study will allow for a more in-depth understanding of the factors driving chronic absenteeism rates. This project will utilize a variety of peer-reviewed evaluation instruments (e.g. National Truancy Prevention Survey) to gain a greater understanding of the perspectives of key players (i.e. students, teachers, and parents/guardians) on the processes involved with New Brunswick’s truancy and dropout occurrences. This research will lead to the long term implementation of several possible key solutions (e.g. modification of existing programs/services, introduction of youth reengagement center initiatives, etc.) aimed at improving graduation rates among New Brunswick School District students.

Parenting Wisely: Parent Training to Reduce the Risk Factors for Gang Involvement
Rutgers co-director: Antoinette Farmer, School of Social Work
Community co-director: Rebecca Escobar, PRAB

Children and adolescents residing in urban environments are at risk for gang involvement. The Puerto Rican Action Board (PRAB) currently has a secondary prevention program that targets youth, ages 13-15, at risk for gang involvement. This program consists of six months of group intervention and six months of mentoring. This collaboration will focus on adding an evidence-based parenting component to PRAB’s current prevention program. Research has indicated that problems in parenting put youth at risk for gang involvement. This collaboration will yield information about the effectiveness of a parenting training program for parents of youth at risk for gang involvement.