Friday, July 30, 2010

Corporations with a social conscience create a cool and clever way to promote volunteerism

Scoop It Forward, a partnership between Target and Ben & Jerry's, is a unique program to engage consumers in volunteering at education-related nonprofits. The program has generated a lot of buzz with its new brand new exclusive ice cream flavors sold only at Target. Berry Voluntary and Brownie Chew Gooder were created to inspire not only your taste buds, but your social awareness.

How It Works

Scoop It Forward is a summer-long promotion that invites Target guests and Ben & Jerry's fans to discover education-related volunteer opportunities at To help inspire volunteer referrals, the system automatically sends a coupon for a free pint of ice cream to anyone who refers him or herself to a volunteer opportunity from that page. Volunteers can also pass a link along to five friends so that they can take part in the "sweet deal" too.

For other more about this program or other ways to volunteer check out the Volunteer Center’s website or call us at 201-489-9454.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Save the Date - Fall Frolic!

Join the Volunteer Center at our Fall Frolic sponsored by United Water, Thursday, October 21, 6-9pm. Enjoy fabulous foliage, fine wines, fantastic food, fun music. Funds raised will support the Volunteer Center of Bergen County.

Click here to purchase your tickets now!
The purchase of your ticket is 100% tax deductible.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Live Long & Happy!

Did you know that volunteers live longer and are happier? Research conducted at University of Michigan and Cornell University on health benefits specific to older volunteers indicate that older people who volunteer live longer than those who do not.

Volunteering is a hallmark of healthy, productive societies. Whether through at an agency, house of worship, or less formally by neighbors helping neighbors, volunteers address a huge range of issues in local communities, making them better places in which to live and work.

Studies also show that engaging in regular volunteer work increases life expectancy because social interaction improves quality of life. In fact, volunteering improves physical and mental health for people of all ages. In a study of women over a 30-year period, those who were involved in volunteer activities retained higher levels of functional abilities as compared with non-volunteers (additional research reported by the Corporation for National and Community Service (April 2007).

The RSVP Program at the Volunteer Center specializes in matching seniors with rewarding, challenging and interesting volunteer opportunities. RSVP provides direction for a multitude of options. Visit RSVP on the web or call 201-489-9333.

As the old saying goes, today is the first day of the rest of your life, so start living longer NOW!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Ride for a Million

Sign up now for Bergen Bike Tour! This family-fun event on Sunday, September 26, benefits the Volunteer Center of Bergen County and Tomorrows Children’s Fund.

Our goal this year is to Ride for a Million – to reach the $1 million mark in total funds raised over the past 15 years for the benefiting charities. The Bergen Bike Tour features routes for cyclists of every level. Each ride begins and ends at Darlington Park in Mahwah. Family fun includes a special Kids’ Ride, barbeque, clowns, face painting, crafts, music, games, prizes and more!

You can register any of four ways - 1) Online at; 2) Download and print a registration form; 3) Call 1-877-BER-BIKE; or 4) Register at the event on 9/26/10.

This year every pre-registered rider will receive 5 silicone bracelets to give as a 'thank you' to friends and family who support your ride.

Major sponsors to date include TD Bank, Apax Partners, Eisai, Lakeland Bank and Oritani Bank Charitable Foundation. Sponsorship opportunities begin at $500. Sponsors of $1,000 get their logo on the t-shirt and may also register an unlimited number of employees at no extra charge. (All riders are expected to raise at least $100 - $200 for families - in donations.)

For further information, call 877-BER-BIKE, or visit

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Monday, July 19, 2010

Tools for School

The new school year will be here before you know it, and schoolchildren will be given a list of school supplies that they need to purchase for the year. But thousands of children across the State of New Jersey can’t afford to buy school supplies because they are from low-income families, are homeless, or are in foster care.

It only costs about $23 to outfit a child with basic school supplies, so to help these kids and families, the Northern New Jersey Business Volunteer Council (BVC) is coordinating "Tools for School," a drive that will be conducted through the end of August. The goal is to collect $35,000 in school supplies and distribute them to nonprofit organizations that work with needy families and children. "Tools for School" will help around 1,500 kids. If you are with a company or group who is looking to help please contact Tess Tomasi at 201-489-9454, ext. 114.

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Friday, July 16, 2010

Congratulations BVC!

The HandsOn Network and Points of Light Institute has named the Northern New Jersey Business Volunteer Council (BVC) the Corporate Volunteer Council of the Year.

The Corporate Volunteer Council of the Year award presented on June 29th at the National Conference on Volunteering and Service, which was held in New York City. The BVC, sponsored by the Volunteer Center of Bergen County, was recognized for promoting volunteerism in the workplace, for organizing activities that mobilize employee volunteers to address important community needs, and for providing a forum for corporate involvement professionals to network, exchange ideas and become more skilled in the practice of managing the corporate social responsibility function.

In the past ten years, the BVC member companies have generated and distributed more than $1 million in resources for low-income children and families: 48,500 new books to 9,700 pre-school children through the Books in a Bag program; 3,440 filled backpacks to foster children though the Just My Bag program; $222,000 in food and cash through the Brown Bag Buddies campaign; and $285,000 in school supplies to agencies and schools through the Tools for Schools drive.

"Doing good is good for business," says Ellen Rafferty, BVC co-chair and Project Coordinator/Social Investing at BD. More and more companies are discovering that being a good neighbor and getting involved with the community is good for the bottom line. "Membership in the BVC can strengthen volunteering both within the company and in community by providing professional development and an opportunity to share best practices around corporate community involvement," Ms. Rafferty continues.

More information about the CVC Award can be found in a recent press release from the Points of Light Institute.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Youth Volunteerism Grants Available

Are you part of the next generation of leaders who are making a difference in your community? Is your strong desire to do good igniting a fire in your heart? To paraphrase Gandhi, YOU can be the change you want to see in the world.

Summer is a great time to ramp up your plans, and here are some terrific grant opportunities that can help you grow an existing program or start a new one. These funders understand that today’s young people can develop, inspire and lead through service to their community.

Disney Friends for Change Grants

Disney's Friends for Change grants encourage kids everywhere to take steps together with their friends to help the planet. YSA will award 75 $500 grants to youth-led service initiatives around the world that demonstrate youth leadership and the commitment to making a positive impact on the environment. Applicants will be asked to implement their projects between September and November and to connect their projects to International Coastal Cleanup Day, National Public Lands Day (both September 25), or other environmentally-focused days of service.

STEMester of Service Grants

Funded by Learn and Serve America, STEMester of Service incorporates YSA's semester-long service-learning framework to engage educators and students in addressing critical environmental and disaster preparedness needs and connecting them to STEM curricula. YSA is seeking middle schools with large populations of disadvantaged youth; STEM schools must be located in one of the 19 states with highest dropout rates: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Delaware, District of Columbia, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Louisiana, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Rhode Island, Washington, and Wyoming. The $5,000 grant (that includes travel and training at YSA's Youth Service Institute in Detroit in October) supports teachers as they guide students in addressing local needs by implementing sustainable service projects.

Global Youth Service Day U.S. Lead Agency Grants

Lead Agencies are local, regional, or statewide organizations across the United States, and the Canadian provinces of Alberta, Ontario, or New Brunswick that increase the scale, visibility, and impact of Global Youth Service Day by leading GYSD in their city, region, or state. Lead Agencies receive a $2,000 GYSD planning grant sponsored by State Farm Companies Foundation, travel support to attend the Youth Service Institute, and ongoing training and technical assistance from Youth Service America to ensure a successful Global Youth Service Day.

*Don’t forget to take a look at the deadlines for grant requests!

For more grant opportunities or to learn more about youth volunteering visit the
Volunteer Center’s VolunTEEN page.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Holiday Shopping in July for a CAUSE!

All this hot weather makes us forget cooler times. The Volunteer Center has a solution! Think about the holidays! It may be July but there are only about 160 shopping days left before the holidays. What better way to stay cool then to think about December and shop from the comfort of your air conditioned home. And you can do it for a GREAT casue!

Through, an online shopping mall of over 750 stores, a percentage of every purchase you make can go to the Volunteer Center. Shop at Best Buy, Sephora, Staples, NORDSTROM, PETCO, iTunes Store, Macy's, Victoria's Secret, and hundreds more -- all are taking advantage of this opportunity to help non profits.

It only takes a minute to register and $5 will be donated to the Volunteer Center right off the bat if you sign up and shop within 45 days.

Here is How it Works
  1. Go to and enter "Volunteer Center of Bergen County" in the cause keyword search or click here
  2. Register (it's simple!)
  3. Here is the important part: every time you shop online, go to and click the store where you want to shop from the list provided
  4. You will be redirected to the store and your purchase will be tracked for donation
Please note that only the store in which you are shopping will receive any personal information you provide, will never receive any information you do not give them directly.

Stay Cool and Shop 'til you drop!

Friday, July 9, 2010

"Let's Read. Let's Move." This Summer

First Lady Michelle Obama this summer launched a new program designed to keep kids active this summer: Let's Read. Let's Move.

“Summer is a time for fun - but it is also the time when many young people lose what they learned during the school year and pick up unhealthy eating habits," said Mrs. Obama in launching the program. The Let's Read. Let's Move initiative seeks to combat childhood obesity and summer reading loss by engaging youth in summer reading and physical activity, as well as by providing access to healthy, affordable food. This initiative is an Administration-wide effort led by the Corporation for National and Community Service in collaboration with First Lady Obama and five other federal agencies.

Here are ten ideas around Let's Read. Let's Move.

1. Encourage a child to meet the President's Active Lifestyle Challenge

2. Organize a book drive

3. Create a community garden

4. Build or rehab a playground

5. Clear a walking trail

6. Sponsor a sports tournament or camp for kids

7. Read to kids - reading five books over the summer prevents summer learning loss - it's that easy.

8. Conduct summer feeding program outreach

9. Collect and donate fresh produce from a local farm

10. Organize a back to school supplies drive

For more information about the Let's Read. Let's Move. program visit or for more volunteer project ideas visit the Volunteer Center website.

United We Serve is a nationwide service initiative that will help meet growing social needs resulting from the economic downturn. With the knowledge that ordinary people can achieve extraordinary things when given the proper tools, President Obama is asking us to come together to help lay a new foundation for growth. This initiative aims to both expand the impact of existing organizations by engaging new volunteers in their work and encourage volunteers to develop their own "do-it-yourself" projects. The 10 ideas above are adapted from Youth Service America.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

One Stop Shopping for all Your Volunteer Needs

As the school year wound down, Mahwah High School hosted its first annual Community Service Fair, allowing students to meet with representatives from local nonprofits and explore the many ways they can volunteer their help. More than 100 students attended the fair, which was organized by Stacy Mandel, guidance counselor and community service coordinator.

“Our goal was to educate students about service opportunities right in their backyard and to forge relationships between the school and these organizations,” said Mrs. Mandal.

One senior commented, “I found 10 different volunteer jobs that I would love to do!”

Students at Mahwah High School can earn up to 10 credits for doing volunteer work with prior approval of the service coordinator. Students volunteer providing myriad services with numerous organizations, many of which were represented at the fair.

Mrs. Mandel sends special thanks to the Volunteer Center for working with the school to help students find meaningful ways to serve their community. Learn more about how Bergen County teens are impacting the community by visiting Bergen VolunTEENS on the web.

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Sunday, July 4, 2010

Chore Expands!

Thanks to donations from private funders, our Chore Service now has three crews on the road every workday, performing home repairs that keep the elderly and people with disabilities safe in their homes.

Chore volunteers perform those kind of minor household repairs that clients can neither perform themselves nor, often, find anyone else to do for them. Repairs are provided without charge except for parts necessary to complete the repair. For details on what repairs Chore can and cannot do visit the Chore website.

Fund were provided by TD Bank, a private family foundation, and contributions from clients and Volunteer Center donors. Having three vans on the road allows Chore to help more people and to cut the wait time for service, which previously had been as long as 3-4 weeks!

Each year, Chore serves more than 2,000 clients, completes over 4,000 repairs, and logs in over 10,000 hours of volunteer service. Most of our clients are of very low income, and many are widows living alone.

In addition to helping so many people in need, Chore provides a meaningful way for volunteers who are "handy" to share their skills while helping their neighbors. To schedule a repair, to volunteer or to contribute to Chore, call (201) 489-7790.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Volunteer Center Welcomes Medical Angels

The Volunteer Center is pleased to welcome Medical Angels. Wait...what are Medical Angels?

Well, have you ever wondered what to do with or where to donate no-longer-needed medical equipment -- wheelchairs, hospital beds, walkers, etc.? Medical Angels is the answer!

Medical Angels is a non-profit that donates durable medical equipment and supplies to individuals who are underserved by the health care system. By collecting, recycling and redistributing equipment, Medical Angels helps people in need and keeps 3-5 tons of materials from going to landfills. In this way they help the environment, too!

If you have medical equipment you no longer need, contact Jim Ressler at Medical Angels, 201-461-9595. The organization also needs volunteers to be interns for social media and marketing, and office help is needed too!

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