Monday, January 20, 2014

Bergen County Volunteer Arranges a Welcome Surprise

Kathy  Hlavaty of River Vale, is a volunteer with the Mentoring Moms program of the Volunteer Center of Bergen County, which matches women with mothers who are facing extreme challenges in raising children and navigating their lives.

Kathy spends time with Jackie M., her mentee, and Jackie’s five children.  They shop, run errands and often have coffee at Jackie’s house—a 100+ year old Victorian that is much in need of repairs.  The kitchen in particular, has cabinets that over the course of several years, have become unusable—the drawers don’t work, the countertop is so uneven that dishes have slid off of it, and Jackie was forced to use an old baseball bat to prop up the center to keep the entire piece from collapsing altogether.  As a single mom who has been laid off, Jackie’s first priority is to clothe and feed her children, so she had to wait to take care of the cabinets.

Kathy told her cousin Angelo Del Russo, who owns Del-Sano Construction  company in Union County, about this situation, and he in turn reached out to his associate John Earl, owner of Merit Kitchen Cabinets and the two men arranged to have Jackie’s old, damaged cabinets replaced.

Jackie was so grateful for the wonderful gift.  “It will be great not to worry about dishes or glasses falling on the floor and shattering around my children, and to have a place to store our kitchen items safely.”

This is just one example of how the volunteers in the Mentoring Moms program support mothers who are overwhelmed with the difficulties that life has presented them.  Raising children is one of the toughest and most important job parents face.  Mothers in the Mentoring Moms program have financial worries and few family members to depend upon nearby.  They, or a member of their family, may be facing emotional, behavioral or physical challenges. 

Since 1995, Mentoring Moms volunteers have supported these mothers, by helping them to find resources, becoming friends and confidants and sharing coping strategies that allow the mothers to parent effectively, even under stress.

For more information about becoming a mentor in the Mentoring Moms program, call 201-489-9454 or visit  There is an especially great need for bi-lingual Spanish speaking women to become mentors.

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