Monday, August 30, 2010

Day of Remembrance

September 11 will always be a sad day. But it's also a national day of doing good in remembrance of those who lost their lives as well as those who suffered as the result of the terrorist attacks. The Volunteer Center of Bergen County can help with ideas. Here are a few:

• Donate food to a food pantry
• Give blood
• Donate children’s books to a Head Start center or library
• Pick up litter in a park or along a sidewalk or roadway
• Join an area “Kids Care Club” to teach children about volunteering
• Pull weeds in a park or along a sidewalk
• Paint over graffiti (ask the building owner first!)
• Help the homebound or infirm: offer to run errands, sweep a sidewalk, rake leaves, do some gardening.
• Bring cookies to a new neighbor
• Write letters to our men and women in the military
• Donate pet food to a pet shelter
• Arrange to read to children at a daycare center
• Make and deliver a floral or craft decoration to a senior center
• Make tray favors to be distributed to those who receive meals on wheels

You can decide what to do - just do something to make our world a better place.

For information give us a call at (201) 489-9454.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Looking for a Great Family Activity? We've got the ticket!

The 15th Annual Bergen Bike Tour is a great way for families to get some exercise, enjoy the outdoors and do good in the community -- all at the same time. The Bergen Bike Tour, on Sunday, September 26, at Darlington County Park in Mahwah, will feature a special “Kids’ Ride" for little ones on big wheels and tricycles as well as those not yet ready for the road. We'll also feature a family-friendly 10-mile ride on the lovely roads around the park so families with kids ready-for-the-road can ride together. Older and stronger youth can also ride with an adult on the more rigorous 25- and 50- mile routes.

After the ride, everyone gathers to enjoy a picnic featuring home-cooked bbq fare, a DJ, clowns, games and prizes. Two Jamis bicycles will be raffled at $5 per ticket. Register online at or call 1-877-BER-BIKE (237-2453).

All proceeds benefit Tomorrows Children’s Fund and the Volunteer Center of Bergen County.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Brighten Your Day!

We just got wind of a great group project! Bight Side Manor, in Teaneck, is looking for groups to sponsor, plan and volunteer at weekly socials for their low income senior residents.

Each Friday afternoon the residents participate in a themed social event. P events have been “Ice Cream Social”, “Wine and Cheese”, and “Sock Hop”. Groups from companies, civic groups, scout troops, schools have an wonderful opportunity to be really creative and give back to an often overlooked population.

For more information, please call Joanne O’Neill at Bright Side Manor, 201-692-1000 or call Melissa Leibe at the
Volunteer Center, 201-489-9454.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Welcome New Members

The Bergen LEADS Advisory Panel, comprised of a select group of distinguished community leaders, is honored to welcome new members: Karyn Egeland, resident of Upper Saddle River, graduate of the Bergen LEADS Class of 2010, and a consultant with Huron Consulting in NYC; Jim Kirkos, Executive Director of the Meadowlands Regional Chamber of Commerce; Michael Maron, Chief Executive Officer of Holy Name Medical Center; Michael Stern, resident of Ridgewood, graduate of the Bergen LEADS Class of 2009, president of Kresiler Manufacturing, and member of the Volunteer Center Board of Directors; and The Rev. Vernon C. Walton, pastor of Mt. Calvary Baptist Church and former Bergen County Freeholder.

Sponsored by the Volunteer Center of Bergen County, Bergen LEADS is a dynamic community leadership program designed to inspire acknowledged and aspiring leaders to tackle the challenges that the future will hold for Bergen County. Monthly seminars on topics of critical importance are led by former County Executive William "Pat" Schuber with leadership consultant Lynne Algrant. Participants are selected on a competitive basis every Spring. For further information, go to

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Companies put PEDAL to the METAL

We are delighted to recognize several area companies as sponsors of the 15th Annual Bergen Bike Tour, set for Sunday, September 26 at Darlington Park in Mahwah. Proceeds benefit Tomorrows Children’s Fund and the Volunteer Center of Bergen County. Companies support these 2 organizations not only with sponsorship, but also by forming company teams, donating products and encouraging customers and employees to volunteer!

Sponsors to date include TD Bank; EisnerAmper LLP; Apax Partners; Eisai; Jamis Bicycles; Lakeland Bank; Oritani Bank Charitable Foundation; PNC Bank; Sanzari Companies; Baker Sports Management; Bald Eagle Management, Inc.; Bolkema Fuel Company; Columbia Bank; Driscoll Foods; Dunkin’ Donuts; Garden State Wiper; Hackensack University Medical Center; Inserra Supermarkets; Murphy, Miller & Baglieri, LLP; Rockland Electric Company; Andrew F. Rubenstein, M.D.; Sharp Electronics Corporation; Topline Products Corporation; Withum Smith+Brown; and Zerega Custom Pasta Company; Allendale Bar and Grill; Bollinger Insurance; The Chatterjee Charitable Foundation; Doherty Enterprises; La Cena Fine Foods; Malesardi, Quackenbush, Swift & Company, LLC; and NIA Group, a Marsh & McLennan Agency.

Thank you sponsors!

“Difficult economic times have really affected our charities,” says Phil Murphy, chairman of the event. “TCF and VCBC provide programs and services that help children with cancer, the frail elderly, people with disabilities and families in crisis. Services are in jeopardy, so we encourage community-minded companies and cyclists to support this great event.”

More than 400 cyclists will ride routes of 10-, 25- or 50-miles through some of northern Bergen County's most scenic areas. There will also be a "Kids Ride" for children 10 and under.

For more information, visit or to become a sponsor of this stellar event, call Jane He at 201-489-9454, ext. 125.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Volunteer Managers' Roundtable: Best Practices

Attention Non Profit Volunteer Managers, please join us for a lunchtime discussion on volunteer management. The group will share best practices in managing their programs and learn about new innovations in volunteerism. There will also be time to network with other volunteer managers and to share challenges and ideas. Sign up here.

Date: Tuesday, September 21
11:30 AM - 1:00 PM
Course Leader: Staff
Volunteer Center of Bergen County, 64 Passaic St., Hackensack
Registration Fee: $10 (FREE for Member Agencies)

Register Here!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Mark your calendars and get ready to serve!

Here is a list of the 2011 Days of Service. Learn more about these days and others like it on our Upcoming Events Page.

- MONDAY, JANUARY 17, 2011
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. believed that success is measured "by the quality of our service relationship to humanity." The King Holiday is promoted as a community service initiative to remember, celebrate and organize to meet the challenge of Dr. King's philosophy on public service. Honor Dr. King for the issues and causes he worked so hard for with a day “on,” not a day “off.”

National Youth Service Day encourages communities all across the country to recognize young people for their involvement in community problem solving efforts.

- SUNDAY, APRIL 10, 2011 - SATURDAY, APRIL 16, 2011
National Volunteer Week designates a special time to recognize and celebrate the tremendous efforts of volunteers at the local, state and national levels.

Help to remember and honor in a positive way those lost and injured on 9/11 and the many who rose in service following the attacks.

- SUNDAY, OCTOBER 23, 2011
Make A Difference Day, nicknamed the "national day of doing good," is a national community service effort designed to challenge and reward volunteers. Every year on the fourth Saturday in October, more than one million people spend the day "making a difference" within their communities, engaged in service projects and activities.

Thousands of families across America volunteer on this day, performing tasks to benefit their communities. This service day is designed to expose families to the benefits of working together; and to introduce and encourage community service as a family unit. This day is the kick off for NATIONAL FAMILY VOLUNTEER WEEK.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Volunteering in America

Recently, the Corporation for National and Community Service released a report titled Volunteering in America 2010 (read it here). The report is based on the results of a national poll which asked each state to report the amount of volunteering and service being performed in that state.

New Jersey ranked 49th of 51 states (including District of Columbia) in percentage of people who volunteer. New Jersey is ranked 51st in the number of hours volunteered per resident. Click here to read a detailed report online about volunteering in NJ. We want to know: does the report reflect your experience with volunteering in New Jersey? Why do you think New Jersey ranks so low? Please use the comment link below.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Sign Up Today, Make an Impact Tomorrow

The Volunteer Center mentoring programs want you! Training for the Fall is right around the corner.

Mentoring Moms are mentors and role models to isolated and/or overwhelmed mothers. Training for this program starts on October 5; please call Cindy at 201-489-9454, ext. 123 to register.

Volunteers in Protective Services (VIPS), are adult role models to children who have experienced abuse, neglect, trouble or isolation. Training for this program starts on September 16; both men and women are welcome to call and register today. Please call Francine at 201-489-9454, ext. 111.

So if you find satisfaction in helping opportunities for personal growth and fulfillment...enjoy making new friends...want to get back as well as give, then call today.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Question #68 – What is Bergen County’s Best Kept Secret?

The polls are now open for 201 Magazine's annual Best of Bergen contest for 2011. You can vote for the Best Burger, Best Spa, Best Florist and Bergen County's Best Kept Secret - which is The Volunteer Center of Bergen County, of course! Why? Because it is the wind beneath the wings of community service--matching people with opportunities to help others in Bergen County.

Please, take a second and vote for the Volunteer Center as Bergen County's Best Kept Secret (#68) and all of the other categories too! Click here to vote.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Becoming Who I Am Called To Be – A Teen’s Perspective On What Volunteering Gave Her

by Carley Emery, Class of 2012, Immaculate Heart Academy
Written after her experience with Family Promise of Bergen County

A time in my life when I felt very humble was quite recently. I volunteered as a counselor at Camp Lots of Fun. This camp was created by a woman, Cindy Blinn, who is the director for youth at Family Promise of Bergen County. The program was set up for children who either live or have lived in a family shelter in Bergen County. Cindy and the volunteers help the kids to have fun and experience a more privileged child’s summer.

The day before I was on my way to camp, my mom said to me, “You are going to meet these sweet young kids and soon you will be attached.” I did not acknowledge this statement. I thought to myself that she was wrong and it was only a job and a service requirement for school. How could I ever get myself attached to someone I haven’t even met and who I’ll only be with for a week?

I arrived at camp a half hour before the campers would be arriving to set up and get prepared for the long, eight hour day. As the campers shyly walked down the stairwell, they entered the room one by one. The very last camper to walk into the room was a tiny, African American girl.

This little girl was five years old and had recently moved out the Englewood Family Shelter into a two-family home in Hackensack. She was very shy and did not speak to anyone the entire day, except for me. She instantly opened up with me and was always by my side for the rest of the camp week! Although she was so young, she was an extremely bright little girl. I knew right away that she was going to grow up and do something marvelous.

This week of my life made me feel very special because I knew that I was helping people who had either very little or nothing at all. Although these people are less fortunate, they are of equal importance to anyone else. Seeing these children so happy and grateful to attend camp opened my eyes and reminded me that you should be happy with everything you have and there is no reason to worry about the things you do not. I know I got more out of this special experience than I ever thought.

Camp Lots of Fun, a program of Family Promise of Bergen County, is a non-profit, two week day camp for the homeless children of Bergen County. All the counselors are volunteer high school and college students. For information on volunteering in the future, contact Family Promise at 201-833-8009.