Friday, May 20, 2016

For My Mother

By Lynne Algrant

“To My Mother: Who once found me daydreaming in the middle of the kitchen floor and mopped around me.” 
                                                               -Toni Cade Bambara

Each year at the Mentoring Moms Celebration brunch in May, I think of this wonderful book dedication.  The notion of supporting someone’s dreams is so powerful and so delightful.

When you walk into a room of Mentors and Moms you are surrounded by people who support others’ dreams.  At this year’s celebration, we cheered for a Mom who recently graduated from Berkeley College and another Mom who won a scholarship at Ramapo College for her academic achievement.  These women are changing their lives through education and they are cheered on by Mentors, other Moms and Staff—a whole community that supports their dreams.

Additionally, all of the moms attending the event went home with a bagful of household toiletries donated by the Eastern Bergen County Board of Realtors.

The Mentoring Moms Program has launched a new initiative—the Chat N Chew.  Facilitated by motivational speaker and author, Faith Saunders and co-facilitated by Tracey, one of our Moms, Chat N Chew is an opportunity for Moms to serve as a peer support to each other.  They are paying forward the support and guidance they have been given by Mentors.

Helping women to provide a safe and stable home for their families is the mission of Mentoring Moms.  Here at the Bergen Volunteer Center, we are so proud and honored to help mentors turn their caring into meaningful action. And now, we are facilitating the chain reaction where those who have been mentored are supporting each other. 

Learn more about the Mentoring Moms program by clicking here.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

The Bergen Volunteer Center and its community partners support our local veterans

We are so excited about the success of our first Veterans Resource Fair, held on April 20th.  The collection focused on spring/summer supplies and clothing needed to help out the needy and homeless veterans of Bergen County. 

This project was a partnership with the Bergen County Bureau of Veterans Affairs and Ashley Crawley, high school student and candidate for the Girl Scout’s most prestigious honor, the Gold Award.  Volunteers from BCB Bank, Suez, Five Star Premier Residence, Backpacks for Life, and Atlantic Stewardship Bank were also on hand to sort items, serve food, offer financial literacy lessons and provide “personal shopping” for each of the veterans in attendance.

“It was a heartwarming experience spending time with the Veterans who attended the Bergen Volunteer Center Veteran's Resource Fair,” said Paul Van Ostenbridge, President and CEO of Atlantic Stewardship Bank.  “I had the opportunity to assist one of my new friends in preparing for a job interview and it left us both feeling extremely positive.  Another Veteran shared with me that he was in Vietnam and when he returned to the states, there were no programs like this one.  He was sincerely grateful for the care and friendliness shown during his visit to the Resource Fair.”

Individuals, families, civic groups, faith-based organizations, our non-profit partners and our corporate neighbors supported the event through donations of much needed toiletries, new clothing, and gift cards. 

“This event was an uplifting opportunity for volunteers to give back to people who have served our country.  We look forward to hosting this event in the future.  Working together, we know we can accomplish so much for these deserving men and women who have supported our country,” remarks Debbie Emery, Director of Community Engagement for the Bergen Volunteer Center.

A very special thank you to our sponsors of the Veteran’s Fair:  BCB Bank, Five Star Premier Residence, and the Meadowlands Chamber of Commerce.