Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Kids Learn About P.R.I.D.E.

One of life's most important lessons is learning how to make choices. Children being mentored through our VIPS (Volunteers in Protective Services) and Mentoring Moms programs got a first hand look at the importance of making choices when inmates of the state prison came to talk about how good people can make bad choices. Presented by the N.J. Department of Corrections and known as Project P.R.I.D.E. (Promoting Responsibility In Drug Education), the program went way beyond teaching the kids and their mentors about drugs. It brought home the realization that choices have consequences and that the wrong choices can have dire consequences. As painful as the stories of the young prisoners were to hear, they were also inspirational and compelling.

"By the end of the evening, all of us in attendance were rooting for these young people who had made some bad choices that will affect the rest of their lives. More importantly, the children were listening and heard the message," said Cheryl Carroll, VIPS Program Director.

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Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Seniors Meet in the Park

Every September we have the distinct pleasure of joining with literally thousands of seniors at the annual Bergen County Senior Picnic at Van Saun Park in Paramus. The County Division of Senior Services puts on quite a show, and agencies are invited to attend. We, of course, went with the intent of recruiting enthusiastic volunteers for our RSVP (Retired & Senior Volunteer Program) and our Chore Service.

Enthusiasm is the key word here! The weather was absolutely perfect, and we were literally overrun by many of the approximately 3,200 seniors in attendance who took the opportunity, in the midst of enjoying live music, dancing, lunch and craft displays, to stop by our booth for a chat.

RSVP matches seniors with volunteer positions where their time and talent can have real impact in meeting community needs. Chore offers volunteer handypersons the opportunity to perform minor home repairs that keep the elderly or disabled safe in their homes.

If you are interested in learning more:
about RSVP: call Barbara Wiederecht at 201-489-9333
about Chore: call Maureen McCormick at 201-489-7990

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Hot Diggity Dog!

Employees of Quest Diagnostics are going above and beyond to garner support for our Volunteers in Protective Services (VIPS) program which provides mentors for abused an neglected children.

On August 20 Quest sponsored the 5th Annual “Rutt’s Hut Challenge”, a hot dog eating contest in which five very enthusiastic employees plowed through hot dogs for 30 minutes until a champion was crowned. Reigning champion Art “The Animal” Diaz ripped through 11 hot dogs to be the victor once again.

Quest employees have raised over $13,000 to date, with funds used to provide recreational and educational enhancement activities for the kids in the VIPS program.

”The children in our program are in desperate need of a little fun and attention in their lives,” says Cheryl Carroll, VIPS Program Director. “We’re delighted that Quest has chosen to help them in such a creative way.”

“This contest is one of the most fun and rewarding events we sponsor," says Dave Hertzel, chair of Quest’s reach! committee, which coordinates the event. "The spontaneous spirit, the collaboration of all involved, and the joy of helping children so deserving of our employees’ efforts has been a wonderful spectacle to behold.”

For more information on the VIPS program or other Volunteer Center services please visit www.bergenvolunteers.org.

Pictured above is Dave Hertzel, Quest employees, VC Executive Director Janet Sharma, and VIPS Director Cheryl Carroll.