Monday, March 30, 2015

Local Children in Need of Mentors

Each year in Bergen County approximately 600 children are removed from their homes due to abuse, neglect or isolation. They are placed in foster homes, residential facilities, hospitals, shelters or in the care of other family members. The Volunteer Center of Bergen County’s Mentoring Youth program is currently recruiting volunteer mentors for children ages 3-18 who are facing these difficult challenges.
For more than 30 years, Mentoring Youth has trained and supervised adult volunteers to serve as mentors to children who are confronting adverse challenges at home and in life and experiencing social, emotional and behavioral problems. Mentors serve as positive role models; they provide guidance, friendship and support, and advocate on behalf of children when necessary.
The next 3-week Mentoring Youth training program begins on Wednesday, March 18, 2015. Each Wednesday session is held from 7:00 pm to 9:30 pm at the Volunteer Center of Bergen County.
“Volunteers in the Mentoring Youth program improve the lives and experiences of children who need someone they can trust, someone to show them they are not alone,” says Janet Sharma, Volunteer Center CEO. “There is an especially great need for men to mentor boys and for bi-lingual, Spanish-speaking mentors of both genders, and there are not nearly enough volunteers enrolled so far.”
“These children are waiting for someone to step in and believe in them, to encourage them to laugh and succeed,” says Dr. Faith Samples-Smart, Mentoring Youth Program Director. “We consider time spent with mentors as free time: free of the challenges children confront in their daily environments at home and/or at school. What a gift to have this respite and safe zone with a caring adult.”
For more information about the Mentoring Youth program, contact Eva Tobias at (201) 489-9454 Ext. 121, or click here.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Women Volunteers Needed to Mentor Struggling Mothers and their Families

Raising children today is a challenge for any parent, but it can be especially overwhelming for mothers who are living on the edge of stability due to poverty, a history of trauma or abuse, and/or mental illness. Mentoring Moms, a program of the Volunteer Center of Bergen County, trains volunteer mentors to work with mothers who are overwhelmed by the responsibilities of children and life and who are also faced with immense personal challenges. When a struggling mother is supported by a mentor, the entire family benefits from that support. Adult women are needed as mentors for mothers living in Bergen County. There is an especially great need for women who speak other languages to become mentors.

“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,” say mothers being mentored through Mentoring Moms.  The mentors listen, share ideas and offer support as mothers deal with the daily challenges of raising children, while also trying to manage overwhelming personal challenges. 95% of the mothers being mentored are living in poverty, even in Bergen County.

Registration is now open for Mentoring Moms Spring training, which begins April 13th from 7:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. at the Volunteer Center of Bergen County. Call (201) 489-9454, ext. 123 to learn how to become a Mentoring Moms volunteer, and positively change a mother’s – and her family’s – life.
Read more about Mentoring Moms here.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Deadline Approaching to Apply for Bergen LEADS Class of 2016

Applications are due April 11, 2015, for Bergen LEADS, an innovative, 10-month learning and leadership program for adults who live or work in Bergen County.

Men and women from the private sector, nonprofit agencies and government organizations, as well as community volunteers, are encouraged to submit an application form, available at

Bergen LEADS is sponsored by the Volunteer Center of Bergen County, which has successfully engaged Bergen County residents in civic life for more than 40 years. Bergen LEADS - led by former Bergen County Executive William “Pat” Schuber - carries on that tradition by providing an extraordinarily rich, diverse and stimulating program focusing on topical issues, leadership and community trusteeship. 

“We’re seeking individuals from all ethnic, racial and socio-economic backgrounds who espouse different political, religious and social views,” says Mr. Schuber. “In short, we want our class to represent and celebrate the rich diversity of Bergen County.”

Participants will be selected on the basis of demonstrated interest in the community, achievement in their professions and/or volunteer activities, and potential for responsible and effective leadership.

For more information on the Bergen LEADS program, go to or call Beanne DeGuzman at 201-489-9454. ext. 112, or email

Bergen LEADS is supported by funding from the Lillian Pitkin Schenck Fund, United Water Foundation, Wells Fargo Foundation, Hudson City Savings Charitable Foundation and the Palisades Educational Foundation.

Bergen LEADS is a program of The Volunteer Center of Bergen County. The Volunteer Center strengthens the community by connecting people through service and developing civic leaders.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Lynne Algrant Named New CEO

Lynne Algrant  (right) has been named CEO of the Volunteer Center of Bergen County, effective April 1. She succeeds Janet Sharma, who had previously announced her retirement.

“We are thrilled to welcome Lynne as our next CEO,” said David Warshaw, President of the Volunteer Center Board. “Her leadership skills, civic engagement experience and community knowledge are an ideal combination that will help the Volunteer Center build on its already enviable record of achievement.”
Click here for full announcement.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Volunteer Management Workshop Planned

How to Create and Run a Successful Program
The Volunteer Center of Bergen County is offering a comprehensive, six-hour course entitled “Essentials of Volunteer Management: From Development to Achievement” on Friday, March 20, 2015 from 8:30 am to 3 pm at the Center at 64 Passaic Street in Hackensack. The $100 registration fee includes breakfast, lunch and curriculum binder. Participants from Volunteer Center Member Agencies pay only $75; contact the Volunteer Center for more information on becoming a Member Agency.
Participants will “learn the ropes” of volunteer management in this course, which will cover important points needed to create and run a successful volunteer program, to include:
  • Planning the Volunteer Program
  • Recruitment and Placement
  • Orientation and Training
  • Supervision and Recognition
  • Evaluation of the Program
Best practices and new trends in volunteer management will be discussed, including how to use social media and traditional media to market to volunteers and other supporters, how to engage leadership-level volunteers, and how to target recruitment efforts to specific demographics.
The most recent data shows the average monetary value of time donated by volunteers was $25.33 per hour in 2014, according to a study by Independent Sector, a Washington coalition of major charities and foundations. Coupled with the figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, that over 63 million people volunteer an average of 50 hours over a 12 month period , the economic benefits of an efficiently run volunteer program are evident.
“By implementing the practical solutions offered in this workshop, volunteer coordinators can improve their professional skills and learn to manage people who are eager to give their time and talent to help our community,” says Janet Sharma, Chief Executive Officer of the Volunteer Center. “We know that volunteers must be engaged to be effective,” continues Sharma. “Ensuring that those who manage volunteers have the necessary skills is critical to the success of non-profit organizations.”
Class size is limited; registration deadline is March 6, 2015. Participants will be enrolled on a first-come, first-served basis.
The Volunteer Center also offers “Volunteer Managers’ Roundtable” lunchtime discussions on volunteer management. Sessions are informal and interactive, and participants are invited to bring their own lunch and be prepared to learn from and share with other industry professionals. Sessions are from 11:30 am – 1:00 pm at the Volunteer Center on March 19, May 21, July 23, September 24 and November 19. Volunteer Managers’ Roundtables are free for Member Agencies; $10 for non-agency members.
For more information or to register for “Essentials of Volunteer Management” or “Volunteer Managers’ Roundtables”, send an e-mail to: or call Debbie Emery at (201) 489-9454 Ext. 118.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Family Volunteer Day Set for April 18

The Volunteer Center of Bergen County, in partnership with MEVO (Mahwah Environmental Volunteers Organization) is planning a Family Volunteer Day on Saturday, April 18th from 9 am to 3 pm at the Lodge at Campgaw Mountain, 200 Campgaw Road in Mahwah. Families of all shapes, sizes and ages are needed to work together to create a farm that will provide fresh produce to supplement local food pantries, providing long-lasting impact to help hungry neighbors in Bergen County. Families will be building garden beds, planting early seeds, preparing bee-hives and mulching. The farm will always serve as a teaching site for families, groups, schools, and many other interested organizations, interested in organic and sustainable gardening.

This project is one of the Volunteer Center’s activities to recognize National Volunteer Week, April 12th-18th. “Volunteering strengthens family relationships and teaches kids such values as kindness, empathy and respect for others. More importantly, it teaches them that happiness is not dependent on what we have,” says Debbie Emery, Community Volunteer Services Director for the Volunteer Center. “You and your family can give your time and talent to those in need and show your kids that you as a family value community service.” 

The registration fee is $5.00 per person for participants age 3 and up, and includes a light breakfast, lunch, snacks, project leadership by MEVO’s staff and volunteers, kid-friendly crafts and opportunities to learn about organic farming. Sign up here.

Children must be accompanied by at least one adult; reservations can be made by calling 201-489-9454 or by visiting, where registration and payment can be made on-line. Deadline for reserving space is March 28th.

Family Volunteer Day is sponsored by Boiling Springs Savings Bank. Additional sponsorship opportunities are available for individuals or companies to support this initiative. Call 201-489-9454 or email for more information.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Making Connections: An Evening of Networking and Learning

Are you ready to LEARN? about Bergen County’s unique challenges and assets?
Are you ready to DISCOVER? more about your own leadership strengths and potential?
Are you ready to GIVE BACK? to our community and make Bergen County a better place?

Are you ready to LEAD? If you want to know more about Bergen LEADS and meet people from all around Bergen County who are making a difference, come to this event!
Don't forget to bring a lot of business cards!

Please join us for an evening of cocktails, networking and learning. Connect with LEADers who are making a difference in the county, listen to former County Executive William "Pat" Schuber and Englewood Councilwoman Lynne Algrant talk about leadership and find out why Bergen LEADS is a program you should be in!

When: Tuesday, March 10, 5:30 - 8;00pm
Where: Twin Door Tavern (Maywood Inn), 124 W Pleasant Avenue, Maywood
Cost: $8 for Bergen LEADS Members, $10 for Non-Members

Includes Appetizers and Reduced Drink Prices


Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Save the Date!


Saturday, May 2, 2015
3:30 - 7:30pm
Grab your most festive hat or most outrageous tie and come out to enjoy all things Derby! Catch the excitement and join us for the Volunteer Center's 23rd annual Derby Day Party.
Click here for information on tickets, sponsorship opportunities and our auction.
269 East Crescent Avenue
Mawhah, NJ 07430