Monday, August 29, 2016

A BIG Thank You to BCB - Your Community Bank

On behalf of the Board of Directors, the staff and most especially, the Mentors of the Bergen Volunteer Center, we want to thank BCB-Your Community Bank for establishing the BCB Community Bank Mentor Support Fund.  

Bergen Mentors, which is both Mentoring Youth and Mentoring Moms does such outstanding work to support some of our most vulnerable neighbors.  It is hard to describe the generosity of spirit Mentors bring to their mentees.  For them to know that the Bergen Volunteer Center is now has a fund to help in an emergency and to provide more and more exciting strengthening activities to help build trust, friendship, joy and love is so comforting to those who already give so much of themselves.

In 2015, we used the BCB Community Back Mentor Support Fund in the following ways:
  •      To reimburse mentors for expenses they incurred meeting with their mentees.  While many mentors never seek reimbursement, we are committee to having it available so that anyone with the will can be a mentor. With your support, we have increased the Mentoring reimbursement level to $35 a month.
  •      To help mentoring families in an emergency. We replaced a broken refrigerator and provide grocery store gift cards to restock it for a Mom in August. We purchased bunk beds for a family moving out of the shelter into their own apartment. When we discovered that some mentors were using their reimbursement money to buy groceries for their mentees, we started to keep grocery store gift cards on hand for that purpose. 

These examples are extremely important; they give mentors peace of mind as they advise their mentees. However, the best part of your support is the number and variety of experiences we were able to organize for mentors and mentees and for mentoring Moms, their children and their mentor.  These family strengthening activities are essential to building lasting relationships and lasting change in lives that have been fractured.

In 2015, Bergen Mentors organized the following activities:
  •          A trip to Gravity Vault for wall-climbing;
  •          A trip to the Bronx Zoo;
  •          A Thank You brunch for Mentoring Youth Mentors;
  •          A Mentoring Moms and Mentors Mother’s Day Brunch;
  •          The Bergen Mentors Picnic;
  •          A Halloween  party;
  •          Two Holiday parties; and
  •          A trip to the Botanical Garden.

It is impossible to quantify the impact of your investment, except to say thank you and to show you the transformation and joy your generosity has created.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Showtime for Mentoring Youth

Recently mentees from our Mentoring Youth program had the chance to see Les Miserables through an amazing arts program at the bergenPAC called Arts Access.

The Arts Access Program is an initiative developed by bergenPAC to further its mission of making the live performing arts accessible to all. bergenPAC is providing free tickets to organizations who serve individuals who would otherwise be unable to experience the live performing arts in an effort to enhance the quality of life of the residents in our diverse community.

Mentor, Christine, took her mentee, Destiny, to see her first show a few weekends ago.

“The show was great! I was really impressed by the cast, staging and orchestra. The production value was excellent. My mentee enjoyed it as well. This was her first show EVER, and she seemed to have really liked it,” said Christine.

Without programs like Arts Access children in our Mentoring Youth program would not have had exposure to a basic life experience many of us take for granted every day.

Thank you bergenPAC!

Monday, August 1, 2016

Bergen County Companies to Collect School Supplies for Children in Need

Business Volunteer Council (BVC), a program of the Bergen Volunteer Center, is sponsoring a collection to provide school supplies for hundreds of children who are from low-income families, in foster care, or who are homeless. Community-minded companies are invited to participate in the “Tools for Schools” initiative which runs until August 26th. Because of the generosity of our corporate sponsors; Suez, Five Star Premier Residences, PSEG, and BD, employee volunteers will collect school supplies and deliver them to non-profit organizations including Bergen Volunteer Center, Center for Food Action, Children’s Aid and Family Services, and Youth Consultation Services.

This September starts a new school year for the children in our community. However, not all of these children will have the supplies they need to be successful. One in five children do not have access to basic school supplies because of their family’s economic circumstances. “It’s hard to imagine as a parent, having to tell your children that we don’t have the funds to go school shopping. But this is the reality for many families in Bergen County” says Erica West, Director of Corporate Engagement. “Attending class without the required materials is anxiety provoking for children and it sends a message that their education isn’t valued. I believe as a community we are responsible for ensuring every child feels their success is not only possible but important. By providing basic school supplies to these students, they have one less obstacle in their way of succeeding in school.”

The BVC will coordinate the drive with companies to collect the school supplies based on lists that have been developed in coordination with the social service agencies. Any company wishing to participate can contact Erica West at the Bergen Volunteer Center at (201) 489-9454 Ext. 205 to receive an organizational packet with complete instructions on how to organize and conduct the campaign.

The Volunteer Center’s Business Volunteer Council gives businesses a platform to successfully engage employees through volunteer service and workplace giving. The BVC provides customized volunteer projects including skills-based volunteering and support for corporate social responsibility initiatives. The BVC makes doing good a good part of doing business by building high-impact employee-led programs that are locally significant and socially relevant. Companies with the right engagement tools and guidance can create incredible social change while having a fun, memorable team building experience!

The Bergen Volunteer Center is celebrating 50 years of service in our community. We are redefining volunteerism by inspiring and developing the members of our Community to make an impact. The Bergen Volunteer Center turns caring into meaningful action by engaging volunteers to meet community needs.

Our core mission has remained constant but our ability to stay current and adapt in an ever changing economic and social environment has been the key to our enduring success. The Bergen Volunteer Center will continue to serve Bergen with strength and a robust, ever expanding purpose: Look Forward. Get Involved. Give Back.

For more information on membership in the BVC, call Erica West at 201-489-9454 Ext.205; e-mail, or visit