Valerie is a single mother of two children whose eldest child was eligible for camp based on his age. The mother reached out to the Fresh Air Fund for a campership. Valerie never experienced camping but her son always wanted that experience for himself.
The Fresh Air Fund provides young people with an outdoor experience.
She wanted her child to become more independent and felt that camping was the ideal activity. She knew that this experience would give him many opportunities that she could not. The mom’s income was meager and barely meeting the household needs. There was no extra money for outside activities for the children.
A scholarship was granted for her son to attend summer camp and he was selected to attend a residential camp for two weeks. A huge smile came upon his face as he was anticipating what camping would be like.
The overnight experience gave him a sense of independence. While at camp, he interacted with other children, engaged in activities, was very energetic and never lost his smile. Upon his return from camp, his mom noticed how independent her son had become. The mother is ecstatic.
The fresh air, the outdoors and various activities had such a positive effect on her son. He can’t stop talking about his experience. The parent was very thankful for the Fresh Air Fund. Valerie was thankful for the opportunities and the experience that her son received.
Donations to the Greater Newark Holiday Fund can help to support a child not only during the holidays, but also throughout the year.
Rosanne Estwanick of Cranford meets regularly with a caregiver clinician in the Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Newark New Jersey complimentary Caregiver Counseling Program. This program offers individual caregiver counseling to help alleviate the emotional distress (anger, frustration, guilt, isolation and depression) that many caregivers of elderly individuals experience.
Rosanne cares for her mother, Rose, who is 107 years old and very frail. During a recent meeting with Caregiver Clinician Margaret McGroary, MSW, LSW, Rosanne shared that her mother was going to lose her Cranford home. Rosanne grew up in this home, which the family has lived in since 1947. Now, they were in danger of losing the house because the two women were unable to pay the property back taxes. Rosanne lost her job at AIG and assumed her role as a caregiver to her mother full-time. Both she and her mother live on a fixed income.
McGroary helped Rosanne organize a GoFundMe page and share her story with a variety of media outlets. Thanks to the attention the story received, Rosanne and her mother were able to raise over $22,000 toward back taxes.
Unfortunately, many caregivers face difficult decisions when caring for their loved ones. Most are unaware of resources and support available to help them. Many need help with estate planning and other paid services that are just out of reach due to the high cost for services. For Rosanne, saving her mother’s house has taken a huge burden off her shoulders, but she is already concerned about next year’s taxes as the house is located in Cranford where, like many of the quaint towns in New Jersey, property taxes are high.
The Caregiver Counseling Program gives caregivers the support they need emotionally while also helping to connect them to the many services available to the elderly in Union County.
Jaclyn had been working full-time, but still struggling to make ends meet. And despite her best efforts, she was evicted from her apartment.
With a 3-year-old daughter to care for and nowhere to turn, she found a lifeline at Zoe’s Place, a program run by Children’s Aid and Family Services. A supportive home for pregnant teenagers and teen mothers and their children, Zoe’s Place provides assistance and guidance so individuals can access educational opportunities, job training, life and parenting skills, health care and employment as well as child care and individual mentoring.
Zoe’s Place provides free child care, and the young women who live in the home must either attend school or work full-time. In pursuit of a career path, 21-year-old Jaclyn went back to school to study skincare and makeup application. She enrolled her daughter, a bright, sociable child, in preschool, where she is thriving.
Jaclyn graduated from cosmetology school and is now a licensed esthetician. She recently began working full-time at a spa. She also is a certified makeup artist and promotes her services on social media with the goal of eventually owning her own salon.Jaclyn is grateful to have found Zoe’s Place and for the opportunities it has provided.
“I want my child to know she is safe and to have a good life. I want her to appreciate the gift we have been given and understand that not everyone has help like this,” she said.
It is because of the generous donations to the Greater Newark Holiday Fund that Children’s Aid and Family Services is able to provide housing and intensive support services for teenage mothers and their babies.
He is currently undergoing an Individual Education Program/Plan (IEP), which is a written plan that describes the programs and special services a student is required to follow in order to be successful.
The process began after his teacher, Ms. Osborne, reported that Kyle would wander off during large or small group activities. However, he would gravitate toward puzzles, the block and discovery areas of the classroom. When asked cognitive questions he would sit and smile yet never communicate. As time went on, Kyle started to lash out when it came to directives in the classroom.
Ms. Osborne kept anecdotal notes on his actions and she brought her concern to the family workers and the social worker. As a team they communicated with Kyle’s parents and encouraged them to speak with the child study team of Newark Public School. As the IEP progressed, they recommended evaluations that included educational, speech and occupational therapy assessments and an autism consultation.
A variety of therapists were assigned to help, including a personal aide to work with Kyle in the classroom. Accommodations that worked best for Kyle included sitting close to the teacher, prompting, and reminders of rules and routine throughout the day. He began to show progress, which made the teacher and his parents very happy. His tantrums were lessened as therapists, his parents and teacher worked to help him. In time, Ms. Osborne reported that Kyle was improving more every day. He began to communicate and interact more.
He sits in the front with Ms. Osborne as she teaches group activities, which helps him participate in activities.
The IEP process was a success as it helped Kyle and his family prepare for grade school. Those at the Newark Day Center are happy they were able to help get Kyle on track with his learning and child development.
Like many teenagers, Sean began experimenting with marijuana and
became a frequent user; however, it was not until his late 20s that he
began using heroin. Around this time, Sean became involved in a
relationship that turned abusive. The relationship came to a sudden end
when Sean was arrested after defending himself from his abuser.
Upon his release from prison, he was referred to the Family Service Bureau of Newark for substance abuse treatment.
the transition back into society was not easy, Sean did not use heroin
again. Instead, he actively participated in his treatment, attending
groups and individual counseling since early this year. During his time
at the Family Service Bureau of Newark, Sean has found stable housing
and regained employment and he now works to serve his community.
there is a strong stigma against counseling within the African American
community, Sean has been open to the support and growth that counseling
has provided for him. Sean has rebuilt his relationships with his
family members and friends and he has started to develop a better
understanding of what a healthy relationship looks like.
his time in counseling, he has faced some recent losses, which has been
challenging for him to cope with. Despite these losses, Sean continues
to find ways to be a positive person and maintains his recovery. He has
been able to see the benefits of attending counseling as he has learned
to use it as a form of support in order to prevent himself from
The sisters are energetic and smart and looked forward to attending
camp. They loved learning new things, and meeting and making new friends
while reconnecting with their old ones.
A break from the city and
into an environment where they can run and play freely is what Janet
was seeking for her daughters, but her household income was meager.
had fond memories of going to camp herself as a child and loving it so
much that she was never ready to return home. She wanted that same
experience for her children. With the aid of the Fresh Air Fund it was
made possible for the girls to have two weeks of day camp.
and Naziah enjoyed the bus ride every day to the camp site where they
were able to see different farm animals and a pond along the way.
at camp they interacted with other campers in various activities, such
as bike riding, nature/science, swimming, drama, board games, music and
so much more. Niyea and Naziah often include their little sister while
talking about their day to day activities.
Janet was pleased that
her daughters enjoyed attending camp, and for the chance to be out of
the city and in the quietness of nature, being a kid and not worrying
about their surroundings. The girls would always have a lifetime of
memories thanks to Fresh Air Fund.
A contribution to the Greater Newark Holiday Fund will continue to help support children and families during the holiday season.
recall going to the doctor and my doctor immediately sent me to a detox
unit. I got involved in an AA meeting where I learned about my
alcoholism and addictions. They showed me what alcohol was doing to me
physically and provided educational techniques on how to keep my
sobriety,” said Gorrin, who lives in a MCG Residential program.
the end of November 1990, Gorrin and her husband had gotten divorced
and she was having a difficult time adjusting to being the single mother
of a teenaged boy.
At the same time, she said, her son was rebelling for reasons that included attending a new school, his parents’ divorce, and new people in his life.
soon got worse. She learned that she had breast cancer and would need
surgery shortly after Christmas. Following the surgery, she was
physically well, but emotionally depressed. She said that before her
divorce, she would drink occasionally. But one day she was feeling
insecure, picked up a drink, and didn’t stop. Once she completed the MCG
Residential program, Gorrin was referred to the CCAN/MCG MICA program,
where she met her first case manager.
“She was more than a staff
member, she was a good friend, no matter what time I needed her, she was
there. She took me to the hospital for additional support and while I
was in the hospital, I was referred to CCAN/MCGBH Partial Care program
where I began to learn about my second Illness (bipolar disorder),”
Today, Gorrin knows more about herself and has an
improved relationship with her son. The two speak every day and
occasionally see each other on weekends. She also has improved her
communication with her ex-husband.
friends and colleagues at work and church tell me that I am always
trying to be super woman, trying to carry the world on my shoulders. As a
mom and wife, I strive to protect and care for my family of seven and
provide my children what they need.
circumstance has brought my family to a point that what I could do was
not enough. My husband lost his job last year and since then has been
working temporary jobs with brief gaps of unemployment. This created a
snowball effect of never catching up to bills, being in danger of losing
our apartment, and the quandary of how we were going to get our oldest
to college — our oldest who had more than earned her share of
achievements in school. It was a very stressful time and being a working
professional, I felt embarrassed and humbled to ask for help. But God
intervened, and I am so glad I did ask.
The help we have received
from Nutley Family Service Bureau has given my family a moment to catch
our breath, a safety net for the times we needed some food, school
supplies and gifts for the children. It is quite something to see the
relief in your child’s eyes when they see you come home with backpacks
filled with supplies for the school year, or when you take them shopping
from gift cards you received from “The Three Kings” at Christmas. My
children know we work very hard and thus expect just what they need. It
is a huge joy when they are able to once in a while receive what they
And my children, being older, know that help comes from this
organization. My husband breathes a sigh of relief when there is one
less thing to worry about, one more thing to be grateful for.
shows them that kindness is very much alive and this, I hope, inspires
them to do great things one day that will leave another family with that
glimmer of hope we received.
Veronica Artis-Bryant was 20 years old and a sophomore at Stevens Institute of Technology when she found out she was pregnant.
was a frightening time for me. I didn’t know where to turn or what I
needed to do to be sure my baby would be born healthy,” she said.
was especially concerned about what to expect when giving birth. Her
sister knew a nurse in the Essex YCS Nurse Family Partnership (NFP)
program and recommended the program to her. NFP provides comprehensive,
in-home support by a registered nurse to first-time inner-city, pregnant
women. The same nurse continues to support the mother and baby until
her child’s second birthday.
nurse, Karen Burton, has been an important part of my life ever since
(we met),” Veronica said. With Karen’s support, Veronica delivered a
beautiful healthy baby girl named Sanai Lily, in December 2016.
addition to advising Veronica with all her medical concerns, Burton
helped her find day care for the baby when she returned to work and
school. She has been there to answer Veronica’s questions about the
baby’s development, and has been a compassionate ear when Veronica is
troubled by relationship issues.
“Karen has been with me every
step of the way and because of her recommendation I was offered a paid
internship with a local business that specializes in the production of
“I was so excited. Someone believed in me,”
Veronica said. “She said the internship has boosted her self-esteem and
given her confidence to pursue a major in mechanical engineering and
“Karen is so much more than a nurse. She is my friend. I
share everything with her and trust her advice and judgment,” said
Veronica, adding, “I am proof that with a little support and
encouragement a young Newark mom can make it.”
Azevedo was born and raised in Newark. He attended its schools and runs
his business there. It’s a city that he knows and loves, so when he got
the opportunity to work with the Greater Newark Holiday Fund, the decision was easy.
think it was a natural fit for me,” Azevedo said. “We were looking for
something to contribute to and give back to, and I always knew about the
Greater Newark Holiday Fund by seeing ads in The Star-Ledger, so it was
a natural fit, growing up where I grew up.”
Serving the area for
more than 80 years, the Greater Newark Holiday Fund began in 1937 as a
gift drive for children of Newark’s neighborhoods. Today, it helps
families and individuals in Essex, Union, Passaic, Hudson, Morris and
Bergen counties by providing funds to area service organizations.
fund primarily raises money from November through February, but accepts
donations from Feb. 1 through Jan. 31 each year. Donations are received
from larger businesses as well as from individuals.
spending several years involved in the fund, two years ago as its
treasurer, Azevedo was asked to step in to serve as president for 2018.
so proud to be a part of an organization that’s heading into its 81st
year. There’s a lot to be said about that, all the good the organization
does is seen by the donors. Even if it’s $5 or $10, people have been
donating to it their entire lives, and they see the value of it.”
Azevedo will be joined by Honorary Chairman Angelo Genova, chairman and managing partner of Genova Burns LLC.
someone who is closely tied to Newark, I know what wonderful work the
fund does throughout the year to help those less fortunate in northern
New Jersey. This is an invaluable opportunity to grow awareness around a
pervasive and all too often overlooked issue in our community,” Genova
managing member with Pereira & Azevedo, LLC, a CPA firm located in
Newark, and Liberty Payroll Solutions, LLC, said he has high hopes for
this year’s fundraising campaign. He set a goal of $400,000, which will
go toward 10 charities — Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of
Newark, Children’s Aid & Family Services, FAMILYConnections, Family
Service Bureau of Newark, Family Service League, Jewish Family Service
of Metrowest New Jersey, Newark Day Center, Nutley Family Service
Bureau, Urban League and Youth Consultation Service (YCS).
addition, the New Jersey Devils are planning to hold an event on Dec. 1
designed to raise awareness of the Greater Newark Holiday Fund and to
raise money for the charity. During that night, the fund will receive
half the proceeds of a 50/ 50 event.
“It’s great recognition for us, they put us on the jumbotron, and it’s been great during the past few years,” Azevedo said.