Thursday, June 30, 2011

HandsOn Network Announces Innovation Hubs and We’re One of Them

The Volunteer Center of Bergen County has been named an “Innovation Hub” by HandsOn Network, its national affiliate partner.  The Center is one of 10 organizations so designated as learning labs for community involvement that will drive innovation, build strong leadership and advance volunteer engagement through acquired skills and knowledge.  The announcement was made at the National Conference on Volunteering and Service which was held in New Orleans from June 6-9, 2011.

“The world is evolving rapidly with dramatic changes in how people live, work and interface with technology.  All of these also affect how and why people decide to get involved in their communities,” says Amy Smith, president of Atlanta-based HandsOn Network.  “To keep up with these changes, HandsOn Network is investing in select affiliates to help all affiliates stay on the cutting edge of innovation, create new ways to connect with individuals and create positive change in communities.”

In addition to the Volunteer Center of Bergen County, the other Innovation Hubs are: Boston Cares, Chicago Cares, HandsOn Central Ohio, HandsOn Greater Portland, HandsOn Twin Cities, New York Cares, Seattle Works, Volunteer Center of Santa Cruz County and Volunteer Marin/Center for Volunteer and Nonprofit Leadership.

The Innovation Hubs initiative will provide grant funding and executive leadership focused on innovation. The model for this innovation framework is based on trends identified by David La Piana, which include:

  • Redefining participation due to demographic shifts
  • Abounding technological advances
  • Organizing of work in new ways through networks
  • Rising interest in civic engagement and volunteerism
  • Blurring of sector boundaries

“Innovation is key to addressing the challenges communities across the country are facing,” says Janet Sharma, executive director of the Volunteer Center of Bergen County.  “As an Innovation Hub, we will be able to conceive and develop new ideas and programs that we will be able to share with the entire HandsOn Network for the benefit of all Americans.”

Over a period of three years, the practices and learning emerging from the Innovation Hubs will form the blueprint for evolving the model of civic engagement to meet 21st century needs of both volunteers and the communities in which they engage.

HandsOn Network is the volunteer-activation arm of Points of Light Institute and includes 250 community action centers that deliver 30 million hours of volunteer service each year across the country and in 16 countries around the world.  These centers help people plug into volunteer opportunities in their local communities, partner with more than 70,000 corporate, faith and nonprofit organizations to manage volunteer resources, and develop the leadership capacity of volunteers.  For more information, please visit

Monday, June 27, 2011

RSVP Celebrates Another Fantastic Year!

Our Retired & Senior Volunteer Program celebrated Older Americans Month in June with a festive luncheon hosted by Classic Residence in Teaneck. 40 of our outstanding volunteers plus several guests attended the celebration. Each was presented with a personalized certificate and a beautifully colorful pin that says it all: “I Make a Difference.”

Jane Linter, Director of the Bergen County Department of Human Services, spoke about the power and importance of volunteering and the special ways volunteers enhance services of all kinds.  

RSVP volunteers share their life of experience and knowledge in many ways: tutoring, reading to children, delivering meals, making friendly phone calls, preserving our environment, assisting at local blood banks and teaching computer skills.  

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

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Toot Your Corporate Horn!

Sponsorships are available -- and registration is now open -- for the 16th Annual Bergen Bike Tour, which will be held on Sunday, September 25. Proceeds from the event benefit Tomorrows Children’s Fund at Hackensack University Medical Center and the Volunteer Center of Bergen County.

This unique family-oriented event, headquartered at Darlington Park in Mahwah, features cycling routes of 10, 25 and 50 miles through some of Bergen County’s most scenic areas followed by a festive home-cooked barbeque with fun and games for kids.  Sponsorships begin at $500, and corporate sponsors at the level of $1,000 or may register unlimited number of employees at no extra charge.  Plus -- the company’s logo will be featured on the sturdy long-sleeve t-shirt distributed to every rider and volunteer.  TD Bank has already signed on as Kids’ Event sponsor, which features a Kids’ Ride for children under 10 plus crafts, activities, games and prizes.

“Each year, the Bike Tour turns over an average of 80% of the proceeds to the Volunteer Center and Tomorrow’s Children, a rate that far surpasses most events of this kind, and we are very proud of our philanthropic efficiency.  Sponsorships allow us to keep expenses low and give the maximum amount to our charities.  We’re looking forward to a tremendously successful event!” says Phil Murphy, Chairman, who is a CPA with Murphy, Miller Baglieri of Glen Rock.

Riders can register for the Bike Tour online now at

For further information about corporate sponsorship or organizing a group to participate in the Bike Tour, call 877-BER-BIKE.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Introducing HandsOn Connect!

The Volunteer Center is proud to introduce HandsOn Connect, a new state-of-the-art online database that connects prospective volunteers with a broad array of volunteer positions throughout our community. The layout and functionality are easy to use and will help you find volunteer oportunities that suit time, interest and location. You can sign up online and then share your experiences via Facebook,Twitter or any of the social networking tools linked directly to the site.

But that’s just the beginning! We encourage you to take some time and tour the new site and browse its fantastic functionality. This new technology with help your volunteering life be productive, easy to manage and fun! Click here to get started today!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Welcome to the Volunteer Center

The Volunteer Center would like to welcome new Board members Patrick Fletcher, River Edge; Roger Monaco, Fort Lee; Joe Sherman, West Orange; Wendy Blacher, Allendale; Bob Johnston, Emerson; Karen Corso, Mahwah; Ann Lota, Hawthorne and James Brown, Teaneck.

Each brings a fresh perspective and tremendous talent that will enhance our programs and operations.

We look forward to working with all of you!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Catch the action at the Forum on the Future of Education

Can’t make it out to the Bergen LEADS Forum on the Future of Education tomorrow?  Don’t fret, because you can watch it streaming LIVE online!

With the help of our friends at the New Jersey School Boards Association, we will be bringing you all the action live from the event.  Simply go to ,, tomorrow at 3:00pm and tune into the presentations by members of Bergen LEADS Class of 2011. 

If you’d still like to attend the event, call Amanda Missey at 201-489-9454, ext. 119 or email her at 

No matter how you watch, you won’t want to miss it!

Forum on the Future of Education
Tuesday, June 14 -  3-5 PM
Bergen Community CollegeMoses Training Center

Friday, June 10, 2011

NonProfit Training: Plain English IT

The Volunteer Center’s NonProfit Training and Resource Center will present a unique workshop targeted to those who deal with information technology:  Plain English IT: Maximizing Your Technology While Minimizing Your Pitfalls on Friday, June 17 from 9:30 am to 12:30 pm.

Non-profit board members, executives, managers and any staff or volunteers who work with secure information will benefit from attending this workshop which, while comprehensive, is not a “techie-only” presentation.  The workshop will be in plain English with concrete, easy-to-understand examples illustrating topics including:

  • E-mail pitfalls—secure file and e-mail transfers
  • Secure communications
  • HIPAA compliance
  • Cloud computing—what is it and how does it apply?
  • Network operations
  • Network security
  • How to purchase equipment and software
  • Improving your IT services while reducing expenses
Course leader is Richard Luna of Protected Harbor, a computer services outsourcing provider which offers website hosting and marketing, desktop outsourcing, and e-mail system services for non-profits and growing companies in New York, New Jersey and Texas.

Mr. Luna has been involved in the computer and programming field for more than 25 years—his customers include Fortune 100 companies such as the Library of Congress, Mellon Bank, CSC, Xerox, Bankers Trust and others.

Class size for Plain English IT is limited, and participants will be enrolled on a first-come, first-served basis. Pre-registration and pre-payment ($35 or $25 for Agencymembers) is required.  For more information or to register, e-mail, or call (201) 489-9454, ext.114.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Culmination of Bergen LEADS Seminar Year

The Bergen LEADS Class of 2011 will celebrate completion of their seminar year on Tuesday, June 14.  The culminating event will be a Public Forum on the Future of Education, which will be held at Bergen Community College from 3-5 PM, followed by graduation festivities.

Since the first Bergen LEADS monthly seminar last September, a recurrent theme running through every debate, presentation and site visit is that the current economic situation is forcing every provider of service at all levels of government to find ways to cut expenses and end duplication of services.

For their class project, Bergen LEADS participants were charged with researching the education system of 73 local school districts and exploring solutions to streamline the system, maintain standards, and ultimately ease the tax burden on Bergen County residents.  Teams will present ideas around four main topic areas at the Forum: 

  • Opportunity for Change through cooperation. Intriguing opportunities that school districts have been unable to implement because of a lack of personnel and/or expertise, coupled with intriguing ideas for substantive change.
  • Expanding use of technology to enhance learning.  Many school systems offer online and distance learning opportunities; learn about the costs and benefits of gearing this system up to scale.
  • Delivery of Special Education.  Special education is complex and costly for local school districts to provide. The team will discuss a service delivery model based upon multi-district consortiums.  
  • Consolidation.  A look at the potential cost savings if school districts in Bergen County shared district administrators (business managers, purchasing departments, human resources, transportation coordinators, etc...).

The Forum is open to the public free of charge.  For more information about Bergen LEADS, and to register for the Forum, email or call 201-489-9454. ext. 119.

Graduation festivities are reserved for class members and other invited guests.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Non-Profit Dilemma: Managing Change

Non-profit leaders are invited to “Leadership and Managing Change,” a workshop on Wednesday, June 22, from 9:30 am to 12:00pm at the Volunteer Center, 64 Passaic Street in Hackensack.

In today’s competitive environment, “doing everything right” is not enough to achieve your organization’s full potential.  You need enthusiastic executives and managers who can inspire their teams to work well with each other, welcome change and accept responsibility.  An organization can be transformed by approaching problems in a different way.

Through experiential exercises, agency leaders will understand why they act the way they do, and see their natural leadership tendencies surface.  They will learn how their attitudes and choices of behavior impact others and what personal changes will enhance their leadership skills to produce the most positive results for them and their organizations.

Course leader is Bob Williams, executive vice president and director of marketing of CultureWorks, Inc., a performance consulting company that enables people to transform their work environments to realize maximum performance and results.

Class size is limited, and participants will be enrolled on a first-come, first-served basis. Pre-registration and pre-payment is required ($35, $25 Agency Memebrs); the deadline for registration is June 17.   For more information or to register, e-mail, or call (201) 489-9454, ext.114.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Your Help is Needed!

In Monday’s Record, Harvy Lipman pointed out local pantries’ need for food. You can read the article here.

You can help! Local pantries need food now, and the situation is expected to get much worse during the summer. Contact a local branch of the local Center for Food Actions. Click here to view a list of items needed.

Carlstadt: Tues and Thurs 10am-3pm
301 Hoboken Road 07072

Englewood: Mon-Fri 9am-5pm, Tuesday 9am-7pm
192 West Demarest Avenue

Fairview: Tues and Thurs 9:30am-3:30pm, Wed 4pm-7pm
239 Anderson Avenue 07022

Hackensack: Mon-Fri 9:30am-3:30pm
316 First Street 07601

Mahwah: Tues-Fri 10am-2pm; Monday 10am-6:30pm
90 Ridge Road 07430 (next to Mahwah Library)

Palisades Park: Mon and Fri 10am-4pm
451 Grand Avenue 07650

Ringwood: Tues and Thurs 10am-1pm
145 Carletondale Road

Saddle Brook: Mon, Wed, Thurs and Fri 9:30am-3pm
224 Midland Avenue