Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Bergen Volunteer Center’s Redefining Retirement Program Begins a New Season

Currently, Redefining Retirement is working with the five Bergen County “Age Friendly” Communities— Englewood, Garfield, Ridgewood, Teaneck, and Westwood — plus Hackensack, leading once-a-month informal Information Sessions in those towns.

2018 Information Sessions are currently scheduled as follows:
·         Englewood Library, Tuesdays 1:00 – 3:00:  October 9, November 13, December 11       
·         Garfield Library, Mondays 11:00 – 1:00: October 1, November 5, December 3  
Hackensack--Johnson Public Library, Wednesdays 12:00 – 2:00: October 3, November 7, December
·         Ridgewood Parks and Recreation Department, 10:00 – 12:00:  Tuesday October 9, Wednesday November 7, Monday, December 10  
·         Teaneck Library, Tuesdays 11:00 – 1:00:  October 2, November 6, December 4  
·         Westwood Community Center, Thursdays 9:00 – 11:00:  October 4, November 1, December 6

 “One of our overarching goals is to help Bergen County as a community understand the asset and valuable resource older adults are and will continue to be as our society ages chronologically, but not necessarily mentally or physically,” says Louisa Hellegers, who leads the Redefining Retirement program.

Since the launch of Redefining Retirement a year ago, over 50 volunteers have been matched with volunteer roles. Volunteers have been placed at Meals on Wheels North Jersey; Bergen Family Center, Englewood Community Chest, Holy Name Hospital, Flat Rock Brook Nature Center, Ridgewood Historical Society/Schoolhouse Museum, Mahwah Environmental Volunteers Organization, and Garfield YMCA, to name a few. 

For more information, contact Louisa Hellegers, Manager of Redefining Retirement, at or call 201-489-9454, x205.

Monday, September 24, 2018


Every summer for the past 8 years the Parisian Beauty Academy, a Paul Mitchell Partner School in Hackensack, has invited the Mentoring Moms families of the Bergen Volunteer Center to their state of the art salon for a private event.  This annual event is a family favorite for mothers who often struggle to make ends meet and can’t afford routine haircuts in a professional salon. The cosmetology students, instructors and staff at Parisian offer free haircuts so that every mom and child who attends the event leaves the salon with an attractive haircut and a smile on his/her face.

Thank you to the staff of Parisian Beauty Academy for your continued commitment to help others in the community. Through your benevolent act, you have also increased the self - confidence of others.  Amelia Earhart noted, "A single act of kindness throws out roots in all directions, and the roots spring up and make new trees."  New trees are springing up in schools and homes because you gave.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Local Residents Join New Class of Bergen LEADS

Bergen LEADS, the County’s first and only civic leadership program, will begin its seminar year on September 17.  The program, sponsored by the Bergen Volunteer Center, prepares leaders to tackle the tough challenges facing Bergen County today and in the future. 

            The class, which was chosen though a competitive process in early 2018, will meet monthly to dissect issues, debate viewpoints and develop approaches to community problems.  Under the guidance of former Bergen County Executive William “Pat” Schuber, Bergen LEADS Seminar Director, participants are immersed in a stimulating curriculum that not only introduces them to topical issues of local importance, but also enables them to explore their leadership styles, enhance their leadership capacity and become meaningfully engaged in helping to solve some of the challenges facing Bergen County.

 “We are thrilled with the level of commitment and energy that this new class demonstrates.  A critical component of Bergen LEADS is developing in participants a sense of responsibility for the community,” says Lynne Algrant, Bergen LEADS Director.  “We’re eager to see what this class will accomplish.  Will they champion a cause?  Run for office? Launch a social enterprise venture?  Lead a community organization?  The sky’s the limit.”

Funding for Bergen LEADS is provided by participant tuition plus generous contributions from individuals and area corporations and foundations.

The members of the Class of 2019 are:

Mahwah  resident Kerry Barrett of Pony Power Therapies; Boiling Springs Savings Bank’s Gerard Beaman of Bloomfield, Stephanie LiCausi of Woodland Park, Joanne Lopez of Roselle, and Linda Pesch of Dumont; Westwood resident Lisa Bontemps of Westwood for All Ages; Woodcliff Lake residents Michael Casale of Orange and Rockland Utilities and Jill Strassberg; Hackensack residents Victor Brown of Bergen Community College, Zonie LaSane of County of Bergen;  Closter resident Dahlia Cooper of Girl Scouts of Northern NJ; Paterson resident Lucinda Council of Merrill Lynch in Paramus; Bergenfield resident Danielle De Laurentis of The Northern New Jersey Community Foundation ; HoHoKus resident James Delia of Wells, Jaworski, and Liebman, LLP; Fair Lawn resident Leslie Felner of the Bergen County Care Fair; Teaneck residents Inez Johnson of GPS Empowerment,  Rayshawna Fraser of GLAAM, Inc., and Natalie Robinson of Pearson; Oradell resident Kathleen Keating of McCarter & English, LLP; Ramsey resident Dorothy Kalksma of Konica Minolta; Clifton resident Eugene Liauw of GYMGUYS in New Milford; North Haledon resident Jennifer Luberto-Stuber of Riverdell Regional High school in Oradell; Ringwood resident Maria Mansfield of Hackensack Merdian, John Theurer Cancer Center in Hackensack; Montville resident Nicole McDonough of Archer & Greiner in Hackensack; Pompton Plains resident Sandie Pardey of NJM Insurance Group in Parsippany; Newark resident Keith Parham of United Energy Advisors; Tamiment, PA resident Rainer Solano of Right at Home in Oradell; Emerson resident Nicholas Tseng of PSEG; and Rochelle Park resident Valerie Vladyka of Schenck Prices Smith & King, LLC.

Bergen LEADS seeks individuals from all ethnic, racial and socio-economic backgrounds who espouse different political, religious and social views for future classes.  Visit  for more information. Applications for the next Bergen LEADS class will be accepted January 1 to April 10, 2019.

The Bergen Volunteer Center turns caring into meaningful action by connecting people to volunteer opportunities.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

SUCCESSFUL AGING How Not to Fall into Fall – Standing Tall Against Falls

Fall which begins on Saturday, September 22, 2018 is a favorite time of year for many people. The leaves begin to display their beautiful colors, we take longer walks as the evenings become cooler and families and friends gather to celebrate various holidays. September 22, 2018 is also significant because it is the first day of, National Fall Prevention Awareness Week. This is a time to raise awareness and discuss preventative measures about ‘falls’ which is one of the biggest threat to our senior adults and family members. According to the CDC, an elderly person dies every 20 minutes due to a fall. Alarming!

  • One in 3 adults fall each year. 
  • Falls are the most common cause of hospital admission for trauma. 
  • Falls are the leading cause of injury deaths among older adults. 

Listed below are some things that may help to reduce your risk of falling:

  • Exercise : Engage in regular physical activity, especially balance and strength building. 
  • Medication: Ask your doctor if your medication increases your risk of falling. 
  • Vision: Have regular examinations. 
  • Technology : Alarms, Stair lifts (
  • Home Safety: Identify and correct falling, slipping or tripping hazards. 

The CHORE program at the BERGEN VOLUNTEER CENTER can also play a critical role in the improvement of your loved one’s safety in the home. The CHORE volunteers ensure that senior citizens and the disabled remain independent and safe in their homes with a reduced risk of falling by installing grab bars and railings. All CHORE labor is performed for free by BVC volunteers; clients only cover the cost of materials.

Stand Tall Against Fall as you explore and enjoy the bounties, splendor and celebrations of Fall!

Friday, September 7, 2018


CHEER is Bergen Volunteer Center’s newest program and is funded by a grant from the Bergen County Department of Human Services as well as from community corporations, private foundations, and individual donors.

CHEER provides a helping hand to isolated and frail seniors of Bergen County which allows them to retain their independence. Trained CHEER aides and volunteers conduct weekly visits to assist with shopping, errands, laundry, and light housekeeping. Aids and volunteers often develop lasting relationships with these seniors as they offer companionship and, whenever possible, create opportunities for them to be engaged in their communities.

CHEER has had the privilege of partnering with a number of Schools for those with Autism in Bergen County. These partnerships have been beneficial not only to our clients (the seniors) but also to the students. The students practice skills that, when integrated, increase their ability to live independent lives while being effective contributing members of society.  These student volunteers may be at different points on the Autistic Spectrum but the over- arching goal of this partnership for the students is progress towards independence, productivity, integration and self-sufficiency.

Samantha M., a student at Alpine Learning Group Inc. has been a CHEER volunteer for the last two years.  Her behavior specialist has reported that during that time Samantha has made progress and improved her skill set  in many areas and is now able to :

  • Navigate the aisles in a supermarket independently
  • Identify and select items from a given list
  • Categorize and arrange fragile/non fragile items
  • Engage clients in conversation
  • Establish a routine with her clients

This is a win-win situation because not only are the client’s needs met but Samantha’s social and communication skills are improving and she is also able to transfer skills from one client/situation to the next. As stated by Cortney Debiase, teacher/behavior specialist of ALG Inc., “ She ( Samantha) has built a wonderful relationship with her client and upon entering the home, they both light up and greet each other. It has been a wonderful pairing and Samantha looks forward to going shopping and seeing her clients”.

The CHEER program continues to provide on-going opportunities for the students to learn and/or continue to develop valuable new skills. To get more information about the CHEER program, contact Michele Ogden at 201-489-9454 x 203 and /or