Monthly Archives: June 2024

How MHANJ Is Transforming Mental Health Recovery Through The Power Of Employment

MHANJ’s CCERI promotes employment for individuals in recovery, with a focus on meaningful occupation for mental wellness.

With a comprehensive approach that encompasses advocacy, education, training, and direct services, Mental Health Association in New Jersey (MHANJ) is dedicated to helping individuals grappling with mental illness to navigate their journey towards recovery. Their mission goes beyond assistance—they aim to foster an environment where individuals can live authentically, free from fear or stigma.

What is the Career Connection Employment Resource Institute (CCERI)?

One of the Mental Health Association in New Jersey’s notable initiatives is the Career Connection Employment Resource Institute (CCERI). Recognizing the critical role of employment in mental health recovery, CCERI is committed to advancing the employment of people in recovery. 

This mission aligns with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) Eight Dimensions of Wellness, which underscores the importance of meaningful occupation for everyone, including those recovering from mental illness and/or substance use conditions.

Improving Mental Wellness: The Active Role of Mental Health Association in NJ

How It Works: The Career Connection Employment Resource Institute

The Career Connection Employment Resource Institute provides a suite of evidence-based training and technical assistance for a wide audience, including providers, psychiatric hospitals, individuals in recovery, family members, and employers. A key offering is the Prevocational Training series, endorsed by the New Jersey Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS). This series aims to bolster vocational skills among staff to better prepare individuals in recovery for the workforce.

Moreover, CCERI’s commitment to accessibility is evident through their collaboration with community organizations, ensuring broad service access at no cost. Their specialized employment experts deliver training on various topics crucial for vocational success, customized to meet the specific needs of their audience. These sessions are conveniently held at the employer’s location or virtually, simplifying participation.

How can I support career training programs in New Jersey?

The Greater Newark Holiday Fund plays a pivotal role in supporting eleven first-in-class organizations in New Jersey like MHANJ. By providing additional resources, the Holiday Fund enhances MHANJ’s capacity to create meaningful change within the community. This partnership exemplifies how collective efforts can amplify the impact of mental health support and awareness initiatives.

By donating to the Holiday Fund, you too can join us in transforming lives through the power of mental health support. Together, we can support MHANJ’s mission and contribute to a brighter, more supportive future for New Jersey.

A generous gift from you could mean a world of change for someone else, and a stronger community for all. Let’s impact lives together with a donation to the Holiday Fund.

25 Cute Home Decor Gifts for the Summer

Are you looking for the perfect home decor gift to brighten someone’s summer? Whether it’s for a housewarming, a birthday, or just because, these 25 cute and stylish home decor items are sure to impress. Let’s dive into a selection of items that will add charm and personality to any home.

Here are our picks for the cutest home decor gifts for the summer:

Quick Links to All Products:

1. Tropical Leaf Throw Pillow Covers ($19)

Add a touch of the tropics to any living room with these vibrant pillow covers. Buy on Amazon.

2. Mason Jar Wall Sconces ($24)

Perfect for adding a rustic touch to any room, these sconces come with LED fairy lights for a cozy ambiance. Buy on Amazon.

3. Succulent Planter Set ($22)

These adorable ceramic planters are perfect for small succulents and add a fresh, green touch to any space. Buy on Amazon.

4. Geometric Gold Table Lamp ($23)

Stylish and functional, this table lamp will elevate any bedside or desk space. Buy on Amazon.

5. Boho Macrame Wall Hanging ($35)

Add some bohemian flair with this handcrafted wall hanging that makes a beautiful statement piece. Buy on Amazon.

6. Vintage-Inspired Wall Clock ($55)

This charming clock adds a nostalgic touch to any kitchen or living room. Buy on Amazon.

7. Ceramic Owl Succulent Pots ($15)

Cute and quirky, these owl pots are perfect for any plant lover. Buy on Amazon.

8. LED String Lights ($20)

Transform any outdoor or indoor space with these versatile string lights. Buy on Amazon.

9. Abstract Art Prints ($13)

Brighten up any wall with these modern and colorful art prints. Buy on Amazon.

10. Coastal Beach Photo Frame ($13)

Capture and display summer memories with this beach-themed frame. Buy on Amazon.

11. Coconut Shell Candle Holder ($28)

Add a tropical vibe to any room with this coconut shell candle holder. Buy on Amazon.

12. Woven Storage Baskets ($20)

Stylish and practical, these baskets are perfect for organizing any space. Buy on Amazon.

13. Hanging Terrarium Kit ($35)

Bring a bit of nature indoors with this elegant hanging terrarium. Buy on Amazon.

14. Turkish Cotton Throw Blanket ($20)

Soft and cozy, this throw blanket is perfect for summer evenings. Buy on Amazon.

15. Marble Coasters ($14)

Protect surfaces in style with these chic marble coasters. Buy on Amazon.

16. Bohemian Beaded Curtain ($55)

Add a whimsical touch to any doorway or window with this beaded curtain. Buy on Amazon.

17. Seagrass Wall Baskets ($31)

These woven wall baskets add texture and storage to any room. Buy on Amazon.

18. Glass Terrarium with Wooden Stand ($20)

Perfect for air plants or small succulents, this terrarium adds a modern touch. Buy on Amazon.

19. Rustic Wood Floating Shelves ($30)

Display decor or store essentials with these stylish floating shelves. Buy on Amazon.

20. Hand-Holding Ceramic Vase ($20)

This unique vase is a beautiful way to display fresh or dried flowers. Buy on Amazon.

21. Decorative Lanterns ($24)

Add a cozy glow to any space with these elegant lanterns. Buy on Amazon.

22. Vintage-Inspired Tapestry ($11)

This tapestry adds a splash of color and personality to any wall. Buy on Amazon.

23. Scented Soy Candles ($12)

Fill any room with a delightful aroma with these natural soy candles. Buy on Amazon.

24. Gold Leaf Wall Art ($20)

Add a touch of elegance with this stunning gold leaf wall art. Buy on Amazon.

25. Decorative Ceramic Bowls ($29)

Perfect for keys, jewelry, or small plants, these bowls are both functional and beautiful. Buy on Amazon.

Give the Gift of Hope

As you shop for these delightful home decor gifts, consider giving the gift of hope to those in need by donating to the Greater Newark Holiday Fund. Your generosity can make a significant difference in the lives of many, providing support and relief to those who need it most.

By the way: You can learn more about the impactful work of the Greater Newark Holiday Fund and how your donations make a difference here.

By incorporating these unique and thoughtful home decor gifts into your shopping list, you’re sure to find something special for everyone this summer. Happy decorating!

Nutley’s Casino Night Raises $18,000 for Community Programs

Nutley’s Casino Night united the community, raising over $18,000 to directly aid over 2,500 in need.

In the heart of northern New Jersey stands an organization that wholeheartedly supports individuals and families navigating the complexities of modern life.

What does the Nutley Family Service Bureau do?

The Nutley Family Services has been at the forefront of providing essential mental health counseling, social services, and community outreach initiatives to individuals and families in New Jersey for more than 100 years. Let’s explore their invaluable contributions and the recent successful fundraising event that will motivate its mission even further.

Strengthening Emotional and Social Well-being

At its core, Nutley Family Services (NFS) is dedicated to the emotional and social well-being of everyone it serves. With a wide array of services ranging from affordable counseling to basic needs assistance and outpatient services, NFS ensures that no individual or family is left behind. Their mission is clear: to offer psychotherapy and support to the broadest population, including those in dire need, thereby fostering a healthier, stronger community.

The Inaugural Casino Night Fundraiser

The power of community was in full display during NFS’s Inaugural Casino Night fundraiser held on March 23, 2024. In addition to being a night of fun and games, the event highlighted the spirit of generosity that thrives within the community. 

Thanks to the overwhelming support from attendees, sponsors, and volunteers, NFS raised over $18,000 in one evening. These funds are earmarked for crucial services such as Mental Health, Food Pantry, and Case Management, directly impacting the lives of more than 2,500 NFS clients.

A special shoutout goes to the Development Committee, including co-chairs Marla Hunter and Rob Frannicola, and all committee members for their dedication and hard work. Their efforts have truly made a significant difference in the lives of many. As one attender said, the event was “The greatest time!” 

Keep reading: Nutley Family Service Bureau’s Commitment To Mental Health Support

The Greater Newark Holiday Fund

Supporting organizations like NFS, the Greater Newark Holiday Fund plays a pivotal role in enhancing the ability of nonprofits to effect meaningful change in the Greater Newark community. By providing additional resources, the fund ensures that organizations can continue to deliver and even expand their vital services. It’s a partnership that exemplifies how collaboration and shared goals can lead to greater impact and positive outcomes for the community.

A Future Bright with Promise

The success of the Inaugural Casino Night and the ongoing support from the community and partners like the Greater Newark Holiday Fund highlight the potential for even greater achievements. 

NFS’s commitment to improving the well-being of individuals and families remains unwavering, and with continued support, the future looks bright.

As we move forward, let us continue to support and amplify the work of organizations like NFS. Donate today to the Holiday Fund.

Together, let’s ensure that every individual and family has the opportunity to thrive. 

Breathe Easy: The Health Benefits Of Kids’ Outdoor Adventures

Discover how nature and outdoor exploration programs, like those at Newark Day Center, unlock vital health benefits for kids.

Spending time in nature is not just a way to get fresh air; it’s an essential part of growth and mental health and—if done as a family—can be a catalyst for quality family bonding. In today’s fast-paced, digitally-driven society, encouraging kids to spend more time outdoors has become more important than ever. Let’s explore the many benefits that nature offers to both children and their parents.

Why is spending time in nature good for kids?

Children thrive in environments that challenge their senses, and the outdoors is the perfect setting for this kind of sensory play. Outdoor play is critical for developing motor skills, balance, and physical fitness. 

Moreover, studies have shown that children who engage with nature from a young age develop better cognitive skills, including creativity, problem-solving abilities, and concentration. Nature also introduces children to the concept of risk-taking and helps them learn how to navigate challenges safely. In addition, American Academy of Pediatrics reports that:

“Play is also critical to safe, stable, and nurturing relationships, supporting developmental milestones, and mental health.”

How do parents benefit from spending time outdoors with their kids?

The benefits of spending time in nature are not exclusive to children. Parents, too, can experience significant improvements in mental well-being. A study published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health found that being in natural settings can lower levels of cortisol, a stress hormone, and enhance mood. For parents, sharing these moments with their children can also reduce feelings of anxiety and depression, fostering a sense of peace and contentment.

Learn more about the Fresh Air Fund: Transforming Lives In The Greater Newark Community With The Fresh Air Fund Experience

How to make outdoor play more engaging for your child

Nature has a unique way of stripping away distractions and facilitating genuine connections. Without the interference of screens and the hustle of everyday life, families can engage in meaningful conversations, share discoveries, and create lasting memories. 

After time together outdoors, you can reinforce the lessons learned and encourage further exploration by asking your children the following questions:

  • What did we learn together while exploring outside?
  • Is there something you’d like to know more about from what we saw or did today?
  • How can we incorporate more nature into our daily lives?

Activities like hiking, camping, and exploring local parks encourage teamwork and can strengthen the parent-child relationship. This quality time spent together in nature not only enhances emotional bonds but also instills a lifelong appreciation for the environment in children.

The necessity of outdoor programs for urban kids

Despite the clear benefits, access to nature and outdoor programs remains a challenge for many children, especially those in urban and underprivileged environments. By definition, there are less green spaces in urban areas, which limits outdoor exploration and play. 

Programs like the Newark Day Center’s (NDC) Fresh Air Fund and Early Learning Through the Arts aim to bridge this gap by offering summer camps and arts-based learning experiences in natural settings. These initiatives are vital for providing all children with the developmental, mental, and emotional benefits of connecting with nature.

What is the Fresh Air Fund?

For more than 137 years, Newark Day Center has facilitated the Fresh Air Fund summer camping experience, which allows kids of all abilities and interests from the city to escape the concrete jungle and immerse themselves in outdoor activities. 

From hiking to swimming and learning about the environment, these experiences are invaluable. They not only provide fun and adventure but also teach important lessons about nature conservation, personal responsibility towards our planet, and boost their mental health.

How can I support outdoor educational opportunities for children?

The Greater Newark Holiday Fund recognizes the importance of ensuring every child has the opportunity to experience the benefits of nature. By supporting programs that offer outdoor experiences to underprivileged kids in New Jersey, we can help foster healthier, happier communities. Your contributions can make a significant difference in the lives of these children, providing them with the chance to grow, learn, and bond in the beauty of the natural world.

Consider making a donation today to support the Holiday Fund and help us continue to provide valuable resources like the Fresh Air Fund and the “Early Learning Through the Arts” program through Newark Day Center. 

Together, we can ensure that every child has the opportunity to thrive in nature. Your support can transform lives and build brighter futures for children across New Jersey.

Let’s impact lives together. Donate now at

Newark Day Center: Transforming Early Childhood Education In The Heart Of Newark

Newark Day Center shapes young learners with early childhood education services for over 200 children, a critical agency of the local community.

Newark Day Center is a critical agency within the local community, providing vital early childhood education services to over 200 children. With a focus on infant, toddler, and preschool education, the center plays a crucial role in shaping the formative years of young learners.

Why Is Early Childhood Education (ECE) Important For Kids?

Early childhood education sets the stage for lifelong learning. During the early years, a child’s brain is incredibly receptive, so it’s easier to start learning basic cognitive, social, and emotional skills. The best programs will equip children with essential skills and tools needed throughout their educational journey and life​.​

Studies like the one conducted by the School Effectiveness and Inequality Initiative at MIT, have shown the long-term advantages of early childhood education, including higher graduation rates, improved academic performance, and reduced juvenile incarceration rates among preschool participants​​. Children who participate in quality programs are also more likely to achieve higher levels of success in their employment and have better social skills​​.

Although early childhood education is not mandatory in New Jersey, the state has made significant strides in providing access to these services.

What Makes the Newark Day Center Stand Out Among Other Early Childhood Education Providers in New Jersey?

  1. Their Commitment to Quality Education

The center’s Early Childhood Education program boasts certified teachers trained to implement the latest educational initiatives for young children. Newark Day Center (NDC) offers a range of programs, including Early Head Start, Abbott Preschool, and general childcare and preschool, all accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) and licensed by the State of New Jersey.

  1. Creating a Nurturing Environment for Holistic Development

Located at 305 Halsey Street in Newark, the Child Development Center operates year-round, providing a nourishing environment with balanced, nutritious meals and a staff of highly trained professionals dedicated to the children’s holistic development. The philosophy of the center is rooted in the belief that the early childhood years are the most formative time in human development, guiding its curriculum to encourage responsibility for learning and embracing diversity.

Read more: Family Service League Supporting Survivors At The 2nd Annual Legislative Breakfast

  1. Enriching Experiences Beyond the Classroom

In addition to the core educational curriculum, children at NDC engage in a wide array of special activities, including the “Early Learning Through the Arts” program sponsored by the New Jersey Performing Arts Center and enriching field trips to local libraries, museums, and other educational outings.

  1. Engaging Families and Fostering Community Collaboration

The Newark Day Center puts emphasis on engaging parents throughout the year, fostering a collaborative environment through orientation meetings, volunteering opportunities, and parent-teacher conferences. In addition, NDC collaborates with the greater Newark community to provide cultural, educational, and other support for families.

How Can I Support Early Childhood Education Services In New Jersey?

As part of its commitment to serving the community, the Newark Day Center receives support from the Greater Newark Holiday Fund, a vital partner in ensuring the center’s continued impact on the lives of children and families in the area. 

The Holiday Fund supports 11 remarkable social service agencies across 6 counties, making a meaningful impact where it matters most. By donating to the Holiday Fund, you too can join us in transforming lives through the power of early childhood education. Together, let’s support Newark Day Center’s mission and contribute to a brighter future for New Jersey kids and families.

Your generous contribution will go a long way in changing lives and building stronger communities for future generations. Consider making a donation today.

The Summer Camp Experience With Newark Day Center’s Fresh Air Fund

This National Great Outdoors Month, discover the transformative adventures at Newark Day Center’s Fresh Air Fund summer camp.

In the heart of every child lies a spark of curiosity and the joy of discovery, especially when it comes to exploring the great outdoors. 

This National Great Outdoors Month, let’s zoom into the life-changing experiences offered by the Newark Day Center through their summer camp program, and how organizations like the Greater Newark Holiday Fund amplify their impact on the community.

A Day at Camp: More Than Just Fun and Games

Imagine waking up to a day where learning feels like an adventure. At Newark Day Center’s (NDC) summer camp, this is the reality for hundreds of inner-city children every year. 

The camp is a bustling hub of activity, where every day is designed to balance fun with educational value. From diving into computer literacy and unraveling the mysteries of nature and science, to fostering a love for reading, the camp ensures a holistic development for its campers.

But the learning doesn’t stop there. The camp is a place for teaching life skills such as conflict resolution and cultural awareness, alongside a long list of recreational activities like biking, arts and crafts, hiking, sports, drama, swimming, and music. It’s a place where environmental awareness is not just taught but practiced, making the campers stewards of the planet they inhabit.

Finally, did we mention the delicious, healthy food that campers enjoy at every meal and snack time to keep them nourished and ready for the fun?

More about NDC’s impact: Newark Day Center Celebrates Increased Tax Credit For Families

Newark Day Center Prioritizes Children

The Newark Day Center is working to ensure that the well-being and development of inner-city children are prioritized. This is nothing new—the Fresh Air Fund, spearheaded by Newark Day Center, has been positively impacting the lives of individuals in the Greater Newark community for over 137 years.

The Fresh Air Fund summer camp is not just a retreat but a transformative experience that equips these young minds with the skills, knowledge, and resilience they need to thrive. By providing access to rest, relaxation, and the rejuvenating effects of the outdoors, NDC plays a crucial role in shaping the future leaders of our communities.

The Role of the Greater Newark Holiday Fund

As we observe National Great Outdoors Month, let’s highlight the invaluable efforts of organizations like the Newark Day Center, supported by the partnership of the Greater Newark Holiday Fund. Together, we’re helping the next generation become healthier, more joyful, and interconnected.

Would you consider making a donation to the Holiday Fund today? Your generous contribution could be the catalyst for profound change in a young person’s life.

Together, we can transform lives. Make your contribution now at

The Impact Of Mental Health First Aid: Empowering New Jersey With Training

Through awareness and proper training on the subject, mental health first aid enhances the overall resilience and productivity of our communities.

We all know someone who’s struggling with their mental health. Maybe you’ve felt helpless, wondering how you could assist them. While getting professional help is the best course of action, immediate access isn’t always possible: booking an appointment with a certified counselor may take days or even weeks, and not everyone can afford therapy sessions. That’s where mental health first aid comes in. 

Mental health first aid equips you with the knowledge and skills to offer support until professional help becomes available, acting as a crucial bridge in mental health care.

What is mental health first aid?

Mental health first aid offers essential training and tools to help you the signs of mental health issues and offer immediate, yet temporary, support for daily life. Just as physical first aid is to injuries, mental health first aid is to psychological distress. This is where outstanding organizations like Mental Health Association in New Jersey and others excel, offering crucial support and education for community mental wellness.

Why Communities Need To Prioritize Mental Health

Investing in mental health is crucial, as statistics reveal its pervasive impact. Nationally, approximately 1 in 5 adults in the U.S. experience mental illness each year. Prioritizing mental health not only enhances individual resilience and quality of life but also contributes to societal productivity and stability.

Mental health first aid training extends beyond healthcare professionals—it’s crucial for everyone. From teachers and employers to family members and friends, understanding how to act in a mental health crisis can significantly alter outcomes. This collective capability not only fills gaps in our healthcare system but fosters a community environment of empathy and support, reducing the stigma around mental health issues.

Anyone, regardless of their profession or background, can play a role in promoting mental health and supporting those in need. 

Where can I get trained for mental health first aid in New Jersey?

To equip community members, professionals, and peers with the necessary skills and knowledge, organizations like the Mental Health Association in New Jersey (MHANJ) offer training programs. They are a proud partner of the Holiday Fund, and have spearheaded initiatives focused on mental health literacy, crisis intervention, and emotional support techniques, empowering participants to recognize signs of distress and provide appropriate assistance.

These sessions are led by MHANJ staff or qualified speakers, with options for personal perspective talks and interactive presentations. The Community Education and Outreach Department focuses on boosting mental health awareness, reducing stigma, and providing various programs like the Mental Health Players, PEWS Program (Promoting Emotional Wellness & Spirituality), and WRAP® (Wellness Recovery Action Planning) training to enhance understanding and wellness.

Read more: Improving Mental Wellness: The Active Role of Mental Health Association in New Jersey

MHANJ’s Collaboration with Cranford Jaycees

Recently, Mental Health Association in New Jersey’s Ruth Kaluski and Merrill Altberg embarked on an important journey, leading the Adult Mental Health First Aid USA Training from the National Council for Well Being in collaboration with the Cranford Jaycees.

This essential training is a step forward in empowering individuals to recognize and respond to the signs of mental illness and substance use disorders in our communities. We appreciate the reminder that, when communities come together, the potential to foster understanding and support around mental health is amplified.

Where can I find professional mental health services in New Jersey?

If you or someone you know is seeking professional help, there are several trusted agencies that you can direct them to. Our partner agencies across New Jersey offer a range of mental health support. Some notable initiatives include:

These remarkable services guarantee that support is just a phone call away.

Support Mental Health First Aid Programs with the Greater Newark Holiday Fund

Join us in championing mental health by contributing to the Greater Newark Holiday Fund. Your contribution will directly benefit organizations such as these, providing crucial support for mental health first aid programs. This fosters a culture rooted in understanding, empathy, and proactive care for mental well-being. 

Feeling inspired by MHANJ’s commitment to mental health? Join us in making a difference! Your generous contribution will go a long way in changing lives and building stronger communities. Donate today at

The Impact Of Newark Day Center’s Early Childhood Program In Cultivating Tomorrow

NDC’s Early Childhood Education program enriches 200+ kids (3 months-5 years) with creativity, curiosity, and a love for learning.

In the heart of Newark, a special place exists where big dreams take root in the youngest of minds. Newark Day Center, a multifaceted and innovative agency, has been making waves by serving the community for more than 100 years. With a rich history and a vibrant present, NDC shows how important learning is to the community.

Photo credits: Newark Day Center Facebook Page

Early Childhood Education: A Foundation for Life

At the core of the Newark Day Center’s (NDC) mission is its Early Childhood Education program, which caters to over 200 children ranging from 3 months to 5 years old. Here, learning goes beyond ABCs and 123s; it’s about nurturing creativity, curiosity, and a love for learning that lasts a lifetime. 

Through the “Early Learning Through the Arts” program, sponsored by the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, children dive into a world where education meets imagination. Field trips to local libraries, museums, and other cultural spots further enrich this learning journey, making every day an adventure.

Celebrating the Great Outdoors

The adventures go far beyond the education and creative play that dominate young people’s time at the Center, located on Hill Street. This National Great Outdoors Month, we celebrate the enduring legacy of the NDC and its stewardship of another initiative for young people—the Fresh Air Fund. 

For 137 years, this noble initiative has provided urban children from various backgrounds and abilities a much-needed summer respite in nature. This time-honored tradition has opened up a vast world of outdoor adventure for countless inner-city youth, enriching their lives with experiences beyond the urban landscape.

Activities like swimming, hiking, and environmental education are at the heart of this experience. More than just a source of fun and excitement, these moments outdoors serve as a powerful tool for instilling a sense of stewardship for the environment and teaching valuable life lessons about the importance of caring for our planet.

Learn how an Individual Education Program/Plan (IEP) helps a child with his learning and development.

The Greater Newark Holiday Fund: Amplifying Impact

Supporting the incredible work of organizations like the NDC is the Greater Newark Holiday Fund. By providing additional resources, the fund helps ensure that the center and similar agencies can continue to offer impactful programs and services. It’s through this collaboration that meaningful change is made possible, touching the lives of many in the Newark community.

Would you consider making a donation to the Holiday Fund today? Your kindness and generosity hold the incredible potential to inspire meaningful change in an individual’s life, contributing to the betterment of our collective future. 

Make a difference now by donating at