Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Help Overwhelmed Moms

Make a difference in a family’s life!  Mentoring Moms, a program of the Volunteer Center of Bergen County, trains adult women to work with mothers who are overwhelmed by the challenges of children and life.  When a mother is supported by a mentor, the entire family is helped, because mentors become important role models for the mother and the children, as well.

Mothers being mentored through the program say “It is so great to have a friend, someone I can really talk to!”  “I have learned so much about raising my son.”  “I feel better as a parent and a person since meeting my mentor.” 

Mentors are caring women who understand how hard it is to raise children and who want to make life easier for other moms.  The moms being mentored are referred through community or family service agencies. The mentors listen, share ideas and offer support as mothers deal with daily challenges of raising children and managing a household.

Registration is now open for Mentoring Moms Winter training of 5 sessions, beginning on Monday, January 30.  Training is held from 7:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. at the Volunteer Center of Bergen County, 64 Passaic Street, Hackensack. Call (201) 489-9454, ext. 123 to find out how you can become a Mentoring Moms volunteer.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Where are you donations going this year?

These days, it's more important than ever to carefully consider where you send your end-of-year contributions.  Since 1966, The Volunteer Center has been effectively and efficiently doing good in Bergen County.  Our recent audit shows that 86% of our expenditures support our programs and services, such as:
  • The "All WrappedUp" Holiday Giving Program, which brings holiday cheer to thousands of our needy neighbors during the holidays.
  • Mentoring Youth, which trains and supervises mentors for hundreds of children who have suffered abuse, neglect or isolation.
  • Mentoring Moms, which trains and supervises mentors for low-income mothers struggling to provide for their families.
  • The Chore Service, in which volunteer handypersons perform minor home repairs to the elderly and disabled - free-of-charge, helping to keep them safe in their homes.
  • The Non-Profit Training and Resource Center, which helps local non-profits better serve their clients and our community.
  • Bergen LEADS, which trains the next generation of community leaders.
  • Community Volunteer Services and RSVP, which link more than 100,000 people with volunteer jobs in our community.

You can be confident that your charitable dollars are well spent when you invest them in the Volunteer Center of Bergen County.  Please click here to give a tax-deductible donation now.

THANK YOU for your support, and Happy Holidays!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Rotary District 7490 Helps Buy Van for Chore Service

When Phil Ball, a member of the Englewood Rotary, found out that we needed to replace one of the vans for our Chore Service, he spearheaded a fundraising effort among several Rotary Clubs in the area.  Several clubs in the Disrict 7490, which encomopasses northern New Jersey pitched in, and Chore now has three vans fully in operation, with crews of volunteers performing home repairs that keep the elderly and disabled safe in their homes.

“I felt that this was a worthwhile project, in keeping with the ideals of Rotary,” says Mr. Ball.  “The van proudly displays the Rotary ‘wheel’ and is seen in every town in Bergen County.  What a great way to show Rotary’s commitment to the community.”

“Phil Ball is a gem, and we are so grateful for his leadership in getting this fundraising effort off the ground," says Janet Sharma, Volunteer Center executive director.   "This project is a perfect iteration of the alignment of Rotary's goals and those of the Volunteer Center around service to the community."

For more information about Chore, call 201-489-7790, or visit www.bergenvolunteers.org.

Friday, December 16, 2011

2012 Guide to Volunteering now available!

The Volunteer Center's updated Guide to Volunteering is hot off the press! The Guide lists hundreds of opportunities for volulnteers of all ages to get involved in the community.

The guide offers tips on how groups can organize their own volunteer projects, how to host a collection drive, ideas for family volunteering and lots of information about student volunteer projects, including listings of exciting websites about youth volunteering and service learning. The Guide features an extensive index cross-referenced by interests, geographic location and time availability, as well as by volunteer jobs that are suitable for high school students, students under age 14, and families who want to volunteer together.

You can purchase a printed copy of the Guide ($5) online here or you may download a free copy right to your own computer  (CLICK HERE). For more information please call Volunteer Center, 201-489-9454.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Donations Needed for Homeless Veterans

The Volunteer Center will be partnering with the Bergen County Division of Veterans Services to assist homeless veterans as part of commeration of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service.   According to Richard Daul, director of Veterans Service, about one third of the adult homeless population are veterans.   Although perfect counts are impossible to come by—the transient nature of homeless populations presents a major difficulty—it is estimated that over 100 veterans are homeless on any given night in Bergen County, and over the course of a year, approximately twice that many can experience homelessness.

In addition to the complex set of factors influencing all homelessness—extreme shortage of affordable housing, liveable income and access to health care—a large number of displaced and at-risk veterans live with lingering effects of post-traumatic stress disorder and substance abuse, which are compounded by a lack of family and social support networks.

Donations of backpacks, toiletry kits (toothpaste, toothbrush, shampoo, soap, comb/brush, razor, shaving cream, small bag to hold items and a set of towels), sweatshirts  sizes large and extra large, and gift cards to Walmart, Shop Rite, McDonald’s, Subway,  and Pizza Hut are needed.  

Donors can drop off these items at the Volunteer Center’s offices, 64 Passaic Street in Hackensack, during the week of January 9 to 13, from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm, with evening hours till 7:00 pm on Thursday; and from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon on Saturday, January 14.  Call Barbara at 201-489-9333 for more information. Learn more about this project on our website or make a monetary donation that will be used to obtain needed items for the homeless veterans. 

Thursday, December 8, 2011

The Chore Night before Christmas

At a recent holiday party, Jack Gardner, who is a handyman volunteer with our Chore Service, shared a poem he wrote about the program and its volunteers.

The Chore Night before Christmas
By Jack Gardner, 2011

Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the house
The faucets were dripping, and it woke up the mouse.
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that the Chore van soon would be there

The clients were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of grab bars and washers danced in their heads.
And Grandma in her ‘kerchief, and Grandpa in his hat,
Had just poured themselves a second night cap.

When out in the parking lot there arose such a clatter,
Mo sprang from her desk to see what was the matter.
Away to the window she flew like a flash,
Tore open the shade and threw up the sash.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of mid-day to the parking meters below.
When, what to her wondering eyes should appear,
But a shinny white van, and eight trusty volunteers.

With a little old driver, she knew in a drop,
It must be that fellow the guys call, Joe Pop.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name!

"Now Stephen! now, Denis! now, Edward and Glen!
On, Joe! on, Mike! on, Harvey and Len!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the steeple!
Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away good people!"

As yellow forms that before the wild hurricane pour,
When they slip off the clipboard and fall to the floor.
So up to the church-top the volunteers they flew,
With a sleigh full of grab bars, smoke detectors, and doorbells too.

And then, in a twinkling, Mo heard in the skies
The coughing and burping of each one of her guys.
As she drew in her head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney Joe Pop slid without making a sound.

He was dressed in flannel and denim, from his head to his foot,
And his new Chore hat all tarnished with ashes and soot.
A bundle of supplies he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a plumber, just opening his sack.

His eyes-how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
No time to spare, he was in quite a hurry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up with a smile,
And the whiskers of his chin were as white as a bathtub tile.

The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath.
He had a broad face and not much of a belly,
But it still shook when he laughed, like a bowl full of jelly!

He wasn’t chubby or plump, but yet a right jolly old elf,
And Mo laughed when she saw him, in spite of herself!
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave Mo to know there was nothing to dread.

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his task,
And stopped all the leaks, then took a swig from his flask.
Gathering up all of his tools, and charging them not one cent,
He gave his head a nod, and up the chimney he went

He sprang to his van, gave a whistle like a train,
And away they all flew like a clear flowing drain.
But Mo heard him exclaim, ‘ere he drove home that cold night,
"Merry Christmas to all, and to all a safe-night!"

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Our Fourth Honoree is...

The Volunteer Center of Bergen County is celebrating its 45th Anniversary this year with a Heart of Gold Gala on Saturday, December 3, 2011, at the Dolce Palisades Hotel in Palisades, NY

Over the past few weeks we’ve been introducing our distinguished honorees to you; so far you’ve met William “Pat” Schuber, Becton Dickinson (BD), and United Water.  Now we’d like you to meet TD Bank.

TD Bank, “America’s Most Convenient Bank®” is committed to making a meaningful and positive contribution to the individuals, families, businesses and communities where it does business. TD Bank has generously supported the Volunteer Center with grants to purchase a new van for its Chore Service, which provides home repairs for the elderly and disabled; to underwrite training of mentors for its two mentoring programs, Mentoring Moms and Mentoring Youth; and to launch Bergen LEADS, the area’s premier civic leadership program.  TD Bank is also a member of the Northern New Jersey Business Volunteer Council, through which hundreds of employees participate in initiatives that help low income families and children, and TD Bank sponsored the Kids’ Events at the recent Bergen Bike Tour, with proceeds benefitting the Volunteer Center and Tomorrows Children’s Fund.

The Heart of Gold Gala is “black tie optional” and will feature cocktails at 7 pm, dinner at 8 pm, followed by entertainment by Beatle Magic – The Ultimate Beatles Experience, who will recreate the aura, look and sound of the Fab Four through numerous phases of the Beatles’ phenomenal career. After the show, there will be dancing until midnight.

For further information check out www.heartofgoldgala.org or call Jane He at (201) 489-9454, Ext. 125.

Major sponsors of the Heart of Gold Gala to date are: BD, United Water, TD Bank, Reader’s Digest, PSE&G, and Lakeland Bank.