Rowan awarded grant to help recovering women acquire workplace skills

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Glassboro--The Rowan University Foundation has been awarded a three-year, $295,000 grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation through its New Jersey Health Initiatives program to help women in resi

Funds from Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to assist women at Seabrook House

Glassboro--The Rowan University Foundation has been awarded a three-year, $295,000 grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation through its New Jersey Health Initiatives program to help women in residential drug treatment acquire work and life management skills as they prepare to re-enter their communities.

Rowan will use the funds to establish a "therapeutic workplace" for low-income women in residential drug treatment at Seabrook House in Bridgeton, Cumberland County. Titled BOAST (Behavioral Office-Based Achievement and Success Training), the program will target specific workplace behaviors and skills required for successful employment.

"Women in recovery will learn skills such as typing, data entry, and maintaining a professional demeanor. The program also will provide clients with a structure and setting to establish healthy lifestyle behaviors and skills, such as financial responsibility, social skills, a simulated salary, and other supports designed to build their confidence and self-esteem," said Rowan psychology professor MaryLouise Kerwin, who will direct the program and is principal investigator of the project.

The program, which will also receive matching funds from both Rowan and Seabrook House, will serve up to 70 women over a three-year period. Additionally, public relations and film students in Rowan's College of Communication will develop promotional materials and a film documentary for the program.

BOAST will be established at Seabrook House's MatriArk Family Center, which serves women in residential drug treatment and their children.

"We are delighted that Rowan was able to secure such a competitive grant that will fulfill a great need in our program," said Susan Gordon, research director at Seabrook House and co-principal investigator on the project. "With the financial support of this grant, and the expertise of the staff from Rowan University and Seabrook House, the BOAST program will save lives."

BOAST was one of eight projects selected from 153 applications that sought funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's New Jersey Health Initiatives program.

"The grant award speaks to the Foundation's confidence in Rowan and Seabrook House and our ability to offer an innovative strategy to address an important health care issue that affects the nation," said Rowan President Donald J. Farish. "We are grateful for the opportunity and will work on developing this model in the hope that it will be replicated elsewhere."

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation focuses on the pressing health and health care issues facing our country. As the nation's largest philanthropy devoted exclusively to improving the health and health care of all Americans, the Foundation works with a diverse group of organizations and individuals to identify solutions and achieve comprehensive, meaningful and timely change.

For more than 30 years the Foundation has brought experience, commitment, and a rigorous, balanced approach to the problems that affect the health and health care of those it serves. Helping Americans lead healthier lives and get the care they need, the Foundation expects to make a difference in our lifetime. For more information, visit www.rwjf.org.

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