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NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—Public Service Electric and Gas (PSEG) and the Tyler Clementi Center at Rutgers University are partnering to provide incentives to public high schools interested in offering a lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) "youth empowerment initiative," according to a news release.
A $10,000 grant initiative from the PSEG Foundation to the relatively new center at Rutgers will fund the initiattive, says the release.
The Clementi Center is named for a student who committed suicide in 2010. As we reported, Dharun Ravi, now 24, pleaded guilty to attempted invasion of privacy in November.
The plea agreement closes a case that brought national attention to Rutgers.
PSEG is NJ's largest source of electric and gas service, serving 2.2 million electric customers and 1.8 million gas customers, according to the utility company.
The partnership will encourage public high schools in the Garden State to seek grants in partnership with the Clementi Center for day-long youth programs, in the hopes that those events will help improve the health, academic performance, and graduation rates among LGBTQ students.
"We are proud to be part of such a critically important social initiative that will help school leaders feel empowered to speak to students about their needs and develop resources to help bridge the gap between trusted adults and LGBTQ students," said Ellen Lambert, President of the PSEG Foundation.
"In both school and work environments, we strive to create inclusive cultures that allow everyone to succeed."
Maren Greathouse, Tyler Clementi Center's director, said: "The Tyler Clementi Center is thrilled to be partnering with the PSEG Foundation on such an important initiative… Many [LGBTQ youth] continue to cope with social stigma, peer aggression/bullying, and fragmented support networks."
Though no other details regarding the workshop grant process have been released, they should be available in coming months, according to the release.
"The workshops will help engage all students in meaningful discussions about identity development, coping strategies, constructive methods for responding to anti-LGBTQ violence, and improve overall relationships between LGBTQ students and allies," reads the release.
"Students will be invited to participate in a statewide climate survey that measures school, home and neighborhood environment, overall health and academic aspirations — providing an in-depth snapshot of the experiences and needs of LGBTQ youth" throughout NJ.
Moreover, the partnership with PSEG aims to "provide critical support to LGBTQ youth and their allies, and prepare teachers and administrators to carry on this work in their respective schools," added Greathouse.