Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The BVC Celebrates its 10th Anniversary

Being successful in business is about more than doing well. It’s also about doing good.

With that in mind, the Volunteer Center and several corporate and nonprofit partners launched the Northern New Jersey Business Volunteer Council (BVC) ten years ago. Now, it's time to celebrate! We hope you'll join members and supporters of the BVC on Thursday, February 11, from 6-8 pm, for an anniversary party at the Hilton Woodcliff Lake. Click here for tickets.

Since its inception in January of 2000, employee volunteers at 31 BVC member companies have worked on behalf of low-income children and families, generating and distributing more than $1 million in resources. More than 4,000 foster children have been provided with backpacks filled with personal care items, socks, underwear and gifts. Approximately 13,000 children in Head Start programs have received new books to encourage love of reading and to foster literacy. The yearly August back-to-school supply drive has generated almost $325,000 worth of school gear for non-profit organizations and schools, while the annual summer food drive has resulted in over $223,000 worth of food and grocery store gift certificates being distributed to low-income families who rely on school meal programs that are not available when school is out.

The mission of the nationally-recognized BVC is to provide leadership in meeting community needs, especially those of children and families, by mobilizing employee volunteers. The BVC is sponsored by the Volunteer Center of Bergen County.

Representatives from area companies who are interested in learning more about the BVC are encouraged to join in the 10th Anniversary Celebration. The cost is $25.00 per person and includes hors d’oeuvres, pasta, dessert and cocktails. Click here to purchase your tickets (RSVP by February 5) or call Amanda Missey (201) 489-9454 Ext. 119 for more information.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Candidates Sought for Leadership Program

This September Bergen LEADS will begin its third year and you can be a part of it. Applications are now avialable for the Bergen LEADS Class of 2011. Bergen LEADS is an innovative, 10-month learning and leadership program for adults who live or work in Bergen County. An application form can be downloaded at

Diversity of participants is essential. Applicants are encouraged from business, nonprofit, civic and faith-based organizations and government agencies as well as from the community at large. Bergen LEADS seeks representation from the broad array of ethnic, racial, religious, political and socio-economic groups within Bergen County.

The program, sponsored by the Volunteer Center, is under the guidance of former Bergen County Executive William “Pat” Schuber. Participants are immersed in a stimulating curriculum that not only introduces them to topical issues of local importance, but also enables them to explore their leadership styles, enhance their leadership capacity and become meaningfully engaged in helping to solve some of the challenges facing Bergen County. Bergen LEADS participants meet monthly; most seminar days begin and end at Bergen Community College in Paramus.

Additional information about the program and the selection process, as well as tuition and financial aid eligibility, is available at The Class of 2011 will be announced in June, and the monthly seminars will begin in September. For more information about Bergen LEADS, call 201-489-9454. ext. 119, or email

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Mentors Make a World of Difference

Today, January 21, is Thank Your Mentor Day. We took a few minutes to ask our Mentoring Moms program particpants how their mentors have helped them. Here is what they said.

“When asked, “What do you like about having a mentor?” the responses included:”

“I have someone to talk to who has had some of the same things to deal with as me and to bounce ideas off of.”

“She is like my older sister. She is always there in difficult times.”

“Jackie is a god send. She listens & gives her opinion. Jackie is like family, she is always there for me when I’m in need.”

“It’s like making a new friend who wants nothing in return.”

“She’s someone I can call to talk to and if I need anything she’s there to help me.”

“Everything. She is my best friend.”

“I can talk to her about anything and express myself. It has been worthwhile because she helped me accomplish my goals.”

“When asked, “Do you feel your mentor makes a difference in your life?” the responses included:”

“Yes, she lifts my spirits up in a positive manner.”

“She is the only person I know who is always there for me, and would do anything for me.”

“My mentor helps look at another perspective of my problems and helps me to decide what to do in life.”

“Yes, she helps me to focus better and to feel better about myself.”

“She is caring giving, makes me smile. My kids love her.”

“Yes! She has helped me in so many ways and she gives me the best advice.”

“She always encourages me to keep going to school.”

“She has helped me through a lot of stuff.”

“She has helped me with my resume and I am trying to better myself with a new job.”

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Thank Your Mentor Day

As a focus of National Mentoring Month, Thank Your Mentor Day is Thursday, January 21. On this day many people will be reaching out to thank or honor those individuals who encouraged and guide them, and who had a lasting impact on their lives.

The theme for Thank Your Mentor Day is “Who Mentored You?” Thank Them, and pass it on ”Become a Mentor”. The goal is to encourage people to think about individuals in their lives during their formative years family members, teachers, coaches, neighbors, employers, friends” who encouraged them, showed them the ropes, and helped them become who they are today. Then, thank them and encourage others to become mentors.

Most people have someone who helped them somewhere along the line, says Janet Sharma, Executive Director of the Volunteer Center of Bergen County. This is a chance to say ˜thank you” and at the same time take advantage of this national initiative to inspire others to become mentors.

Thank Your Mentor Day promotes Four Ways to Honor Your Mentor :

1) Contact your mentor directly to express your appreciation.
2) Pass it on by becoming a mentor to someone in your community.
3) Make a financial contribution to a local mentoring program, like the Volunteer Center Mentoring Moms and Volunteers in Protective Services Programs.
4) Write a tribute to your mentor for posting on the national mentoring website

The Volunteer Center has been sponsoring mentoring programs for over 30 years, including the Volunteers in Protective Services (VIPS) and Mentoring Moms Programs, and is currently in need of men and women to become volunteer mentors to meet the increasing needs in several areas of the community. There is an especially great need for male mentors and bi-lingual Spanish speaking volunteers of both sexes.

For more information about becoming a mentor, and to find out when the next training sessions will be held, call the Volunteer Center of Bergen County at (201) 489-9454, or visit our website and click on Mentoring Programs.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Second Annual FUNdraiser

Get ready to laugh! Following the tremendous success of our first "Comedy Night" last June, the Volunteer Center is putting together another one.

Our second annual Comedy Night is set for Friday, February 5, at Banana’s Comedy Club, 283 Rt. 17 South, Hasbrouck Heights. Doors open at 8:30pm and the show starts at 9:00 sharp. Comedian JJ Ramirez will be headlining, and proceeds will benefit the Volunteer Center.

Tickets are $25.00 and there is a one food or drink minimum. Purchase your tickets here and let the good times roll!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Give A Day... Get A Disney Day!

Disney is offering a special promotion that you may have noticed on TV: Give A Day, Get A Disney Day. People - especially families - who volunteer for one day can get a free ticket to a Disney park or resort for a day!

So... give yourself a treat! Go to the Disney website and follow the directions carefully. You'll need to go through these steps in this order:

1. search for a listed volunteer project or activity
2. contact the agency to volunteer
3. receive a response from the agency
4. REGISTER on the Disney website
5. do the volunteer activity!
6. have the agency verify your participation on the Disney website
7. Disney will send your free tickets!

This is a great opportunity for families to volunteer together - and enjoy a free day at a Disney park or resort.

If we can be of assistance, please call, 201-489-9454, ext. 118. The Volunteer Center is here to help you.

Monday, January 11, 2010

January 18th: A Day "On", Not A Day "Off"

That was the intent when, in 1994, the Martin Luther King Holiday was designated as a national day of volunteer service. Instead of a day off from work or school, Congress asked Americans of all backgrounds and ages to celebrate Dr. King's legacy by turning community concerns into citizen action. The King Day of Service is meant to bring together people who might not ordinarily meet, breaking down barriers that may have divided them in the past, and leading to better understanding and ongoing relationships.

Agencies from around Northern New Jersey, including our partner agency in Newark, Jersey Cares, have put together a range of volunteer projects to commemorate the MLK National Day of Service. Click here for information about signing up and continue to check the Volunteer Center website for new projects!

For additional ideas, check and

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Mentor a Mother - Help a Family!

Mentoring Moms, a program of the Volunteer Center of Bergen County, is recruiting women to serve as mentors to overwhelmed mothers who need guidance in parenting and life skills. Studies show that when a mother is supported by a mentor, the entire family is helped, because mentors become important role models for the children, as well.

Volunteers are provided training through a free six-session, 15-hour program and receive ongoing support from program staff. The next training begins Monday, February 1, at 7:00pm at the Volunteer Center, 64 Passaic Street, Hackensack, NJ. Call Susan Hogge at (201) 489-9454, ext. 124 to learn how to become a Mentoring Moms volunteer.

We especially need bi-lingual Spanish speaking women to become mentors!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Our Man of the Year!

Michael Keene, one of the long-time volunteers with our Chore Service, was recently named "Citizen of the Year" by Harrington Park, NJ! In a beautiful article published in the Northern Valley Suburbanite, Michael talks about his many ventures in volunteering with the EMS squad, maintaining the town's website and - especially - his work with our Chore Service. Chore volunteers provide minor home repairs that keep seniors and people with disabilities safe in their homes. For information about volunteering with Chore or many other programs, call 201-489-9454.

Congratulations Mike!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Another All Wrapped Up Success!

Thank you to the hundreds of individuals, families, religious and civic groups, scout troops, and companies who supported the 2009 All Wrapped Up Holiday Giving Program. Your caring and generosity provided holiday cheer to more than 700 families and 700 individuals living alone – nearly 3,500 people in all!

Thanks also to the nonprofit agencies whose program managers and caseworkers identified their neediest clients so we could match them with donors from the community.

All Wrapped Up continues to be an extraordinarily bright example of neighbors helping neighbors. We are delighted to facilitate this process and wish you all a Happy Holiday and a Happy New Year!

-The Staff of the Volunteer Center of Bergen County