Thursday, February 5, 2015

Blame it on Bergen LEADS - Marlene Ceragno

I heard about LEADS when I took a non-profit leadership course at Bergen Community College where I luckily met Lynne and Amanda -  now my mentors and hopefully lifelong friends. Could I actually get picked to be in LEADS? The answer was yes! My passion about my Adult Care Brief Bank and caring about seniors and their needs are part of the reasons why I got into LEADS.

Bergen LEADS is truly a once in a lifetime experience. First I was able to learn so much about our county that I never knew, nor would have had the opportunity to know. Let's face it, who gets to go to the top of the George Washington bridge, or in my case, almost to the top? I got to meet like minded and community minded people who almost instantly created an environment of trust and inclusiveness. It truly was a  privilege to experience this program together with a diverse, caring, intelligent group of classmates. Such an honor to be in attendance with my co-leaders as we learned, and shared together.
Working on a sensitive project close to my heart, it opened the floodgates for sharing life experiences with each other and ultimately with the community; hoping that by sharing our own stories, it may help reduce the stigma associated with mental illness.

I felt and still feel great support from my mentors and alums who are always there to guide me, who come to hear me testify at a senior needs hearing or show up for a kick off to an Adult Care Brief Drive. I am proud to say that I am now in partnership with Bergen LEADS alumni such as Michele Ogden, CL12 and Jeanne Martin, CL13 who distribute adult absorbent products to their low income seniors in need.

Being part of LEADS is an experience I will never forget because of many once-in-a-lifetime moments. I walked away with a new family and know that we will always be there to support each other's endeavors.  This is what I am happy to Blame on Bergen LEADS!

You can blame it on Bergen LEADS as well!  Bergen LEADS is now accepting applications for the Class of 2016.  Applications are due April 11, and can be found online, along with all the important information. 

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