Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Making-It-Home Makes Two Bergen County Residents Feel At Home

On January 10th Tonya moved from emergency shelter to her new apartment in Little Ferry with an office job and a plan to continue her education.  For her, a desk was more important than a sofa – we brought both!  For this “move” we worked with officers from the Bergen County Sheriff’s Department who donated their time, a truck and muscle to bring 11 pieces of furniture and accessories to her home so that Tonya can comfortably pursue her dream for a better future.

Mike, a marine veteran, was able to secure full-time employment before moving to his new apartment in Teaneck, but had only a bed when he moved in.  And with no overhead lights, he was literally living in the dark.  On January 14th we worked with three wonderful Teaneck police officers and one young associate to bring Mike 9 pieces of furniture, as well as lamps, to make his new apartment comfortable and well-lit!  Additional muscle from a charitable father/son team helped transport the furniture and get it in the apartment.  The team even assembled the kitchen table.  In total, 6 volunteers and 3 pick-up trucks made this move possible. 

If you would like to volunteer your time, vehicle and muscle, please contact Christine at cschwake@bergenvolunteers.org.  We would love to welcome you to our team!  

Friday, January 20, 2017

It’s a Twofer!

Need storage space? Here’s a great way to double your investment. Mention our name when you rent at Westy Self Storage – any size space at any location for any length of time – and Making-It-Home receives a free month on our lease!

Westy Self Storage-Hackensack is where we bring all the furniture that’s donated by people like you. We store it there until our volunteer movers help transport it to our clients – formerly homeless individuals and families who are leaving emergency shelter and moving to new apartments in the County. We couldn’t operate efficiently without storage space, and couldn’t be happier at Westy. The staff are friendly and helpful, and the facility is clean and dry and temperature controlled (warm during these cold winter months and cool in the summer). And we never need to worry about getting furniture into our unit. There’s a loading dock at truck level, doors at street level, and plenty of rolling carts. There’s even a truck and van available if you need one. We know you’d be as happy as we are if you rented there too! 

As you may know, Making-It-Home is a program of the Volunteer Center – a public/private partnership that brings gently used, donated home furnishings to low income and formerly homeless people, veterans, and people with disabilities who are leaving emergency shelter and moving to new apartments throughout Bergen County. So many County residents, businesses, moving companies, police departments, and government and nonprofit agencies are working with us to improve our clients’ quality of life and ability to achieve greater self-sufficiency and a brighter future.

To learn more about Making-It-Home, visit www.bergenvolunteers.org/making-it-home.html. 

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Mentoring Youth celebrate National Mentor Month

On Sunday, January 8, 2017, one of the coldest days of the year, the Mentoring Youth Program celebrated our wonderful volunteer mentors with a delicious brunch at the Iron Horse Restaurant in Westwood, NJ. The Iron Horse has been our gracious host for over 10 years.

The warmth of the fireplace added to the warmth generated by our exceptional mentors.  Mentors of all ages, volunteering with the program for less than a year to 25 years, were glad to meet, mingle, and share stories of their experiences.   The event is annually held in January because it is National Mentoring Month.

Lynne Algrant, CEO of the Bergen Volunteer Center, welcomed the mentors and applauded them for the work they do.  Faith Samples-Smart, Mentoring Youth program director recognized Ruth Schneider of Ramsey, for mentoring eight youth over a 25 year period.  She had decided that it’s time to retire but will continue to see her mentee.  She is an amazing woman who has devoted many, many years to helping children find a voice and offering them friendship in a way that has and will continue to impact their lives.

Mentoring Youth, a program of the Bergen Volunteer Center, trains and matches volunteer adults with children between the ages of 5-21 who are referred to us through a social service organization.  Giving their time, attention and care to a child is celebrated by Mentoring Youth yearly at this event.  Mentoring Youth is about to celebrate 40 years of service to our Bergen County children and the adults who volunteer to be a friend, role-model and confidante. 

Monday, January 9, 2017

Bergen LEADS Application, Now Available

Bergen LEADS - an innovative, 10-month learning and leadership program for adults who live or work in Bergen County - is now accepting applications for the Class of 2018. Bergen LEADS, now in its ninth year, is offered by the Bergen Volunteer Center.

Under the guidance of former Bergen County Executive William “Pat” Schuber, the LEADS Seminar Director, participants are immersed in a stimulating curriculum that introduces them to issues of local importance and encourages them to explore their leadership style, enhance their leadership capacity and become meaningfully engaged in helping to solve some of the challenges facing Bergen County.

The online application form for the Class of 2018, which begins in September 2017, can be accessed at 
www.bergenleads.org and is due by April 9, 2017. Each candidate must complete a simple individual profile form and provide essay answers to specific questions. The new class of 30 participants will be announced in June.

“When you look at recent history, the major turmoils are caused in part, by a lack of effective leadership at many levels,” says Lynne Algrant, the Center’s CEO. “Consequently, a persistent question facing every sector is ‘where will the next generation of ethical, effective leaders come from?’” Enter Bergen LEADS, which prepares leaders to take the helm in the years ahead.

“Diversity of participants is essential,” continues Ms. Algrant. Applicants from business, nonprofit, civic and faith-based organizations and government agencies, as well as from the community at large, are encouraged to apply. Bergen LEADS seeks representation from the broad array of ethnic, racial, religious and socio-economic groups within Bergen County. Tuition for Bergen LEADS is $2,000 per person; scholarship assistance is available for those with financial need.

Bergen LEADS will help participants see the community – and themselves – through new eyes,” says Ms. Algrant. “The curriculum is interactive, fast-paced and experiential. Field trips and site visits built into each seminar day will bring Bergen County to life.”

Bergen LEADS has an active graduate organization – Alumni of Bergen LEADS (ABL) - to keep LEADS alumni engaged and active throughout their careers in Bergen County.

Additional information about the program is available at 
www.bergenleads.org or by contacting Beanne DeGuzman at 201-489-9454 Ext. 203, or bdeguzman@bergenvolunteers.org