Monthly Archives: December 2020

When A Family Is Strengthened, A Community Is Strengthened

Chris needed a specific type of program to help him become the kind of father he wanted to be — one who could overcome his addictions and hangups, and learn to care well for himself and the needs of his kids. 

Chris’s life was transformed — and his community was strengthened — through the Family Connections’ Strong Fathers program. 

Before he came to Family Connections, Chris had been unemployed for 2 years and without a driver’s license. He had problems with family, anger, and substance abuse, and he was letting all of that get in the way of properly caring for his children. 

He says he didn’t have motivation to get things done.

In the Strong Fathers program, he was taught about goal-setting, and once he began getting things done, felt satisfaction in his work. He expressed appreciation for his Family Connections counselor, saying:

“He’s my inspiration. He helped me with my anger, so now I catch myself before it happens. I let things slide off my back…most of all, he taught me patience with my children.”

Today, Chris is celebrating more than one year of sobriety. He has his driver’s license, a job and car, and joint custody of his children. Looking back on his time in the Strong Fathers program, Chris says:

“I had to do it for my children. They’re my motivation and my strength. I’ve graduated from Strong Fathers but I still go in to help the other men. I get support and direction and structure. Every time I go there, I learn something.

People say I’m a role model now. But I don’t see myself as a role model. I’m just a man, trying to take care of his kids.”

It’s inspiring to witness Chris’s healing overflow into his kids’ lives! 

This is the power of equipping and educating. Your generosity makes stories like Chris’s possible. 

Every donation to the Holiday Fund is funneled into programs that build a better future for our New Jersey neighbors. Imagine what would be possible if more fathers had access to programs like Strong Fathers from Family Connections. 

Click here now to make a difference in the lives of families like Chris’s. 

How One Agency Made A Difference For Married Holocaust Survivors

Mrs. F was in her eighties, frail with chronic health problems. She lived with and cared for her husband, who had health issues of his own.

But this married couple was unique — they were Holocaust survivors. 

They had challenges: Mr. F suffered from severe depression. They only spoke Russian. Their ability to access help was limited. 

The vulnerable couple didn’t have family to lean on, as most of their loved ones were lost to the Holocaust, and their daugher was living with her own mental health struggles.

They turned to JFS MetroWest, one of the Holiday Fund partner agencies, and everything changed.

To reduce the burden of care on Mrs. F, the couple began attending a Russian-speaking adult day care unit. 

When Mrs. F needed hearing aids and was prepared to max out her credit cards to acquire them, JFS provided financial assistance. In addition, JFS provides ongoing case management, counseling and support. 

Although the individuals are one-of-a-kind, this story is not unique!  

When you donate to The Holiday Fund, individuals and families gain access to life-changing resources.

Here’s how it works:

  1. You make a donation
  2. Every donation to the Holiday Fund is funneled to ten social service agencies in northern NJ
  3. Our New Jersey neighbors lives are changed

When you contribute to the Holiday Fund, you invest in lives that are often invisible and forgotten.

Give generously today

Newark Day Center helps father while mother and daughter heal

Naomi, Ed and their two daughters are receiving services from Newark Day Center’s parent aid program to improve their household management and the functions of the home.

A parent aide assisted Naomi with becoming self-sufficient and managing the household independently. Newark Day Center also assisted the family with food and supplies for the children, with assessing community resources and ensured that the parents were doing well with the daily parenting functions.

Naomi and her oldest daughter, Nicole, were hit by a car while walking across the street. Both mom and daughter had serious injuries. Nicole had a fractured ankle and was able to heal at home.

Unfortunately, Naomi broke both legs and tested positive for COVID-19 while she was at the hospital. She was admitted into the hospital and spent time there and in a rehabilitation center for about two to four weeks. During this time, Ed was required to complete all household duties while completing his classes.

The family doesn’t have much family support in the area. Considering Ed had a small child and a child with a broken ankle, it was hard to travel and complete daily tasks/errands. The parent aide assisted Ed with the children and the daily household functions. She ensured Nicole was completing her remote learning while Ed was continuing his studies. She assisted with the children in order for their father to be able to complete the laundry and food shopping. With the assistance of the aide in the home, Ed was able to maintain the cleanliness of the home and complete all chores.  Currently, the family is doing well and healthy.

Visit the Greater Newark Holiday Fund on Twitter at twitter.com/HolidayFundNJ, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/GreaterNewarkHolidayFund or on Instagram at www.instagram.com/holidayfundnj.

To make a donation, visit holidayfund.org.

What happens after I give?

Do you ever wonder who’s being helped by your donation to a nonprofit, or how it’s impacting lives? 

Donations to the Holiday Fund are distributed to 10 social service agencies during their season of highest need

You’ve probably heard of most of the organizations since their work is touching lives in every corner of the Greater Newark Area, like Children’s Aid and Family Services, Family Service League, Catholic Charities and more

Who is directly impacted by donations to the Holiday Fund?

✅ Displaced families without shelter or basic resources

✅ Victims fleeing unsafe conditions 

✅ Elders in need of specialized care

✅ Children who need critical, life-giving services

✅ Teens who need help achieving their brightest futures

✅ Men, women and children needing mental health services

If you’ve been wanting to find out more about each of our charities, check out this free report. It’s a wonderful guide to our agencies and who they serve.

We hope you’ll check out the work of the Greater Newark Holiday Fund this season and consider supporting all of these local agencies with one easy donation.

Mother hopes to be united with children after struggling with substance abuse

Angela became a client at Family Connections in 2017 after being referred to the agency by New Jersey’s Division of Child Protection and Permanency to address substance abuse and mental health concerns. Angela has four children who were all removed from her care due to her unstable mental health and ongoing substance abuse issues.

Angela became a part of three programs within Family Connections: Strong Mothers, Home Safe and ReConnections. The primary goals of Angela’s treatment within the three programs were to achieve abstinence, stabilize her mood and alleviate mental health symptoms, secure adequate housing and reunite with her children.

Angela was engaged and cooperative in all programs, attending Strong Mothers groups three times a week, Home Safe groups once per week and visiting her children weekly with ReConnections. She was clearly determined to be a better version of herself and get her children back.

Angela began to make incredible progress. She achieved total abstinence, engaged and cooperated with psychiatric treatment, learned skills to manage mood symptoms and secured adequate housing through the Home Safe program. All of her counselors were very proud.

Angela became hopeful and optimistic about a future for herself and her children for the first time. Through her hard work and determination, after two-and-one-half years of engaging in treatment services, Angela has been reunified with her children. She continues to receive support and therapeutic services from Family Connections, while gaining the tools she needs to eventually be totally self-sufficient.

Visit the Greater Newark Holiday Fund on Twitter at twitter.com/HolidayFundNJ, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/GreaterNewarkHolidayFund or on Instagram at www.instagram.com/holidayfundnj.

To make a donation, visit holidayfund.org.