Friday, July 31, 2009

Wanted: Tools for School!

All kids need the right tools to get off to a good start in school. It’s difficult to learn anything without them, and it’s even harder to learn if you’re worried about being different from everyone else. Children in low-income families want to do what everyone else does at school: learn. Yet many come from families whose resources don’t stretch far enough to provide school supplies.

Every August, the Northern New Jersey Business Council (BVC) coordinates a back-to-school supply drive, and then works with partner nonprofit agencies to deliver what’s collected to children throughout the state. The BVC has distributed over $285,000 in school supplies and it’s more than just pencils – everything from backpacks to binders and from composition books to calculators. Please join the BVC effort this year to collect for needy children in Bergen County.

Watch a video about the program on NY1 or click here.

For more information please contact Tess Tomasi at 201-489-9454, ext. 114, or by email at

Monday, July 27, 2009

Companies put the pedal to the metal

Several area corporations have signed on as sponsors of the 14th annual Bergen Bike Tour, which will be held on Sunday, September 27, 2009 at Darlington Park in Mahwah.

Sponsors to date include TD Bank; Amper, Politziner & Mattia; Apax Partners; Esai; Jamis Bicycles; Joel Tanis & Sons; Lakeland Bank; Oritani Bank Charitable Foundation; PNC Bank; Sanzari Companies and Wounded Poodle Productions. Also signed on are Ford Motor Company, Garden State Wiper; Hackensack University Medical Center; Harwood Lloyd; Inserra Supermarkets; Murphy, Miller & Baglieri, LLP; NVE Bank; Prestige Family of Fine Cars; Andrew F. Rubenstein, M.D.; United Water; Withum Smith+Brown. Additional sponsors include Capital One; Doherty Enterprises; Malesardi, Quackenbush, Swift & Company, LLC; Saddle River Valley Bank and Wachovia Bank, N.A.

Proceeds from the Bike Tour benefit Tomorrows Children’s Fund at Hackensack University Medical Center and the Volunteer Center of Bergen County.

“Difficult economic times have really hit these two charities hard,” says Phil Murphy, chairman of the event. “They provide programs and services that help children with cancer, the frail elderly, people with disabilities and families in crisis. These services are in jeopardy, so we encourage community minded sponsors and cyclists to support this fun event.” More than 400 cyclists will ride routes of 10-, 25- or 50-miles through some of northern Bergen County's most scenic areas. There will also be a "Kids Ride" for little ones on big wheels, trikes and training wheels in the parking lot.

To become a sponsor of this stellar event, call Jane He at 201-489-9454, ext. 125.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Time to help the Hungry!

Let's all pitch in and help feed hungry families and children this summer! There's till time to join in the Northern New Jersey Business Council (BVC) summer food drive, which is called "Brown Bag Buddies." The BVC will be collecting food through July, and all food will be distributed through food pantries in Bergen County.

Kid-friendly foods most needed in the summer are: Canned Meat (tuna, chicken, etc.), Canned Vegetables, Macaroni & Cheese, Peanut Butter & Jelly, Cereal (low sugar kids cereal welcome), Dry Milk (e.g. boxed Parmalat), Canned Fruit, and 100% Juice.

If you'd like an organizational packet, which gives step-by-step instructions for organizing and promoting your Brown Bag Buddies campaign, call the Volunteer Center at 201 -489-9454 x 114 or email

Monday, July 20, 2009

Registration is Open for the Bergen Bike Tour!

Registration is now officially open for the 14th Annual Bergen Bike Tour! The Bergen Bike Tour is a fun, family-oriented event that raises funds for two outstanding local organizations: Tomorrow's Children's Fund and the Volunteer Center of Bergen County.

The Bergen Bike Tour begins and ends at Darlington Park in Mahwah, NJ. Routes of 10, 25, and 50 miles are designed to accommodate riders of every ability, from the beginner to the skilled cycling enthusiast. The Tour begins with breakfast for all the riders. All routes wind through some of Bergen County's most scenic areas and there is a Kids' Fun Ride for children age 8 and under. After the ride, cyclists, their friends and families are invited to enjoy a home-cooked picnic plus a wide array of activities - music, games, clowns, prizes - and a special visit from New Jersey Nets mascot, Sly the Fox! Registered massage therapists will also be on hand to relieve cyclists' tired muscles.

To find out more or to register, visit or call 1-877-BER-BIKE. See you on September 27th!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Sail On!

On a recent brilliant summer Sunday, 14 children being mentored through the Volunteer Center's Volunteers in Protective Services (VIPS) program had the unique opportunity to go sailing on the Hudson River, courtesy of a very gracious mentor and the Minisceongo Yacht Club in Stony Point, NY. The mentor coordinated a small fleet of sailboats and yachts, whose owners hosted the children and their mentors for the entire afteroon. Upon returning to dry land, all enjoyed a fantastic and enormous barbeque.

Boat owners were delighted to share their love of sailing with the kids and everyone is looking forward to doing it again next year! Each child walked away with a sailor cap and a day they won’t soon forget. The VIPS program recruits, screens, trains and supervises caring adult volunteers who mentor children who have been abused and/or neglected. For more information, call 201-489-9454, ext. 115 or visit our website.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Are you a volunteer? Do you have skills?

We hear a lot these days about "skills based volunteers" and we want to pick your brain. What is a "skills-based" volunteer? Do all volunteers have skills? If they aren't "skills-based," what do they do? How did this term come about and why is it the new craze in volunteering? The term and the concept have created buzz around Volunteer Centers for a while, and we'd like your input. What is your definition of "skills-"based" volunteer vs. "volunteer"? Susan Ellis, a consultant well known in volunteer management circles, has also posted this topic on the Energize, Inc. website.

Have a look and give us your opinion of how this is affecting volunteering in Northern New Jersey.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

We Want YOU!

The highest office in our country is calling YOU to action. From June 22 to September 11, United We Serve, an initiative launched by the Obama Administration, will engage Americans from coast to coast in addressing community needs with a focus on education, health, energy and the environment, and community renewal. The Volunteer Center is very excited about this initiative and will be here all summer to help you find out about volunteering in our community.

While United We Serve is initially 81 days of service, it will grow into a sustained effort to promote service as a way of life for all Americans. In addition to the Volunteer Center website, is a terrific online resource that can help you not only find volunteer opportunities, but also create your own service projects.

*Information taken from