Jonathan Frejuste

Ten Questions with SFIC Alumni and Author Jonathan Frejuste
    1. Tell us about your family and upbringing.  What was it like growing up in Newark, NJ?
      My parents are Haitian immigrants who came to America to pursue greater opportunity by building a life based on the values of perseverance, self-reliance, hard work, and education. They moved to Newark, NJ where I was born and raised. Newark is a great and resilient city where I acquired my toughness and motivation for social justice.
    2. Why did your parents choose to send you and your siblings to Catholic schools? What things did they have to sacrifice (to do so)? My parents chose to send me to Catholic schools to receive a quality education in a safe environment. My parents had a great work ethic, which they instilled in me, and demonstrated through working hard to build a strong foundation for their children.
    3. How did your parents learn about SFIC and how did a SFIC scholarship make it possible for you to attend a Catholic school within the Archdiocese of Newark? 
      My parents were made aware of the SFIC through my high school. The SFIC scholarship made high school tuition more financially bearable for my parents.
    4. What was your experience attending Catholic schools? What did Catholic education teach you about yourself, your community, and service to others? 
      My experience at Immaculate Conception High School was remarkable.  I learned about the power of service to shape the hearts, minds, and destinies of young people to become active and caring members of the community through the community service projects.
    5. How did Catholic education prepare you for college? How did it prepare you for life? Do you think you’d be the man you are today without a strong moral foundation? 
      The Catholic education focuses on my academic and spiritual development, which led me to have academic success and ability to engage diverse communities with an openness and sensitivity.
    6. Tell us about your book, “Bridge The Gaps – Lessons on Self-Awareness, Self-Development, and Self-Care”. Why did you decide to write it? Are there any parts of the book inspired by your Catholic education and faith? Where would someone go to find it? 
      Bridge the Gaps is a personal and community development guide that is designed to provide people with tools and a blueprint to build, rebuild or reposition their lives, families, and communities. The common denominator of all the people I’ve met on my journey is that no one comes from a perfect family. Whether your home was affected by abuse, addiction, or incarceration or you came from a great home with imperfect parents, we all come with some assembly required and deficits or gaps in our development that need to be bridged. I wanted to provide a guide to help people accomplish that goal. My faith is an organizing principle in my life and played a major role in my decision to write the book. You can find the book on my website
    7. Tell us about the service projects you have been involved in within your community? Did you always believe you would return to your inner-city roots or did you have other plans? If so, why did those plans change? 
      I started my career in the field of auditing with a Big 4 accounting firm where I earned my CPA license. I was on my way to climbing the corporate ladder, but along the way, my plans took a major turn when I learned about the racial prejudice in the criminal justice system manifested in the mass incarceration of people of color, specifically those from my community. The state of NJ has the highest disparity in black to white incarceration rates. For every 1 white adult, there are 12 black adults incarcerated. For every 1 white minor incarcerated, there are 30 black minors incarcerated when black and white adults and minors commit crimes just about the same. These startling statistics speak to the legacy of racial prejudice and systemic injustice that affect us all very deeply. It caused me to re-orient my life to help people affected by incarceration and do my part to heal the effects of the narrative of racial difference in our society. I currently serve at a local New Jersey Prison providing life-coaching courses to inmates who would like to rebuild and reposition their lives to successfully reenter society upon release and avoid recidivating.  I also serve as a speaker and workshop facilitator for several schools and organizations throughout NJ.
    8. How did The Scholarship Fund for Inner-City Children impact your life? How did it impact your parent’s lives? What would you say to parents who are considering sending their children to Catholic schools? 
      The work of the SFIC is encouraging and important because it gives economically disadvantaged families an opportunity to send their children to quality schools, and it restores a sense of hope in the world by showing that there are people who care about others. To any parent considering sending their children to Catholic schools, I would let them know that my experience with Catholic education has been tremendous, particularly with its focus on preparing students academically and spiritually to contribute to the common good of all.
    9. What would you say to the SFIC donors who helped make your Catholic education possible? 
      Your contribution is vitally important because you are investing in young people who can break negative cycles in their families and communities and build a foundation for a better tomorrow. Thank you for your investment.
    10. Tell us something that we don’t know about you.
      At one point in my childhood, I memorized the movie Lion King from start to finish.Jonathan’s book “Bridge The Gaps – Lessons on Self-Awareness, Self-Development, and Self-Care” is also available at Shop and purchase the book through and Amazon donates to The Scholarship Fund For Inner-City Children. For more information on the book visit