Friday, February 28, 2014

Family Volunteer Day set for April 12

Parents and Children Needed to Support Their Community

Bergen County families are needed to dig in and help create a community garden in Fair Lawn.  This is a community service project with long-lasting impact, as all produce from the garden will help feed hungry families in Bergen County.

The Volunteer Center of Bergen County’s first ever Family Volunteer Day will be held on Saturday, April 12 from 9 am to 3 pm, at the Fair Lawn Farm site of MEVO (Mahwah Environmental Volunteers Organization).  The Rain Date is Sunday, April 13. This project is one of the Volunteer Center’s activities to recognize National Volunteer Week, April 6-12th.

An army of dedicated families will be prepping soil, building raised beds, preparing mulch and more to get this one-acre farm ready for planting.

“Volunteering strengthens family relationships and teaches kids such values as kindness, empathy and respect for others.  More importantly, it teaches them that happiness is not dependent on what we have,” says Debbie Emery, Community Volunteer Services Director for the Volunteer Center.  “You and your family can give your time and talent to those in need and show your kids that you as a family value community service.”

The registration fee is $5.00 per person for participants age 3 and up, and includes lunch, snacks, project leadership by MEVO’s staff and volunteers, kid-friendly crafts and opportunities to learn about farming science.

Children must be accompanied by at least one adult; reservations can be made by calling 201-489-9454 or by visiting, where registration and payment can be made on-line.  Deadline for reserving space is March 28th.

A special thank you to our sponsor Boiling Springs Savings Bank.  Sponsorship opportunities are available for individuals or companies to support this initiative.  Call 201-489-9454 or email for more information.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

A Panel Discussion on the Impact of Local Farms Planned

MEVO (Mahwah Environmental Volunteers Organizaton) is hosting a panel discussion on the impact of local farms and the creation of a sustainable food system. This event will be to discuss and celebrate the creation of the Bergen County Educational Farm at Saddle River County Park in Fair Lawn, New Jersey. The mission of this community farm will be to provide educational organic farming programs, opportunities for creative sustainability innovation, as well as inspire a value for growing nutritious organic produce.
Monday, March 10, 2014
7:00 - 9:00 PM
Ramapo College of New Jersey
Trustees Pavilion
505 Ramapo Valley Road
Mahwah, NJ
This discussion will be led by panelists including:
Eric Fuchs-Stengel: MEVO Executive Director, 2013 New Jersey Environmentalist of the Year, NYU Gallatin Class of 2014
Carolyn Dimitri: Associate Professor of Food Studies, NYU Steinhardt
Jack Daly: Adjunct professor of Sustainability and Economics, Ramapo College
Andrew Faust: Permaculture Designer and Founder of The Center for Bioregional Living
Join us to learn about the roles of local farms and foods, challenges and misconceptions of sustainable food systems, and how higher education supports the creation of a sustainable future.  You'll hear about the mission and creation of the Bergen County Educational Farm and how this farm will provide a number of resources for Northern NJ residents including educational field trips for schools, research opportunities for colleges, horticultural therapy for people with disabilities, community workshops, and more. Please Click Here to register for the event.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Meadowlands Regional Chamber of Commerce Offering Scholarships for Bergen LEADS

The Meadowlands Regional Chamber of Commerce (MRC), a leading business service organization in the South Bergen area, is offering scholarships to Chamber members who are selected to participate in Bergen LEADS, an innovative, 10-month learning and leadership program for adults who live or work in Bergen County.
Men and women from the private sector, nonprofit agencies and government organizations, as well as community volunteers, are encouraged to submit an application form, available at  Tuition for the program is $2000; the Meadowlands Chamber will offer $500 scholarships for up to four of its members who are accepted into the Class of 2015.  MRCC members are invited to contact the Chamber at 201-939-0707 for more information about the scholarship opportunity.
“In order to grow a strong economy in the greater Meadowlands of Bergen County, we will need dedicated and strong leaders,” says Jim Kirkos, CEO of the Meadowlands Chamber.  “The Bergen LEADS program is the perfect incubator to identify those leaders and the program is a natural extension of our advocacy.”
Bergen LEADS is a program of the Volunteer Center of Bergen County, which has successfully engaged Bergen County residents in civic life for more than 40 years.  Bergen LEADS - led by former Bergen County Executive William “Pat” Schuber - carries on that tradition by providing an extraordinarily rich, diverse and stimulating program focusing on topical issues, leadership and community trusteeship. 
“We’re seeking individuals from all ethnic, racial and socio-economic backgrounds who espouse different political, religious and social views,” says Mr. Schuber.  “In short, we want our class to represent and celebrate the rich diversity of Bergen County.”
Participants will be selected on the basis of demonstrated interest in the community, achievement in their professions and/or volunteer activities, and potential for responsible and effective leadership.  Applications for the Class of 2015 are available at and are due on April 11, 2014.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Spend your Summer with the Volunteer Center

What are your plans this summer?  We have just the thing for you! The Volunteer Center will host Ready Set Serve, a one-week summer experience for teens.

Ready Set Serve (RSS) is a unique training program designed to help prepare the next generation for leadership roles in their communities.  Through a state-of-the-art curriculum that includes both classroom instruction and experiential training, RSS teaches middle- and high-school-age youth a broad array of leadership skills applicable to community service.  The ultimate purpose of RSS is to help create stronger communities - and a stronger nation - by igniting in young people the ability and the desire to make meaningful, lifelong contributions to their communities. 

This interactive, state-of-the-art curriculum, developed by the Center for Creative Leadership, is designed to provide the caliber of leadership training typically available only to corporate executives and government leaders.  It features a challenging series of lessons and exercises including community needs analysis, goal setting, team building, project planning, decision making, and other dynamic leadership skills.  The course culminates in community service projects - created and implemented by the student participants - and a final graduation ceremony. 

2014 Camp Schedule

June 23 – 27, 2014
9:00am -3:00pm
First Presbyterian Church, Hackensack
Students entering 9th and 10th grade in September 2014

August 25 – 29, 2014
9:00am -3:00pm
First Presbyterian Church, Hackensack
Students entering 6th, 7th and 8th grades in September 2014

Email Debbie Emery for more!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Save the Date - LINK Bergen

Save the Date for the very first LINK Bergen
The Volunteer Center's very own golf outting.
July 21, 2014
Hackensack Country Club

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Volunteer Management Workshop Planned

The Volunteer Center of Bergen County is offering a  comprehensive, six-hour  course entitled “Essentials of Volunteer Management: From Development to Achievement” on Friday, March 14, 2014  from 9 am to 3 pm at the Center’s offices at 64 Passaic Street in Hackensack.  The $100 registration fee includes lunch and curriculum binder.   Participants from Volunteer Center Member Agencies pay only $75; contact the Volunteer Center for more information on becoming a Member Agency.
Participants will “learn the ropes” of volunteer management in this course, which will cover important points needed to create and run a successful volunteer program, to include:
  • Planning the Volunteer Program
  • Recruitment and Placement
  • Orientation and Training
  • Supervision and Recognition
  • Evaluation of the Program

Best practices and new trends in volunteer management will be discussed, including how to use social media and traditional media to market to volunteers and other supporters, how to engage leadership-level volunteers, and how to target recruitment efforts to specific demographics.

The most recent data shows the average monetary value of time donated by volunteers was $22.14 per hour in 2012, according to a study by Independent Sector, a Washington coalition of major charities and foundations.  Coupled with the figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics,  that over 64 million people volunteer an average of 52 hours over a 12 month period , the economic benefits of an efficiently run volunteer program are evident.

“The Volunteer Sector has been facing numerous challenges due to the economy and shrinking work force.  By implementing the practical solutions offered in this workshop, volunteer coordinators can improve their professional skills and learn to manage people who are eager to give their time and talent to help our community,” says Janet Sharma, executive director of the Volunteer Center. “We know that volunteers must be engaged to be effective,” continues Sharma.  “Ensuring that those who manage volunteers have the necessary skills is critical to the success of non-profit organizations.”

For more information about customized training or to register for “Essentials of Volunteer Management”, send an e-mail to: or call Debbie Emery at (201) 489-9454 Ext. 118.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Visiting Homemaker Home Health Aide Service: Know Them Before You Need Them

When the time comes that home care assistance is needed for yourself, family member, or a loved one, you need to know what to do and whom to call.  Too often, decisions are made in time of crisis and when you are feeling overwhelmed.

Visiting Homemaker Home Health Aide Service of Bergen County is a nonprofit agency that has been serving the community for 60 years.   It has earned the community's trust through a longstanding reputation for high quality care.

The agency offers certified home health aides who provide a wide range of home care services tailored to meet each person's unique needs. Certified home health aides help with bathing, personal care, grocery shopping, cooking, housekeeping and laundry services.  Their compassion and warmth bring  encouragement and security to their patients.  Service can be arranged for just a few of hours of care, up to  a live-in aide when needed.
Respite care is also available when the family caregiver needs time away from the patient.

A registered nurse guides families in planning care and she supervises all the aides. VHS is bonded and insured.  All employees are cleared by a background check.  They receive extensive training and supervision and are certified by the Board of Nursing.  The agency is accredited by the National Association for Homecare and Hospice and licensed by NJ Division of Consumer Affairs.

Visit the website or call for assistance at 201-488-0041.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

A special gift for Mentoring Youth

December brought a special gift to a mentor and mentee in our Mentoring Youth (MY) program. After multiple foster care placements over the past 5 years, one of our young young mentees, "Dave," and his older sister (both middle-school students) were adopted by a wonderfully caring family. Dave's mentor, John, was thrilled when he learned of the impending adoption, as it would bring long-term stability to these young lives. As mentors for both children and our program director stood witnessing the adoption proceedings, they were all brought to tears when "Dave" announced that he was changing his middle name to that of his mentor.