Monday, August 17, 2015

Arm our Children with Academic Tools to Achieve Life Long Success!


394,200 children in New Jersey are living in poverty. One in five children may not have access to basic school supplies because of their families economic circumstances. Receiving a backpack with the tools they need to succeed can be a life-changing experience.

Research shows that when adequately equipped, school children:

  1. Have positive Feelings of self worth.
  2. Miss fewer schools days. 
  3. Participate more in class.
  4. Have improved classroom behavior.
  5. Achieve higher test scores in all academic subjects.
Good News! You can help more children achieve by collecting school supplies through the Business Volunteer Council's Tools for Schools Program. Start a supply drive in your office and give a child the tools they need for a successful school year! Want to be a part of the solution? Drives begin July 27-August 24, 2015. Email us to receive our step-by-step Tools for Schools toolkit and get started.
 
Want to do more? As a corporate sponsor you have the opportunity to give these children the tools they need to prepare for higher education and a life long career that could take them out of the cycle of poverty forever.
 
Many of our community's low income families are so focused on making ends meet that academics often take a back seat. Children of low income families are not even considering college, because it has never been introduced to them as a possibility. These students lack the guidance and support they need to prepare for college and build meaningful careers.
 
As a Fostering Success sponsor your gift will be used to create and distribute a college road map designed to help high school students navigate a path to higher education. Only 9% of low income families earn a Bachelors degree. You can help change this! As a Founders of Change sponsor you can utilize your corporate employees to participate in a career workshop to exposing students to the possibility of achieving a successful rewarding career.
 
Your sponsorship is needed to help make this happen! Be a part of the solution and learn how you can change the life of a child forever. See our new sponsorship levels.
 
One initiative, two nonprofits, a lifetime of change.
  
Questions? Email ewest@bergenvolunteers.org to learn more about donating, sponsoring, or volunteering.
 
 

Thursday, August 13, 2015

The Volunteer Center Doing More Together



On Thursday, July 30, 2015, the Volunteer Center of Bergen County in partnership with Mahwah Environmental Volunteers Organization (MEVO), Sharp Electronics, Konica Minolta, United Water and the Center for Food Action collaborated efforts to address food insecurity in Bergen County.

394,000 children in New Jersey are food insecure. This statistic is a startling reality, but through the efforts of the Volunteer Center’s Business Volunteer Council, it doesn’t have to be our future! Business Council members, Sharp Electronics, Konica Minolta and United Water have sought practical solutions to address food insecurity through the Volunteer Center’s Brown Bag Buddies program. Recognizing many low-income families do not have access to fresh produce, the Volunteer Center collaborated with MEVO to allow corporate volunteers to aid in the planting of organic vegetables for low income families. 

On Thursday, volunteers from Konica Minolta and Sharp prepared, weeded and planted garden beds, while United Water volunteers added the finishing touches on a fence they sponsored, surrounding the entire two-acre farm. Even fellow nonprofit, Northern New Jersey Friendship House catered the lunches for the afternoon, at a significant discount. 

“Partnership is what is today is all about. It is our philosophy that we can accomplish more for our community together,” stated Erica West, Director of Corporate Engagement at the Volunteer Center. 

Although the temperature was hot and the humidity was high, the employee volunteers worked hard, laughed harder and took great pride in their tremendous accomplishment. Konica Minolta and Sharp will return to the farm on September 16, 2015 to harvest the vegetables, which will be donated to needy families through the Center for Food Action. 

More volunteer opportunities are available through MEVO at mevoearth.org or check out the Volunteer Center’s website to view volunteer opportunities.

 

Monday, August 3, 2015

iTNNorthJersey driving your transportation worries away

by Mary Lyons Kim

ITNNorthJersey volunteers help seniors and the visually impairedWhew!  iTNNorthJersey has taken off like wildfire and we’re living in gratitude.  We’d like to first thank some of those who helped us get started providing rides to those 60+ and the visually impaired.  The JCC on the Palisades in Tenafly helped facilitate the relationship between The Henry and Marilyn Taub Foundation along with The Jewish Federation of North Jersey, our two founding grant donors.  Both The Taub Foundation and The Jewish Federation have been incredibly supportive and generous in our efforts to help those needing another, and probably better, transportation option in Bergen County.  We have also received a grant from New Jersey Manufacturer’s Insurance and several smaller private donations.

As of August 1st we have 45 Rider Members and 20 Volunteer Drivers.  Ideally we need a 2 -1 ratio so we are ALWAYS recruiting drivers who can provide as little as one ride per month although more is much appreciated. Try it – you’ll like it!

Driving our members where they want to go, when they need to get there, is incredibly rewarding.  Bringing Roy from his house in Allendale to rehab in Saddle Brook always brings with it interesting and intellectual conversations.  Driving Doris from her home in Ft. Lee to her favorite shopping mall is a laugh filled ride that’s always inspiring and uplifting.  We are so happy to be able to bring Trudy to visit her husband in rehab for lunch several times per week.  She would otherwise have no other way to get from her home in Paramus up to Rockleigh that would be affordable.

We’ll continue to work hard to make iTNNorthJersey a continued success and please reach out to us anytime for more information; suggestions and good wishes are always appreciated.

We’re enjoying the ride and so can you!

Monday, July 13, 2015

Climbing New Heights

By: Sabrina Clay
It was a day full of fun and adventure. From rock climbing and tug of war to human knots and trust mind field games, everyone had a blast!
The day was sponsored by Goldman Sachs who brought with them 9 volunteers to give 18 kids, ages 5-14 from our Mentoring Youth and Mentoring Moms programs, a day of daring and exciting activity at The Gravity Vault in Upper Saddle River, NJ.

The camp-like experience and team oriented games created positive outcomes for the kids, boosting their confidence and self-esteem while teaching them the importance of trusting each other and working together.
The day’s adventures also brought out the kids’ leadership skills, which often times go unnoticed in their everyday lives. At first, some of the kids were afraid to climb the wall. But with lots of encouragement from the volunteers and fellow peers, they overcame the fear and conquered the wall – climbing all the way to the top! With new found confidence, some of them even attempted the really hard vertical wall!

I believe that through this fun-filled day, the kids realized they can overcome personal, mental and even physical hurdles if they set their minds to it.
A big thanks to Goldman Sachs for sponsoring the trip and raising over $1,300. And thanks to The Gravity Vault for offering up their staff and creating an amazing experience valued at $500.

What the kids were able to accomplishment on the rock wall is a true metaphor for what they can accomplish in life too. These kids were simply amazing!

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Volunteer Center Launches Board Matching Program for Corporations

“Non-profit organizations continually face the challenge of finding committed board members”, states Erica West, Director of Corporate Engagement at the Volunteer Center of Bergen County. “It is estimated that nearly 2 million non-profit board seats need to be filled each year.” The Volunteer Center’s BoardLink fills this gap by providing personalized matching services to skilled corporate professionals who have an interest in giving back to the community through nonprofit board service. By leveraging their 50 years of experience with non-profits and volunteer service, the Volunteer Center is poised to both fill a tremendous need in the community and also provide a real benefit to corporations. Integrating board volunteerism into the workplace is a powerful way to keep employees engaged and fulfilled and help them enhance their leadership skills, while also promoting corporate social responsibility. The community benefits tremendously by having strong leadership at local non-profits that are addressing needs in the community. BoardLink was launched in April 2015 in recognition of National Volunteer Week. 

The Volunteer Center has a growing cadre of more than 40 non-profits in the northern NJ/New York metro area who are interested and ready to take on new board members through BoardLink.

Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation is one company that is working with the Volunteer Center to make BoardLink available to Novartis senior leaders. Their involvement reflects the company’s commitment to engaging their employees in philanthropic initiatives that will further their mission of caring and curing and improve the social environment in which Novartis operates. 

The Volunteer Center will work with Novartis employees to assess their interests and skills, and identify a local non-profit that is a good fit. The Volunteer Center will also provide training to Novartis employees on the roles and responsibilities of a board member, as well as the expectations of serving on a non-profit board. 

“By sharing their vision, strategic thinking and experience with a non-profit organization in the community, Novartis leaders can also enhance their abilities and grow professionally”, states Wanda Sims of Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation. We look forward to working with the Volunteer Center to engage our leaders in advancing the work of local non-profit organizations.”

For more information about BoardLink, please visit contact Erica West at ewest@bergenvolunteers.org, 201-489-9454, ext. 133.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

VOLUNTEER HANDY-PERSONS SOUGHT

Want to enjoy a really rewarding experience? Help Bergen County’s senior citizens and disabled people remain safe in their own homes. The Chore Service, sponsored by the Volunteer Center of Bergen County, performs minor household repairs that senior citizens and disabled persons can neither do themselves nor get anyone else to do.

A Chore Handyperson volunteer goes on service calls one day a week from 8:30 am to 2:00 pm. Volunteers enjoy being part of a crew of two to four people who ride in specially equipped Chore vans. Each crew is assigned 4-5 service calls each weekday.

Last year, Chore volunteers visited over 2,000 homes and performed 4,000 repairs for grateful citizens. This year, the request for service is even greater, and additional volunteers will be needed to fill new and existing shifts.

Studies have shown that volunteers enjoy health benefits, from reduction of stress and lowering of blood pressure to improving self-esteem and enhancing the immune system.

Volunteering with a Chore crew offers an opportunity to get out, meet new people, stay connected with the broader world and share handyman skills.

Prospective volunteers should be able to perform minor household repairs such as those that able-bodied homeowners must do. Ideally, volunteers will be available on a regular basis so Chore can schedule a regular day with the same crew. Volunteer van drivers/handypeople are especially needed.

It’s a great volunteer opportunity for retirees, or people who work second and third shift jobs. Back-up volunteer handymen and women are also welcome.

Call Maureen at
(201) 489-7790 to find out how satisfying it can be to lend a hand to those in need.