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For Immediate Release:  
For Further Information Contact:
August 19, 2005

Office of The Attorney General
- Peter C. Harvey, Attorney General

 

Tracy Munford
609-341-3235 or 609-571-510

 

“I Am” Inspires Cumberland Youth In State’s Gang Prevention Program to Create Digital Film Projects Reflecting Life Experiences
“Project Vision’s Adventures Club/Inspireworks” Completes Week- Long Project

Twenty-four junior and high school students from Bridgeton and surrounding Cumberland County, debuted digital film projects at the completion of “PROJECT VISION’S ADVENTURES CLUB/INSPIREWORKS Digital Camp program. The summer initiative is a partnership of the Office of the Attorney General, the City of Bridgeton, Bridgeton Public Schools, the Cumberland County Prosecutor’s Office and the GCADA.

The innovative project is an extension of the OAG’s Project Vision Initiative, which began in Bridgeton and five other communities statewide in 2005. The students participating in the camp, created an “I Am” digital film project reflecting their life experiences. The program ended today with each student exhibiting their film and presenting it to other students, the Attorney General, Mayor, Prosecutor, parents, friends and community supporters.

“PROJECT VISION gives children a vision of themselves for tomorrow. Inspiring, nurturing and providing positive alternatives to youth are the foundation of PROJECT VISION,” said New Jersey Attorney General Peter C. Harvey. “Cumberland County and Bridgeton officials, parents and volunteers have given youth in this area an opportunity to express their creativity through a fun filled and exciting project with the “I Am” initiative. I also want to thank Inspireworks because without their expertise and commitment to providing positive programs for youth, this program would not be possible.”

Inspireworks is a software company that specializes in creating digital learning content and hosts a Digital Video production camp for ages five through 17 throughout the year. The concept of “Everyone is an Author” similar to the “I Am” project allows all campers to collaborate in small groups to brainstorm a project, write a script, direct, act, videotape and edit an original short video. In addition, Inspireworks owner, James Tagliareni said, “The mobile campus offers computer stations and studios for a complete video production environment that is fun and interactive.”

“Our commitment to the educational field is to grow and enhance a students’ ability to comprehend the material presented to him,” said Inspireworks Mobil Media Director Chris Messina.

Jackie Zapolski, a 15 year old Bridgeton High School sophomore said, “This has been a great experience. I was able to show how important my family and friends are to me and how important a positive life is to me.”

“PROJECT VISION – BRIDGETON” is a partnership between the Office of the Attorney General, the Cumberland County Prosecutor, and the Bridgeton Municipal Alliance Youth-to-Youth Program, the Tri-County Community Action Partnership and parents and students to keep Bridgeton youth off the streets and provide safe havens for students after school. The Inspireworks Camp is under the direction of Karen Barnett.

PROJECT VISION is an after-school program created by the Attorney General as a partnership with county prosecutors and community based organizations to support and establish after school programs throughout New Jersey that provide safe havens for children and teens. The theme for PROJECT VISION is “Protecting Our Future, Preparing Our Children.”

The essential mission of PROJECT VISION, which the Attorney General established through the New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice, is to surround children with caring adults and teach lessons and skills that will turn youth away from gangs. The eight core elements of PROJECT VISION are personal responsibility, caring adults, safe havens, personal safety, academic development, life skills, career awareness and community service.

Cumberland County Prosecutor Ronald J. Casella whose office is administering the program said, “Project Vision is providing our children the opportunity to develop strong values from caring adults and it is providing our best deterrent against the destructive appeal of gang life with innovative technology with the Inspireworks Camp.

Students enrolled in PROJECT VISION - BRIDGETON receive personal responsibility lessons that emphasize decision-making skills, fair play and respect for others and self. Lessons in personal safety include instruction about the dangers of gangs. Community service lessons focus on community pride and the spirit of volunteerism. Students who participated in PROJECT VISION through the Youth-Youth Program, mentor younger students. More than 60 students participated in the program. In addition, more than 45 students between four and six
years old from the Tri-County Community Action Partnership are participated in PROJECT VISION – BRIDGETON.

Mayor Pirolli said, “I thank the Attorney General for including the children of Bridgeton in this important program and for his vision to improve the lives of children across the state. Our children are our most precious resource. The best way to ensure that they will become responsible, productive adults is to surround them with a positive environment with positive people and with the tools, such as technology, that will allow them to grow and learn and resist gangs.”

A $50,000 grant was awarded to the Cumberland County Prosecutor’s Office for PROJECT VISION from the Division of Criminal Justice. PROJECT VISION programs are also being developed in Asbury Park in Monmouth County and Irvington in Essex County. PROJECT VISION - New Brunswick in Middlesex County was launched in December and the Gloucester County program in Glassboro was launched in January. |

The Attorney General added that PROJECT VISION will expand in the fall to include eight new Phase II sites in Atlantic, Bergen, Camden, Mercer, Passaic, Salem, Somerset and Union Counties.


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