Monday, June 29, 2009

Brown Bag Buddies help the hungry

The Northern New Jersey Business Council (BVC) is helping needy families this summer through "Brown Bag Buddies," a summer food drive. In response to an editorial in The Record ("No Picnic", Wed., June 24, read it here), the BVC spread the word about the importance of involving
area businesses and corporations to ensure that families and children do not go hungry this summer.

"Believe it or not, July and August are the busiest months of the whole year because the kids are home from school,” says Thelma Fedele, director of community and government relations for the Center for Food Action. “Children are not getting school lunches or breakfasts and, at the same time, donations of food go down."

Now in it's ninth year sponsoring "Brown Bag Buddies," the BVC welcomes all businesses - large and small- as well as civic and faith-based organizations to participate. Our goal is to collect $30,000 in food and cash, which will be donated to the Center for Food Action, by the end of July. You may request an organizational packet, which gives step-by-step instructions for organizing and promoting your Brown Bag Buddies campaign, by calling the Volunteer Center at 201 -489-9454 x 114 or emailing

Friday, June 26, 2009

10,000 and counting!

The Northern New Jersey Business Volunteer Council (BVC), which is sponsored by the Volunteer Center, recently completed an astonishing feat: collecting and distributing 12,673 children’s books! The project was the BVC's the 10th annual "Books in a Bag" initiative to promote early literacy. Books were collected at BVC member companies and distributed to early childhood centers serving primarily low-income families in New Jersey; we also sponsored a "Big Book Give-Away" for families participating in our mentoring programs.

Books in a Bag kicked off on March 2 on “Read Across America Day" and wrapped up at the end of the school year. This year’s participating companies included BMW of North America, Patton Boggs, Spectra Laboratories, TD Bank, UPS Information Services, Ricoh, Classic Residence by Hyatt, Heritage Point of Teaneck, Hertz, Pearson Education, Reader's Digest, and United Water. The campaign was underwritten by Pearson Education, Spectra Laboratories, United Water, and UPS. Thanks to our sponsors and to all the donors of books who made "Books in a Bag" so successful!

The Northern New Jersey Business Volunteer Council is comprised of of 32 businesses that work year-round to help children and families in need. For more information on membership in the BVC, please call Tess Tomasi at 201-489-9454, ext.114, or e-mail

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Congratulations LEADS Graduates!

The inaugural class of Bergen LEADS, Bergen County’s first community leadership program, recently celebrated its “graduation”. Bergen LEADS is a 10-month experiential learning and leadership curriclum designed to prepare aspiring and acknowledged leaders to tackle the unique challenges and embrace the opportunities in Bergen County.

Under the guidance of former Bergen County Executive William “Pat” Schuber, who serve as the LEADS Seminar Director, participants are immersed in stimulating courses that not only introduce them to topical issues of local importance, but also enable them to explore their leadership styles, enhance their leadership capacity and become meaningfully engaged in helping to solve strategic issues facing Bergen County.

Congratulations to the members of the graduating class of Bergen LEADS 2009: Gary Albrecht, Kathleen Bikoff, Ria Bloss, Pastor Rae Brown, Kimberly Caesar, Eric Cawood, Tod Christianson, Mary Connolly, Donna Corrieri, Liz Corsini, David Dubin, Richard Garcia, Marion Gregg-Whited, Mark Heard, Mary Hudson, Laura Kelly, Paul Koretz, Tony Luciano, JoAnn Mathews, Tanya Mayer, Sanetta Ponton, Ellen Rafferty, Sebastian Rodriguez, Mary Rossettini, Treva Spencer-Dupree, Michael Stern, Gretchen Viggiano, Helen Wronski.

For more information, visit the Bergen LEADS blog and website

Bergen LEADS is sponsored by the Volunteer Center of Bergen County.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Hey Teens! Do something interesting and have some fun this summer!

Do something interesting and have some fun this summer!

Our current economy has made it hard for teens to find summer jobs. Adults are getting positions traditionally filled by college student’s home for the summer, so college students are filling roles traditionally filled by high school students.

But -- there is a solution! Try volunteering! Volunteering can give you some practical experience. You can gain new skills, build your work experience and enhance your resume. Community service activities are an important component for many schools and colleges. And volunteering helps you develop a good work ethic.

There are lots of volunteer jobs available this summer. Check the list the Volunteer Center has put together. You can also utilize our online database at Click the Bergen Volunteens button, and then volunteer opportunities.

So -- Volunteer! The rewards can be valuable, and what else are you going to do all summer?

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


The Volunteer Center was in the house Saturday, June 6, in support of a great cause. Banana’s Comedy Club, in Hasbrouck Heights, was packed with friends old and new who came out to have a good time and support the Center's good work.

MC Steve Guilmette hosted the show and gave a great plug to the Volunteer Center. Comedians Steve Keller, Nore Davis and Dan Wilson brought many laughs for all generations. Thanks to everyone who came out -- and shared some laughs for a good cause.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Beauty Is As Beauty Does...

Mentors, moms and kids in our Mentoring Moms program enjoyed "makeovers" galore when Parisian Beauty Academy, in Hackensack, hosted the third annual event for our program. Fifty guests were treated to haircuts, facials and manicures, with services provided free of charge by stylists who donated their time.

Many of the women we mentor live on a shoestring and rarely have the opportunity to enjoy this kind of pampering. As one mom said, "This was such a treat - I haven't been to a hairdresser in years!" It was great fun for everyone.

The Mentoring Moms program recruits, screens, trains and supervises caring mentors for overwhelmed mothers in need of guidance in parenting and life skills as well as in moving from welfare to work. Mentoring Moms is sponsored by the N.J. Div. of Youth and Family Services, PNC Bank, TD Bank and the Junior League of Bergen County.

For more information on the Mentoring Moms program or how you can help please visit the Volunteer Center of Bergen County’s website.
Special thanks to Barbara Patterson (l) and Jane Villar (r) from Parisian Beauty Academy.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Older IS Better!

RSVP is a program you may want to get to know. RSVP stands for Retired and Senior Volunteer Program, but you don't need to be retired or a senior to get involved. You just need to be at least 55 and want to do something interesting to help others. RSVP helps people find volunteer positions that are valuable and fulfilling!

RSVP is always looking for volunteers to share their experience and knowledge and, in the process, help non profits in our community provide a huge range of services. Want to read to children? Deliver meals to shut-ins? Help publicize a nonprofit's good works? There's something for virtually everyone to do.

To get involved today call Barbara Wiederecht at 201-489-9333.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Happy Anniversary to our Parent Organization!

The Volunteer Center was founded by the Junior League of Bergen County way back in 1966. We are delighted to report that, In honor of it's own 75th anniversary, the JLBC has included the Volunteer Center as the recipient of one of three $10,000 grants awarded to local organization with which the League has had a longstanding relationship.

The grant to the Volunteer Center will help our Mentoring Moms program recruit, train, screen and supervise mentors for overwhelmed or isolated mothers who need guidance in parenting and life skills. Other grants were presented to Woodlea, a group home for girls operated by Children's Aid and Family Services, and to Rebuilding Together Bergen County.

Pictured are the JLBC President Sarah Beane Ricca, 75th Anniversary Celebration Chair Stacey Sandler and Volunteer Center Executive Director Janet Sharma.