Tuesday, April 30, 2013

A Most Amazing Auction!

Wow!  Guests at our Derby Day party this Saturday are going to be dazzled!
Tickets are still available, so buy online here. The party runs from 3:30-7 at Apple Ridge Country Club in Mahwah.
Here is just a small sampling of our abundant silent and live auctions:     
  • Florida Package: one week stay in  Orlando, tickets to SeaWorld and Disney and a $500 airfare voucher  
  • Week in St. Maarten
  • Diamond Necklace 
  • Yankees tickets!
  • Sports Memorabilia Galore! 
  • Great Getaways 
  • Tickets to “Matilda” (12 Tony nominations!) on Broadway 
  • Designer items:  Coach, Tory Burch, Kate Spade 
  • Two giant flat screen TVs 
  • Fine fragrances, exquisite jewelry & much, much more!
See you at the Derby!
P.S.  All proceeds benefit the Volunteer Center of Bergen County.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Mentoring Moms Evaluation

We have always known that the Mentoring Moms program was good.  It fills a unique role in the community by broadening the social network of support that overwhelmed mothers need in order to deal with the everyday challenges of raising a family.  And in the process of helping mothers, it helps children and families thrive.  But, the program had never been professionally evaluated to determine its effectiveness, and our view of the program was always biased by personal opinions.

Recently, however, and for the first time in the program’s 17-year history, an extensive evaluation was conducted by an independent source, Dr. Sheetal Ranjan, Ph.D., from the Department of Sociology at William Paterson University and her committee of staff and graduate research students. The team studied extensive data collected from the program, evaluated in-house surveys, and conducted focus groups of mentors and mentees as well as one-on-one interviews with staff, mentors, mentees (referred to here as mothers) and other stakeholders.

 Here are few of their findings: 

  • Virtually all mothers in the program felt that the mentors have made a positive difference in their lives. 
  • A very large proportion (82%) of the mothers in the program attributed their success in achieving their goals to the help of their mentor.
  • 50% of the mothers see much improvement in setting and maintaining routines in their home as well as guiding children’s behavior without use of violence or yelling.
  • 92% of mothers found their relationship with their mentors to be open and 87% said the relationship was helpful.
  • More than 80% of the mothers felt the mentoring relationship helped them make realistic plans for their lives and their future.
  • 28.9% of the mothers had seen improvement in their ability to handle stress as a result of the program.

More compelling than the results of surveys, were the comments shared with Dr. Ranjan and her team during small focus groups with the mothers and mentors:

  • Mothers discussed the practical help their mentors have provided, making comments such as, “My mentor helped my get my GED and I went back to school” or “I couldn’t afford to eat and she told me about a food pantry.”
  • Other mothers mentioned their mentors as a source of advice, especially with parenting and how they respond to their children, noting “I don’t feel so overwhelmed anymore” or “I can vent to my mentor and she will listen….then I feel like I can do my job as a mother.”

Perhaps the most compelling comments came when the mothers were asked about their relationship with their mentors, saying “She’s a friend, teacher, counselor to me.”  “Women helping each other are a life saver.”

The team concluded that there is no doubt that the program is very successful and mentors and mentees (mothers) alike feel other women could benefit from it.

To read the entire report click here, or you can also view the brief Summary here.

Monday, April 22, 2013

A Week of Recognition, Just for You!

By Elizabeth Bailey
National Volunteer Week is April 21 to 27, 2013. This year’s theme, “Celebrating Service” marks a time to recognize and celebrate the men, women and youth who dedicate themselves to taking action and solving problems in their communities. 

The week calls on every American to do his or her part to sustain the growing spirit of service to the community, whether by committing hours or dollars to the cause.

President Richard Nixon, as an executive order, established national Volunteer Week in 1974. Currently, National Volunteer Week is sponsored by the Points of Light Institute (formally a foundation), which began in response to President George H.W. Bush’s 1989 speech. During this now famous speech, President Bush urged volunteers to become “a thousand points of light.”

Looking for the volunteer experience? The Volunteer Center of Bergen County can help match individuals with opportunities to volunteer.  Individual volunteer opportunities, group projects, at-home projects, family friendly volunteering, student or school volunteer ideas—the Volunteer Center can help individuals choose an activity that is a good match for their particular talents, interests and time availability. We thank each and every volunteer that comes into our center. Without our volunteers, we simply would not be here! Thank you for all of your hard work and dedication.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Derby Day - Auction Preview

Join us for one of Bergen's best-known parties - the Volunteer Center's Derby Day! Saturday, May 4, 3:30-7:00pm, Apple Ridge Country Club, Mahwah.

It's all about the Kentucky Derby - and our fabulous live and silent auction!

Florida Vacation Package, includes: one week stay in Orlando, $500 airfare voucher, SeaWorld tickets, Park Hopper Passes to Disney  * Sharp 52" LED Smart TV  * Toshiba 3D TV * Coach Handbag * Yankees Tickets * Autographed NY Yankee Alex Rodriquez   * Autographed Tim Tebow Football * One-week stay in beautiful St. Maarten * Matilda Tickets * Overnight Staycations *  Murder Mystery Party and Catering for up to 30 people * Getaways to Woodstock, NY area
And we are adding more exciting items every day! Take a peek here!
Click here for more information and to reserve your tickets now! Tickets are $100 per person. All proceeds benefit the Volunteer Center of Bergen County. For more information, please call 201-489-9454, ext. 125 or email jhe@bergenvolunteers.org. Ask about the special benefits our Leadership Circle donors receive at Derby Day.

Monday, April 15, 2013

A Night at the Races

Calling all companies! Are you looking for an exciting night out for your staff to socialize and meet other professionals in the area?  Night at the Races is back and better than ever!  Join the Northern New Jersey Business Volunteer Council on Friday, July 19, at Meadowlands Racetrack for a night of horse racing, great food and drinks, and an auction not to be missed.
Sponsorship opportunities are available starting at $250 with great benefits for your company, including getting your name and yourself in front of the Northern New Jersey Business Volunteer Council.  Click here to see a complete list of Sponsorship Opportunities.
Thank you to our Presenting Sponsor, Hudson City Saving Bank, and also to BD, United Water, Quest Diagnostics, and Five Star Premier Residences who are already signed on to sponsor the event.  We look forward to seeing you there, too!
Night at the Races features a barbecue buffet with beer and soft drinks from 6:00 – 10:00pm, plus a silent auction and 50-50 raffle with proceeds benefiting the BVC. We'll have a private picnic area in a park-like setting next to the track and near the finish line, and we'll have our own private betting windows!  Tickets are $45 and are available here.  For more information, contact Ellen at elutvak@bergenvolunteers.org.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Earth Day Volunteer Opportunities

Mahwah Envoirnmental
Volunteer Organization
April 20 - StagHill Clean Up
We will continue our efforts to cleanup up Stag Hill on this day. There is more than an abundance of tires and other trash that have been illegally dumped in MEVO’s very own town. Let’s make Mahwah and our world a cleaner place by going up to Stag Hill to remove some of this pollution. Now that the weather is warmer and the snow has melted, it will be much easier to locate and take out this trash. The weather this time of year is very unpredictable, so dress accordingly and we recommend you wear boots because it can be quite muddy. Gloves and trash pickers will be supplied. We will meet at Ramapo Reservation at 11am and commute to Stag Hill from there. We will be back down before 2:00pm. For questions, you can email David at davidjaychoi@mevoearth.org or call 201- 916-4530. To RSVP for this event, send an email to mevovolunteers@mevoearth.org with your name, age, phone number and the subject line “Stag Hill Cleanup.” You can also RSVP through our Facebook.
April 27 - Earth Day Event
Catherine Ave, a street in Mahwah has vacant filled with garbage and debris. MEVO now has the opportunity to restore to its environmental roots. A house once stood here, and though it is gone, it’s wreckage remains. We have already done one cleanup here, but in order to be ready to have trees planted on it this Summer, the lot still needs a lot more work! Let’s celebrate this past Earth Day by making Mahwah a better place! We will be meeting at Catherine Ave in Mahwah NJ. at 11:00am and we will finish up before 2:00pm. Gloves and tools will be supplied and as always, we encourage you to wear clothes you don’t mind getting a little dirty. For questions, you can email David at davidjaychoi@mevoearth.org or call 201- 916-4530. To RSVP for this event, send an email to mevovolunteers@mevoearth.org with your name, age, phone number and the subject line “Catherine Ave Cleanup.” You can also RSVP through our Facebook.
Flat Rock Brook Nature Association
443 Van Nostrand Avenue
Englewood, NJ
(201) 567-1265

April 21 – Clean Up – Flat Rock Brook
2:00 – 3:30 pm

Tenafly Nature Center
313 Hudson Avenue
Tenafly, NJ 07670
(201) 568-6093
Earth Day Wildflower Ramble for the Inner Artist
Saturday, April 20, 1:00 -2:30 p.m.
Enjoy a leisurely trail walk led by a seasoned naturalist with short stops along the way to photograph or draw specific plants. Search for early ephemerals such as Trout Lily and Common Violet, the NJ state flower. Participants will learn about pollination adaptations and are welcome to bring a wildflower field guide, camera or sketch pad and drawing implements. Program is intended for adults and children 9 and up.

Earth Day Trail Clean-Up
Sunday, April 21, 10:00 – 12:00 pm
Adult volunteers and teens 14+ are needed to help with outdoor projects: storm clean up, trail maintenance, invasive plant and litter removal. No experience needed, just a love of nature.

To attend, please e-mail: aschuster@tenaflynaturecenter.org.

Liberty Science Center

222 Jersey City Boulevard
Jersey City, NJ 07305
(201) 200-1000

April 22 -  1:00 – 3:00 p.m. - Make a pot and plant a seed (Children make a pot out of newspaper and plant a sunflower seed).
1:00 – 2:00 p.m. Trash Timeline. Guests try and determine how long it takes trash to disintegrate in the landfill.
12:30, 1:30 and 2:30 p.m. Meet live animals from different continents and learn why they are important to the eco-system.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Professional Development Conference for Educators to be Held

New Jersey educators are invited to attend Service Learning New Jersey: Building Our Future, the 2013 Professional Development Conference presented by the NJ State Governor’s Jefferson Awards, the Volunteer Center of Bergen County and generationOn.
The conference will be held on Tuesday, August 13, from 8:15 am to 3:15 pm at the Kean University STEM Building, 1000 Morris Avenue in Union, NJ.
Service-Learning is a research-based teaching and learning strategy that engages youth in service to meet learning objectives and address real-world issues.  The conference will be of interest to all K-12 Educators, including teachers, administrators, counselors, faculty advisors, volunteer service coordinators, curriculum coordinators, campus ministers and club moderators.
Attendees will receive a Certificate of Participation for six credit hours of professional development, and will: 
  • Learn how to use Service-Learning to implement the Common Core and 21st Century Skills;
  • Explore best practices from Service-Learning Experts and Practitioners;
  • Discover online and community resources to support Service-Learning initiatives and activities;
  • Connect with other New Jersey educators to “Build Our Future” through Service-Learning

Early-bird discount for registration before June 30, 2013--$45 per person, including lunch and all materials.  After June 30, registration is $60.
For more information, contact Karen Hatcher, Director of Youth Programming, NJ State Governor’s Jefferson Awards at Karen@sianj.com or by phone: 908-797-4649.
Sponsors for Service-Learning, New Jersey; Building Our Future are State Farm, PNC Bank, PSEG, Verizon, BD, The Star Ledger/NJ.com and the Community Foundation of New Jersey.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Will we see you at the Derby?

It's no secret that the first Saturday in May is the Kentucky Derby, but you don't have to go to Kentucky to have a good 'ole time! The Volunteer Center is celebrating the "Run for the Roses" at our 21st Annual Derby Day party, on Saturday, May 4 from 3:30-7:00 pm at Apple Ridge Country Club in Mahwah.
Our winning combination will include delectable southern fare, mint juleps, a wine tasting and live music from southern rock band the Stuff Brothers. New this year we also have a cigar rolling demonstration from Maxum Cigars.  Trophies will be awarded for the Most Elegant Hat (ladies) and Most Outrageous Tie (gents), so dress your Derby best!
A very special thank you to our Derby Day sponsors: TD Bank, (201) Magazine/bergen.com, Compensation Solutions, Inserra Supermarkets, OritantiBank Charitable Foundation, Synetek, United Water, and Atlantic, Tomorrow's Office.
Tickets are $100 per person and on sale now. Call 201-489-9454 for more information or purchase tickets online here. All proceeds benefit the Volunteer Center of Bergen County.
See you at the Derby!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

We Need You To Become a Mentor!

“When a young person, even a gifted one, grows up without proximate living examples of what she may aspire to become--whether lawyer, scientist, artist, or leader in any realm--her goal remains abstract… But a role model in the flesh provides more than inspiration; his or her very existence is confirmation of possibilities one may have every reason to doubt, saying, 'Yes, someone like me can do this.’”  ― Sonia Sotomayor
The Volunteer Center of Bergen County runs two outstanding mentoring programs -- Mentoring Moms and Mentoring Youth – both of which have positive impact on another person’s life. 
Through the Mentoring Youth program, caring men and women provide guidance, friendship and support to children ages 5 to 18 who are confronted with social, emotional and behavioral challenges.  Mentoring Moms are women who make a difference in the lives of overwhelmed mothers of all ages.  The volunteers spend time with mothers who have difficulty in coping with parenting, managing households, providing for their children or overcoming myriad obstacles. At any given time, dozens of children or moms are waiting for the support of a mentor -- like you.  
Training for the Mentoring Youth program is on consecutive Wednesdays beginning on April 17thMentoring Moms begins its training session on Monday, April 22nd; both trainings are from 7:00 pm to 9:30 pm at the Volunteer Center in Hackensack.
“The theme for National Volunteer Month is ‘Celebrate Service,” says Janet Sharma, Executive Director of the Volunteer Center.  “To be a mentor is to be a vital, important and positive influence on the life of someone who can use a guiding hand or a sympathetic ear.  Mentors truly touch the lives of others for the better.”
Mentors will learn valuable communication skills, as well as problem solving skills. Guest speakers, including current mentors and social services case workers, will share their experiences so that new mentors have the background and knowledge to help support their mentees.  All mentors undergo a comprehensive screening process which includes fingerprinting and other background checks. Currently, there is an especially critical need for bi-lingual Spanish speaking men and women to become mentors.
Deadline to register for either Mentoring Moms or Mentoring Youth training is April 12.  Call the Volunteer Center of Bergen County at (201) 489-9454, or visit their website at www.bergenvolunteers.org and click on Mentoring Programs.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Hurricane Sandy Recovery Information Center Open For Bergen County!

by: Elizabeth Bailey
A Recovery Information Center is now open and ready to assist victims of superstorm Sandy.  The center is a collaborative project between the First Presbyterian Church of Moonachie and the Long Term Recovery Committee of the Bergen County VOAD (Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster).  The VOAD is sponsored by the Volunteer Center of Bergen County.
The Recovery Information Center, located at 221 Moonachie Road in Moonachie, will be open from 11 am to 7 pm Tuesday through Friday and Saturdays from 9 am to 2 pm.  Special thanks to Sherwin Williams for providing volunteers and materials to spruce up the center and to the Rotary club of Englewood and Rotary District 7490 for providing funds for furnishings, phones and wi-fi! The phone number for the center is 201-470-3143.
Any resident of Bergen County affected by the storm can fill out an assessment for and learn about recovery resources available to them. Residents who sustained wind and tree damage but who live outside the flood area are encouraged to call the Information Center to do an assessment.
Counselors are also available to help residents cope with the emotional and psychological aftereffects from this traumatic event. 
The Long Term Recovery Committee is a collaborative effort between 50+ organizations intent on helping residents recover from the storm.  LTRC has received grants of $200,000 each from the Hurricane Sandy New Jersey Relief Fund established by Governor Christie and the Robin Hood Relief Fund.  Members include home repair nonprofits, faith-based groups, social service organizations, and government agencies.
Information about the Long Term Recovery Committee can be found at www.bergenvoad.org., our Facebook page, and our Twitter account!