Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Meet Areli: Through Mentoring she found her extended family


Areli knew she was in trouble.
Areli immigrated from El Salvador to the United States in 2004 with her family. Her husband was battling cancer and she struggled to communicate with his doctors, her children’s teachers, and maintain financial stability. Areli knew she was in trouble.
With only a basic knowledge of English and limited education, Areli had minimal job prospects. Areli felt lost as she tried to lead her family through food insecurity and sickness. Then an ad in the local newspaper about a mentorship program gave her a glimmer of hope. 
Areli reached out to Bergen Volunteers and was quickly paired with her mentor, Alma. They formed an instant connection.

A fellow native Spanish speaker, with the same love of thrift stores and movies, Alma was able to offer guidance, support, and companionship.
Alma (left) and Areli (right) at a Mentoring party.
Alma became Areli’s translator and gave Areli practical financial guidance. She even helped Areli secure a job and dig herself out of financial instability.

It is through programs like Mentoring that Bergen Volunteers can help facilitate connections between people; reminding us that two people, a world apart, can support one another and become an extended family.
Your gift to Bergen Volunteers will ensure that our mentoring staff can continue to provide support for those in our community in need of help.

Any donation large or small makes all the difference towards changing someone’s life.

Heidi lost her home, but she did not lose her spirit.


After serving two tours in the Navy Heidi was left struggling with back pain and an array of medical issues. Her medical bills drained her of her entire life savings, leaving her homeless.
Through the Bergen County Division of Veteran Services, a partner of Bergen Volunteers, Heidi secured a new apartment. Upon moving in, Heidi was connected with our Making-It-Home program to help furnish her home.  

We visited Heidi in her new apartment to learn more about her and what type of furniture she needed.
“A desk for my computer,” she exclaimed, “because I just love the Internet and want to go on Who knows, I may find myself a fella! And oh, a recliner would be terrific too. I have trouble walking and my back isn’t in very good shape, so that would help. Frankly, anything you might provide would be a blessing.”

Making-It-Home located a desk and recliner from a donor in the community and brought it to Heidi’s home.
Heidi said, “I never thought I'd be the one asking for or needing help at this stage of my life. But I feel so entirely grateful to realize it is out there. And to refreshingly find it is given so willingly and freely. Thank you again for doing what you do. You have made a huge positive difference in my life!
Thanks to donors like you, Making-It-Home can continue to provide furniture to our veterans and ensure they are well taken care of.

Your $100 donation will help veterans in our community have the furniture they need to make their house a home.

“I was at the weakest point in my life before Bergen Volunteers”


As a single mother of four, Tracy often felt alone and broken.
Tracy was admittedly at the weakest point in her life. It was not until she was introduced to Bergen Volunteers and met her mentor Rita that Tracy felt a true connection for the first time in years.

Tracy and Rita’s goals included helping Tracy become self-sufficient, earn her college degree, improve her parenting skills, and become a community leader.
Tracy is now a college graduate actively applying for her Master’s Degree and is an alumni of Bergen LEADS, a year-long civic leadership training program delivered by Bergen Volunteers.
Tracy considers Rita a part of her family. She noted that through Rita’s mentorship she has become a better mother and person.
Tracy is grateful that the Mentoring program provided her with a much needed and consistent support system. In the future Tracy would like to become a mentor and help other mothers who are struggling. 
Tracy believes, “All you need is one person to offer love and a helping hand to make a difference.” She is glad to have Rita as her helping hand.
There are thousands of mothers in Bergen County in the same predicament as was Tracy. We need your help to make an impact on their lives as well.

With a $100 donation to Bergen Volunteers you can help our mentoring team match other individuals with a caring mentor to offer support and guidance.

CHORE Volunteers Detect Gas Leak at Ruby’s Home


“My CHORE volunteer detected a gas leak in my home"
The change in seasons prompted Ruby to call Bergen Volunteers to have her air conditioner removed. CHORE volunteers arrived at her home prepared to do the simple task of weatherizing her home for the winter.

They noticed a distinct smell permeating from the kitchenThey asked her if she could identify the source of the smell. Ruby, confused by their question, said she did not detect any odor. She assured the volunteers everything was fine and assumed it was probably garbage outside.
CHORE volunteers visiting Ruby's home.
CHORE volunteer, Ed insisted Ruby reach out to PSE&G to make sure the smell was not dangerous.
CHORE volunteers with Ruby at her home.
Ed and his crew waited with Ruby to make sure she was safe. As soon as the PSE&G representative arrived he found a gas leak in her kitchen, which he quickly controlled.

Ruby was overwhelmed with joy that her CHORE volunteers were able to smell that something was wrong and coordinate help for her within minutes. 

CHORE volunteers are oftentimes the eyes and ears of distant family members. This time for Ruby, they were the eyes, ears, and nose.
Thanks to donors like you, our CHORE volunteers like Ed will continue serving the community ensuring safety for our elderly neighbors.

With a gift of $100, you too can support our elderly neighbors enabling them to live safely and independently in their homes.