Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Happy Birthday Volunteer Center Blog!

To think it was just one year ago that we launched our blog with a posting about a Volunteer Center banner adorning the Ridgewood train trestle. And now, nearly 500 people visit our blog every month. We're delighted to be able to share stories instantaneously, and it's very exciting to see readers take an interest!

In celebration of this momentous anniversary, we're giving away an awesome Tommy Hilfiger polo shirt to the first 5 friends who wish our Blog "Happy Birthday"! Good luck everyone!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Program Perks for VIPS Kids

It has been a busy time for the kids in the Volunteers in Protective Services mentoring program. On Saturday, October 4, 44 mentors and children ventured over the bridge to the world famous Bronx Zoo. The group spent a beautiful day laughing together over the gorillas' antics and being grossed out by cockroaches.

On the bus on the way back home, one of the young mentees told a mentor that she loved getting together because it was just like being with your family, everyone accepts you as you are. It was a powerful moment that expressed what VIPS is all about. Everyone had a blast and can't wait until next year's trip.

On Friday, October 3, two young teens who are mentored through VIPS had the once in a lifetime opportunity to meet Ugly Betty star America Ferrera and tour the New York set where they film the show. The girls were given the opportunity thanks to the kindness of a new VIPS mentor, Mike Anthony. Mike, who is a movie and TV set manager, arranged the tour to the Ugly Betty soundstage. The girls were awed by the amount of work that goes into making a TV show. Ferrera posed with the girls for pictures and left a great impression that the girls will never forget.

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Tuesday, October 14, 2008

A Night at the Races

The Bergen County Business Volunteer Council (BVC) held their annual Night at the Races event on Friday, October 3rd at the Meadowlands Racetrack in East Rutherford. It was a winning night for all involved; $12,300 was raised to benefit the BVC’s mission to help low income children and families. Guests were asked to bring paper products with them to benefit the Family Assistance Center at the Teaneck Armory, and pictured here is the mountain of paper products that were collected for the families of men and women serving in Iraq.

Guests mingled under the stars, enjoying a BBQ buffet as they picked their winning horses and perused the silent auction, which had great prizes including a Vince Carter signed basketball, Devil’s Hockey tickets, and an “Adult Sleepover” package which included a bottle of wine and hotel room at the Woodcliff Lake Hilton.

The night was a lot of fun and a great success, due to the BVC.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Hip Hop Connections

It's no secret that Hip Hop is a popular music genre, but what exactly is it and where did it come from? To find out and to provide an event that was a bit more than just fun, the Volunteer Center's mentoring programs - Volunteers in Protective Services (VIPS) and Mentoring Moms - recently brought in a troupe of musicians and dancers from New York City who did a performance/workshop called Hip Hop Connections. 30 mentors, children and their families enjoyed the interactive musical experience, learning about where Hip Hop came from (combination of African, blues, spirituals, funk, rock 'n roll) and gaining a new and deeper appreciation of hip-hop style, music and dance. The kids, who ranged in age from 8 to 16, surprised the adults in attendance with their knowledge of all kinds of music and their willingness to particpate. Everyone learned a lot and had a hip-hopping good time!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

13th Annual Bergen Bike Tour

On Sunday, September 28, more than 300 riders braved the wet weather and came out to Darlington Park for the 13th Annual Bergen Bike Tour and helped make the day a huge success! The Bergen Bike Tour is a completely volunteer-driven event that to date has raised over $1 million for the Volunteer Center of Bergen County and Tomorrows Children's Fund at Hackensack University Medical Center. With rides of 10, 25 and 50 miles, there is a route for every ability level. The Ford Kids' Event featured a special Kids' Ride, as well as face painting, pumpkin painting, crafts, games, giveaways and more. Riders, as well as their friends and family, enjoyed breakfast donated by Dunkin' Donuts of Ramsey and a home-cooked picnic lunch with food supplied by Inserra Supermarkets, while DJ Scott Reddin got everyone dancing in the rain to some great tunes! Volunteers from the Healing Hands Institute massaged the riders aching muscles, and nearly 100 more volunteers were on hand to help make the day safe and fun for all.

Major sponsors included Howard Schwartz and Family; Ford Motor Company; TD Banknorth; Amper, Politziner & Mattia; Citibank; Columbia Bank; Eisai; PNC Bank; Tanis & Sons; Ramsey Auto Group and WebMD. For a complete list of sponsors and more information about the Bergen Bike Tour, click here.

Thanks to all of our sponsors, volunteers, riders and the Bergen Bike Tour Committee for a great day!