Monday, March 27, 2017

Meet the Chore Volunteers - Oggie!

Sheridan “Oggie” Ogden was a police sergeant in Teaneck for over 26 years before retiring.  He still teaches new officers at the Bergen County Police Academy.

He has been a member of the Monday, Chore Van #C3 crew for the past 4 years, and when he is not on the road with them, he enjoys fishing, and also volunteers with Habitat for Humanity in Pike County, PA, where he spends his summers. “I volunteer for Chore because not only does it mean I get to work with a great crew on Monday, but I can help people and learn many new skills.”

To celebrate this incredibly impactful program that enables thousands of seniors and disabled individuals to live safely and independently in their homes, please join us at the
Saturday, May 13, 2017
6 pm -10 pm
Camp Merritt-Cresskill American Legion
Tickets are $50
Includes dinner, soda, beer, wine and dessert!  Catered by Nightingale!
Entertainment provided by the Flying Ivories Dueling Pianos!


Visit bergenvolunteers.org/chore-beefsteak.html or call 201-489-9454 to purchase your tickets TODAY!

Friday, March 24, 2017

Women Volunteers Needed to Mentor Struggling Mothers and their Families

Raising a family is a challenge for any parent, but it can be especially overwhelming for mothers who are living on the edge of stability due to poverty, a history of trauma or abuse, and/or mental illness. Mentoring Moms, a program of the Bergen Volunteer Center, trains volunteer mentors to support mothers who are overwhelmed by the responsibilities of raising a family and who are also faced with immense personal challenges.

“I have learned so much about raising my son.” “I feel better as a parent and as a person since meeting my mentor,” say mothers currently in the program. Mentors are caring women who understand how hard it is to raise children and want to make life easier for other moms, who are often referred through community or child service agencies. 95% of the mothers being mentored live below the poverty line and are often single parents with limited resources.

“Mentors provide informal support and access to resources to help strengthen the family unit”, says Cindy Andrake, program director of Mentoring Moms. “We know that parents find it easier to care for their children and themselves when they have a network of positive relationships surrounding them, so often the benefits of supporting mothers extend beyond the parent to the family as well. Most all parents need someone they can call on when they need a sympathetic listener, some advice or ongoing support—our mentors fill that role.”

Volunteers are provided with a free multi-session, 10-hour training program and ongoing support from program staff. Training includes developing listening skills, dealing with communication challenges as well as understanding the role of a mentor. Guest speakers include current mentors and/or mothers who have participated in the program. While each situation is different, one mother aptly described her mentor as “Someone I can talk to besides family, who understands and cares. She makes me think about my life and encourages me.”

Registration is now open for Mentoring Moms Spring training, which begins April 3 from 7:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. at the Bergen Volunteer Center, 64 Passaic Street, Hackensack, NJ. Call (201) 489-9454, ext.211 to learn how to become a Mentoring Moms volunteer, and positively impact a mother’s – and her family, too.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Join us at Fifth Friday - Bergen County Prosecutor Gurbir S. Grewal


Join us for lunch as Bergen County Prosecutor Gurbir S. Grewal will be discussing current topics affecting Bergen County.  

Gurbir S. Grewal was appointed as Acting Bergen County Prosecutor on January 4, 2016 and was sworn in as Bergen County Prosecutor on Nov. 14, 2016.  As Prosecutor, he is the chief law enforcement officer of Bergen County – the most populous county in New Jersey and home to nearly 1 million residents living in 70 municipalities.  He oversees a staff of approximately 265 personnel at the Bergen County Prosecutors Office (“BCPO”), consisting of Assistant Prosecutors, Detectives, and support staff. 


Friday, March 31, 2017
11:30AM – 2:00PM
Hilton Hasbrouck Heights/Meadowlands
Ballroom
$40 - Register HERE!

Monday, March 20, 2017

Meet the Chore Volunteers - Joe, Ed and Ed!

When a person first begins to volunteer for Chore he or she is assigned a weekly shift with a particular crew.  Currently we have 14 crews of 2 to 4 volunteers who ride in 3 specially equipped vans as they travel throughout Bergen County performing the minor home repairs that keep our neighbors safe.  The crews not only can complete a myriad of jobs for each of the 4 to 5 clients they see each day, but they often represent a  welcome visit for many of the clients who are homebound.  Our clients will write letters of thanks, telling us how much they appreciated not only the repairs the crews completed for them, but how friendly and caring the crews were.




Joe Cutolo, Ed Lipiner and Ed Morandi are the Tuesday, Chore Van #2 crew.
Mrs. R., a Chore client, writes: “Thank you for the stairway railing Chore volunteers installed several months ago.  The other day, I slipped on the stairs and if it wasn’t for the railing, I surely would have been badly injured.  Thank you for keeping me safe.”

To celebrate this incredibly impactful program that enables thousands of seniors and disabled individuals to live safely and independently in their homes, please join us at the 40th Anniversary of Chore BeefsteakDinner!

Saturday, May 13, 2017
6 pm -10 pm
Camp Merritt-Cresskill American Legion
Tickets are $50
Includes dinner, soda, beer, wine and dessert!  Catered by Nightingale!
Entertainment provided by the Flying Ivories Dueling Pianos!


Visit bergenvolunteers.org/chore-beefsteak.html or call 201-489-9454 to purchase your tickets TODAY!

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Heroes Wanted: Local Youth in Need of Mentors

Each year in Bergen County approximately 600 children are removed from their homes due to abuse, neglect or other factors that place them at risk of harm. These children are placed in foster homes, residential facilities, hospitals, shelters or in the care of other family members. The Bergen Volunteer Center’s Mentoring Youth program is currently recruiting volunteer mentors to work one-on-one with youth between the ages of 5-21 who are facing these difficult challenges.

For 40 years, Mentoring Youth has trained and supervised adult volunteers to serve as mentors to youth confronted with adverse social, emotional and/or behavioral challenges at home or in their daily lives. Mentors serve as positive role models; provide guidance, friendship and support; and advocate on behalf of youth when called upon to do so.

The next 3-week Mentoring Youth training will begin on Wednesday, April 19, 2017. Each session is held from 7:00 pm to 9:30 pm at the Bergen Volunteer Center.

“Volunteers in the Mentoring Youth program improve the lives and experiences of children who need someone they can trust, someone to show them they are not alone,” says Lynne Algrant, Volunteer Center CEO. “There is an especially great need for men to mentor boys and for bi-lingual, Spanish-speaking mentors of both genders. There are not nearly enough volunteers enrolled so far.”

“These children are waiting for someone to step in and to believe in them, to encourage them to laugh and to succeed,” says Dr. Faith Samples-Smart, Mentoring Youth Program Director. “Time spent with mentors represent opportunities for youth to experience the world from a different vantage point and to build memories of happy times in spite of obstacles in their lives. What better than the simplicity of childhood?”

Mentors show children a different perspective, expose them to unexplored opportunities and help them to build trust. According to a study by Big Brothers/Big Sisters, youth who regularly meet with a mentor are 52% less likely than peers to skip school and 46% less likely to use drugs. Additionally, they are 33% less likely to hit someone or to start drinking. By sharing fun activities and exposing a youth to new experiences, mentors encourage positive choices, promote high self-esteem, support academic achievement and introduce young people to new ideas.


Mentoring Youth volunteer training is provided at no charge and covers such topics as the benefits of mentoring for volunteers and children; child and adolescent development; understanding child maltreatment; effective listening and communication skills; building rapport and developing strong mentoring relationships; the role of the mentor; and the matching and closure process. Additionally, training specifically addresses the needs of youth in the foster care system. Applicants are required to undergo a comprehensive background check and must obtain written letters recommendation as part of the training course. For more information about the Mentoring Youth program, contact Eva Tobias at (201) 489-9454 x-209, or visit www.bergenvolunteers.org and click on Mentoring Youth.

The Bergen Volunteer Center turns caring into meaningful action by engaging volunteers to meet community needs.






Friday, March 17, 2017

Community Partners Making-It-Home for Two Bergen County Residents

The cold month of February brought much warmth to two appreciative Bergen County residents. 

Ramon and Narcy were overcome with joy when volunteers from Ridgewood Moving Services arrived with kitchen, bedroom and living room furniture for their apartment in Hackensack.  Prior to our arrival they had borrowed lights and two chairs from friends because they did not have extra money to purchase furniture or accessories on their own. 

Ridgewood Moving, a vital partner with Making-It-Home, collects furniture for us when their customers wish to donate pieces to the program. For this particular move, they provided furniture from one of their clients, picked up additional pieces from our storage unit, and delivered all to Ramon and Narcy, easing their transition from emergency shelter to permanent housing.   

Under the leadership of Chief James O’Connor, officers from the Lyndhurst Police Department have proven to be among our most dedicated volunteers and donors.  On February 22nd, seven off-duty officers arrived at our storage unit with one truck full of donated furniture and two additional trucks ready to load for our newest client, Milan.  In record time, they used their brains and brawn to assemble a kitchen table and move 8 pieces of furniture and accessories into Milan’s one-bedroom apartment in Lodi.  


For more information about the Making-It-Home Program, please contact Christine at cschwake@bergenvolunteers.org.  




Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Volunteers Bring the Joy of Reading to Children in Need

Over 1,000 new children’s books were distributed through the Business Volunteer Council’s Books in a Bag program at the Bergen Volunteer Center. Books in a Bag is conducted annually by the Bergen Volunteer Center’s Business Volunteer Council (BVC), a program which engages companies in employee volunteering and workplace giving. 
           
Volunteers from NatureX packed the books into drawstring bags on March 1, which were then distributed to 472 pre-K and kindergarten students at the Quarles School in Englewood on March 2nd, in honor of Read Across America Day. Volunteers from BVC member companies NatureX, Atlantic Stewardship Bank, and Five Star Premier Residences were on hand to read to the students.
           
“According to Project Literacy of Bergen County, more than 150,000 people in Bergen County cannot read beyond the 4th grade level,” states Maureen Cameron, the Volunteer Center’s Chief Philanthropic Officer. “The Business Volunteer Council recognizes that literacy is not just the responsibility of our educational system, but the entire community and is poised to change the statistics. Books in a Bag was created not only to teach our children the value of reading, but to educate parents on the significant impact family reading can have on a child’s development.”
           
Books in a Bag was sponsored by Business Volunteer Council   member companies Konica Minolta, Sharp, Atlantic Stewardship Bank, and NatureX. Jim Eustice of NatureX stated that “everyone one of us who volunteered, no matter in what way, walked away a little happier and with more of a smile than we had when we walked in!” 

Mary Jo Cook of NatureX added “This was a great experience! It was wonderful to be in a school taking part in a reading program for children. They really enjoy being read to and acting out stories.”

The Business Volunteer Council gives businesses a platform to successfully engage employees through volunteer service and workplace giving. The BVC provides customized volunteer projects, including skills-based volunteering and support for corporate social responsibility initiatives. The BVC makes doing good an easy part of doing business by building high-impact employee led-programs that are locally significant and socially relevant. Companies with the right engagement tools and guidance can create incredible social change, while having a fun, memorable team building experience! For more information about the BVC, contact Maureen Cameron at 201-489-9454, ext. 204 or mcameron@bergenvolunteers.org.