Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Rebuilding Homes, Rebuilding Families

One of the mothers being mentored through the Volunteer Center’s Mentoring Moms program has three children and own a home in Bergenfield. One of their sons is autistic and has been living in a residential treatment center. He's been making great progress, and medical professionals recommended that he return home, provided he would have a room of his own. With two other children, their tiny 2-bedroom home simply could not accommodate their son's special needs - until Rebuilding Together of Bergen County (RBTBC) stepped in.

Thanks to a $15,000 grant from Lowe's, volunteers from the community were able to divide the basement into quarters to make two bedrooms, a common area where the children can play or do homework, and a separate laundry area.

Electricians from Local 164 volunteered their time to add and upgrade the electrical needs. Volunteers painted the interior and cleared an overgrown yard. Egress windows are being installed to bring the new living space up to code.

The family hopes their son will be home this summer, as this family of five is reunited under one roof.

To learn more about the
Mentoring Mom Program or Rebuilding Together click on the links above.

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Monday, June 21, 2010

Watch the Bergen LEADS Public Forum LIVE!

Watch the Bergen LEADS Public Forum On the Future of Local Government in New Jersey live on the web!

The upcoming Public Forum on the Future of Local Government, scheduled for, Tuesday, June 22 at 3:00pm will broadcast live thanks to and the New Jersey School Boards Association. Click here to view the Forum on June 22.

Team presentations will be completed by 4:15 PM, at which time the public Q&A portion of the Forum will commence. Follow the action on Twitter with hashtag #BergenLEADS.

For more information about the Forum or Beregn LEADS visit our website.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Summertime, Summertime, Sum-Sum-Summertime!

The summer is a great time to volunteer, especially for those (like students) who have some time to give. The Volunteer Center has compiled a list of volunteer opportunities at some of our Member Agencies that are suitable for people of all ages this summer. You can view the volunteer opportunities here. Please contact the agency directly if you are interested in volunteering.

Here's info about some of the volunteer jobs:

For more volunteer opportunities, visit our online database or call the Volunteer Center at 201-489-9454.

Enjoy the summer!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Thank You, Parisian Beauty Academy!

Mentors, moms and kids in our Mentoring Moms program enjoyed fabulous "makeovers" thanks to the Parisian Beauty Academy in Hackensack. The school hosted the fourth annual event for our program on Tuesday, June 8. 55 guests were treated to haircuts, facials and manicures, with services provided free of charge by stylists who donated their time.

Virtually all of the women being mentored have limited financial resources, and professional beauty services are the luxuries they cannot afford.

As one mom said, "This was such a treat - I haven't been to a hairdresser in years!

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. For more information on the Mentoring Moms program or how you can help please visit the Volunteer Center of Bergen County’s website.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Woodcliff Middle School Students are “On the Map”

Changing the World through Service Learning!

In the words of noted anthropologist Margaret Mead, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” These words served to inspire over 80 students and 20 school administrators and representatives from Woodcliff Lake to take part in a Global Youth Service Day!

Global Youth Service Day is a campaign that celebrates and mobilizes millions of children and youth to positively impact their communities through service and service-learning. Established in 1988, GYSD occurs in over 100 countries and is the largest service event in the world!

When members of the Woodcliff Middle School Student Council began searching for their next community outreach project they went right to the BergenVolunteens web site to look for opportunities to make a difference!

It was then that the idea of participating in a GLOBAL youth service day took hold. While taking part in a “Community Clean Up!” at the Old Mill on April 23rd, students in Woodcliff Lake, literally united with thousands of young people across the world, changing the world, one student at a time.

Student Council members reached out to the Community Service Club, Environmental Club, and Borough Hall in celebration of the true spirit of Earth Day (being addressed in science classrooms across the grade levels) as they cleaned up, spruced up, and beautified their recreation area and gave back to a community that has given so much to its youth!

According to Trish Montini, 7th Grade Collabrative Teacher at Woodcliff Middle School, “When children are engaged in meaningful ‘service’ opportunities, it is the adults, who are fortunate to partner with them, who ‘learn’ about the positive contributions that even the youngest volunteers can make to their communities!"

For more information about how you can offer exciting opportunities for young people to participate in meaningful and rewarding service learning activities please contact Debbie Emery at 201-489-9454, ext. 118.

To read more inspiring articles from the youth in Bergen County visit Bergen VolunTEENS.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Mentoring Moms Honored

The Volunteer Center’s Mentoring Moms program has been named recipient of the 2010 Governor’s Jefferson Volunteer Award for outstanding Volunteer Program in New Jersey.

The award was presented at a ceremony at NJ PAC in Newark. The Awards were sponsored by the Governor’s Office on Volunteerism, The Star Ledger and the Community Foundation of New Jersey.

The Governor’s Jefferson Volunteer Awards, which are given in 18 categories, honor the dedication and commitment of outstanding individuals and organizations whose selfless gifts of time and talents help improve the quality of life for citizens throughout New Jersey. Recipients demonstrate unique vision, dedication and tenacity of heroic proportion and serve as inspiration for others to respond to the call for volunteer action.

Since 1995, Mentoring Moms has recruited, trained and supported volunteer mentors to provide guidance to overwhelmed mothers. The program supports those who are striving to become better parents while they deal with the challenges of every day living. The Mentoring Moms Program impacts not only mothers, but other family members as well, and largely succeeds because of the volunteers who are there to support the entire family, from attending school meetings with the mother, to helping children with homework, and providing reliable transportation for the family.

“Our program clearly demonstrates that when you help a mom, you help the entire family,” says Cindy Andrake, program director for Mentoring Moms. “One mother, who was living in a domestic violence shelter when she first met her mentor, vowed to rise above her circumstances to be a better example to her teenage daughter. With the help and support of her mentor, this woman completed her G.E.D., found a job and now her family is living independently. The daughter followed in her mother’s footsteps and has completed her first year of college.”

For more information about Mentoring Moms, call (201) 489-9454 ext. 123., or visit our Mentoring website.

Monday, June 7, 2010

RSVP Honors Their Volunteers

On May 19 our RSVP (Retired & Senior Volunteer Program) celebrated Older Americans Month with a luncheon honoring our outstanding volunteers. 55 volunteers and guests attended the celebration, which was sponsored by Care One at the Cupola in Ridgewood and offered a delightful way to express appreciation for the many ways RSVP volunteers enhance our community.

Barbara Wiederecht, RSVP Director, spoke about the power and importance of volunteering. RSVP volunteers share their life of experience and knowledge in so many ways: tutoring, reading to children, tax preparation, feeding the hungry, helping the environment, local blood banks and teaching computer skills. The event was capped by presentation of an attractive, personalized certificate to each volunteer.

“I don’t volunteer for recognition,” said Barbara Moskowitz, a volunteer with the Mentoring Moms program. “But it is nice to be honored for something you love doing.”

Consensus was that everyone had a fabulous time and looks forward to doing it again next year.

If you are interested in sharing your time and talent to make the world a better place, please contact us at 201-489-9333!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Gulf Coast Disaster

Many people want to help with the clean-up of the catastrophic oil spill on the Gulf Coast. There are restrictions on what volunteers are able to do, but if you are interested, here are links to find out more information:

Volunteer Louisiana
Volunteer Mississippi
Volunteer Florida Disaster
Serve Alabama

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Sponsors Love Bergen Bike Tour

On September 26th, hundreds of cyclists, their families and volunteers will gather at Darlington Park in Mahwah for the 15th Annual Bergen Bike Tour - a fun, family event that supports two local charities: Tomorrows Children's Fund and the Volunteer Center of Bergen County. The event is typically supported by scores of corporate sponsors who enjoy superlative marketing benefits. Sponsorships are available at $500 and up with benefits such as signage, free registration for company employees, and the company's logo featured on the Bergen Bike Tour t-shirt, banners, posters and website.

The event attracts cyclists of all abilities, and everyone enjoys a home-cooked barbeque with a DJ, games, arts and crafts, giveaways, prizes and more.

New this year - sponsorship of the Bergen Bike Tour Kids' Ride is now available! Children 10 and under ride on their own special "track" at Darlington Park, cheered on by clowns, family and friends. Each child is provided with a goody bag and kids' t-shirt featuring the sponsor logo.

To find out more about the Bergen Bike Tour and more sponsorship opportunities, visit our website or contact Jane He at 201-489-9454, ext. 125.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Welcome new Directors and Officers!

The Volunteer Center is pleased to welcome newly elected officers and directors.

Elaine Walsh, of Oradell, is our new Board President. She has been a Volunteer Center Board member since 2004 and a Vice President for the past two years. She served as chair of the Center's successful Derby Day fundraising event this spring and is active on many committees. Elaine has also been very involved with the Girls Scouts of Northern NJ and the Oradell Women's Club.

Outgoing Board President Bob Cooper spoke eloquently about his time spent at the Volunteer Center and wished Elaine all the best.

Newly elected Board members include: Joyce F. Baynes, Teaneck; Bill Diana, Chester; Rosemary Mills-Russell, Englewood; Linda Panagia, Elmwood Park; Ellen Rafferty, Nanuet, NY; Lynn Singer, Woddcliff Lake; Michael P. Smith, Park Ridge; Roberta Sonenfeld, Ridgewood.

Congratulations Elaine and new Directors!