The Youth, Education, and Special Projects (YES) Fund represents the collective financial efforts of individual donors and WRJ-affiliated sisterhoods to grow our Reform institutions, fund clergy education, and inspire our youth.
New York, NY, March 10, 2015 – Women of Reform Judaism (WRJ) has doubled its scholarship fund from its YES (Youth, Education, & Special Projects) Fund to send more girls to the URJ 6 Points Sci-Tech Academy, given the overwhelming success of WRJ's targeted outreach during last summer's inaugural camp season.
URJ 6 Points Sci-Tech Academy offers Jewish kids the opportunity to investigate science and technology fields under a Jewish lens. The scholarships are intended to encourage and support the participation of girls in these fields, which have traditionally been male-dominated. Individual award amounts for this summer will depend on the number of applicants.
To be considered for a scholarship, applicants must be registered to be first-time campers at URJ 6 Points Sci-Tech Academy and entering grades 5-10 in the fall of 2015. Although the scholarships are open to all girls, priority will be given to families who are members of a URJ congregation. Applicants will be considered on a first-come first-served basis.
"I am thrilled that WRJ has increased its efforts to promote involvement by girls in STEM fields," said WRJ President Blair C. Marks, who works for a Fortune 500 sci-tech company and knows firsthand the challenges of gender parity in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math. "As my own experience has taught me, it is so important for girls to feel encouraged to explore opportunities in these male-dominated, well-paying professions. I'm proud that WRJ is continuing a long tradition of pursuing equality and security for women and girls around the world."
Last year's initiative was such a success that all of last year's girl campers are returning to URJ 6 Points Sci-Tech Academy this summer. Jules Portnoy, a recipient of a 2014 WRJ scholarship said, "There aren't a lot of women in science, and getting people into it is really important. There might be people who attend camp who make important discoveries one day. That would be great. At Sci-Tech, you build a family with the other girls and everyone had the same interests."
"With these scholarships, WRJ has helped reduce financial barriers that may hinder camp attendance and gender barriers in the sci-tech industries," said URJ 6 Points Sci-Tech Academy Director Greg Kellner. "We appreciate that WRJ, which has always focused on supporting Reform Jewish youth, has directed those efforts toward encouraging girls to attend our camp and focus their talents on science and technology."
Women of Reform Judaism (WRJ) , founded in 1913, is the women's affiliate of the Union for Reform Judaism, the central body of Reform Judaism in North America. WRJ represents tens of thousands of women in hundreds of women's groups worldwide. WRJ's YES Fund offers grants to Reform Jewish institutions worldwide to strengthen the Reform Movement and provide the tools necessary for religious, social, and educational growth. WRJ's history of involvement with Jewish camping dates back to 1952, when it helped found the first Union camp, Olin-Sang-Ruby Union Institute (OSRUI) in Wisconsin.