The U.S. Department of the Interior's Office (DOI) of Insular Affairs awarded JSA a $520,977 grant – the largest in our 32-year history of partnering with DOI. This funding will help JSA continue our work preparing civically-engaged high school students from the U.S. Territories and the Freely Associated States.
The grant will be used to bolster recruitment efforts and provide full tuition and transportation scholarships to attend JSA’s summer programs – the Stern Civics Immersion Program and the Civics Institute Micronesia. A total of 40 scholarships will be available to students for the 2023 - 24 grant cycle.
“We are pleased to have the support from the Department of the Interior, which helps create access to high-quality programming for our insular area high school students,” said JSA CEO Rachel Kaganoff Stern.
Since the grant’s inception in 1991, JSA has empowered over 2,400 students to gain the skills and confidence to become changemakers in their communities.
In 2022, JSA launched its first-ever on-island program, the Civics Institute Micronesia, in partnership with Northern Marianas College. Program participants gain a better understanding of critical public policy issues directly from elected officials and decision-makers. Students then work to generate ideas for direct action in their communities. Establishing a program in the insular areas has made it more accessible for students who would typically not have the opportunity to experience a JSA summer program.
DOI funding also supports JSA’s three-week residential Stern Civics Immersion Program. Participants learn from faculty and guest speakers, engage with college level curriculum, get a taste of college life, and make lifelong friends. The curriculum challenges students to dig deep into the issues America and the world faces today and explore different perspectives.
This work could not be achieved without the commitment and dedication from JSA’s Senior Program Officer Ed Banayat, who has been managing and leading JSA’s efforts in the U.S. Territories and Freely Associated States for the past nine years.