Category Archives for "FAMILYConnections"

Celebrating LGBTQ+IA Youth With Family Connections

Family Connections hosted an inspiring event for LGBTQ+IA youth in Maplewood.

Family Connections hosted an unforgettable evening, celebrating love, acceptance, and support for LGBTQ+IA youth in Maplewood. 

The heartwarming event brought together parents, teachers, counselors, caregivers, and more, united by a singular purpose: to ensure the safety and well-being of LGBTQ+IA youth in our community.

Spreading Hope: Guest Speaker Kate Brookes

Gratitude was extended to the guest speaker, Kate Brookes, author of Transister, for sharing her inspiring story. She shed light on the importance of family acceptance and understanding, reminding us of the power of love and inclusivity.

Making a Difference: The Dedicated Panel

The panel, comprising social workers, clinicians, teachers, parents, and counselors, shared their invaluable insights with the community. Their dedication to supporting LGBTQ+IA youth is commendable and their contributions are making a difference every day.

Read more: Giving Back: An Impactful Family Connections Thanksgiving Initiative

Stronger Together: Our Partners

Special thanks go to the event partners: Maplewood Public Health, Maplewood Arts and Culture, and North Jersey Pride, for their support and collaboration. It’s through partnerships like these that we can create a more inclusive and accepting community for all.

In addition, Family Connections expressed heartfelt gratitude to their Board President Braden Schipke and Board Member Marsha Atkind. Their leadership and commitment to the mission have been instrumental in driving positive change and empowering LGBTQ+IA youth in Maplewood.

The Greater Newark Holiday Fund: A Supporter of Family Connections

The Greater Newark Holiday Fund is a proud supporter of Family Connections’ various initiatives that foster unity and inclusivity in our communities. Through our partnership, along with donors like you, we can create a world where every LGBTQ+IA youth feels loved, accepted, and supported. 

Join us in this mission by giving to the Greater Newark Holiday Fund today. Your contribution can build a more inclusive future for all. 

Giving Back: An Impactful Family Connections Thanksgiving Initiative

What happened when two institutions teamed up to support families struggling with mental illness through a heartwarming Thanksgiving initiative.

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, two local entities in our community—Family Connections and Glen Ridge High School—embarked on a meaningful mission. Together, they organized a dinner donation drive that warmed not just the bodies, but also the hearts of many families dealing with mental illness.

Family Connections has been consistently dedicated to serving individuals and families struggling with mental health issues in northern New Jersey. Their steadfast commitment to bettering lives is truly commendable. The collaboration with Glen Ridge High School for this Thanksgiving initiative is another testament to their tireless efforts.

A compassionate organization dedicated to transforming lives, Family Connections offers a variety of programs designed to combat challenges like trauma, mental illness, addiction, domestic violence, and child abuse, thereby providing much-needed support and resources to individuals and families in need.

Bringing Joy During the Holidays

The dinner donation drive was just as much about providing meals as it was about spreading joy and hope during a season when families should be celebrating rather than worrying about their next meal.

This act of kindness resonates deeply within the community, reminding everyone of the power of unity and compassion.

Support Family Connections

The Greater Newark Holiday Fund has been a significant supporter of Family Connections and its noble cause. Their contribution has helped to transform many lives and bring smiles to countless faces during the holiday season.

The Holiday Fund ensures that organizations like Family Connections can continue their essential work. We partner with 11 premier agencies in northern New Jersey who provide much-needed relief and support to those who need it most. 

As we approach the holiday season, let’s remember the families who need our support. By donating to the Holiday Fund, you can help Family Connections continue their impactful work.

Every contribution, no matter how small, counts. Let’s join hands and give back to our community. Your generosity could make a world of difference to a family in need. Please donate today.

The DREAM Program’s Impact On Domestic Violence Survivors

Let’s celebrate the DREAM program, which has significantly improved family bonding and communication among domestic violence-affected families.

Family Connections is an organization that has been instrumental in transforming lives within our community. Their DREAM program, designed for children exposed to domestic violence, has made a significant impact on families participating in it. The result? An amazing 100% improvement in family bonding and communication. That’s a statistic to celebrate! 

The Power of the DREAM Program

The DREAM program provides domestic violence survivors and their children with invaluable resources such as art therapy classes and counseling. These tools are not just therapeutic; they foster stronger family ties and open channels of communication. The program also extends group support to survivors and their children, creating a nurturing environment for healing and growth.

Collaborative Efforts Against Domestic Violence

Family Connections doesn’t work alone. The organization collaborates with numerous domestic violence shelters both within and beyond Essex County. By providing various resources to participants, Family Connections amplifies its efforts in combating domestic violence and its effects on families.

New Jersey Domestic Violence: Alarming Statistics

In 2019, New Jersey reported some concerning statistics about domestic violence:

  • 59,645 domestic violence offenses were reported by the police
  • Domestic violence murders increased by 3 percent compared to the previous year
  • Children were actively involved or present during 25 percent of all domestic violence incidents occurring in 2019
  • The number of domestic violence complaints that had prior court orders issued against the offender increased from 9,853 in 2018 to 10,761 in 2019
  • Alcohol and/or drugs were involved in 22 percent (12,898) of the reported offenses

These numbers underscore the importance of programs like DREAM, which aim to mitigate the effects of domestic violence on survivors and their families.

How You Can Help

The reality of domestic violence is a pressing issue that requires collective efforts. By giving to the Holiday Fund, a supporter of Family Connections, you are making a difference in the lives of families who are victims of domestic violence. Your support can help Family Connections continue to provide resources and programs like DREAM, contributing to stronger, healthier families in our community.

You can contribute to the continued success of Family Connections and ten other critical agencies in New Jersey by donating to the Holiday Fund

Your generous contribution will go a long way in changing lives and building stronger communities. Together, we can make a significant impact. Donate today at

Family Connections: Advancing Help with a Mobile Healthcare Unit

Celebrating Family Connections and their achievements, including a new mobile healthcare unit.

One of our agency partners, Family Connections, has just achieved the status of a Certified Community Behavioral Health Center (CCBHC). 

This means that they won’t just continue to offer you top-tier mental health substance use services, but they will also collaborate with other community organizations and healthcare facilities to provide you with coordinated comprehensive support.⁠

Mobile Healthcare Units

One of the exciting new services now available to Family Connections’ CCBHC clients is a mobile healthcare unit, courtesy of their partnership with Newark Community Health Centers (NCHC). This mobile unit will be onsite twice a month, offering services such as COVID vaccines, flu shots, internal medicine, and dentistry.⁠

This mobile unit represents a significant advancement in ensuring your overall healthcare needs are met.⁠

Family Connections is overjoyed about this partnership and the opportunity it brings for access to primary health care services right on their premises.

You can celebrate this achievement for Family Connections⁠ by following them on social media and keeping up with their agency news. 

Join us in making a difference in the lives of those who need it most. Your generous donation to the Holiday Fund can bring about transformative change. 

Give today, and be a part of this incredible journey of compassion and support.

Family Connections’ CLEAN AND COOL Program: Empowering Youth Towards a Drug-Free Future

🌟 Spotlight on success! We’re absolutely thrilled to share that an incredible 97% of youth who attended at least 3 sessions of the CLEAN AND COOL program by Family Connections achieved abstinence from drugs! 🎉

CLEAN AND COOL is more than just a program, it’s a lifeline for young people grappling with substance abuse. It’s an adolescent substance abuse treatment and life skills training program that provides the tools and support needed to navigate life’s challenges and make healthy choices.

In addition to getting equipped to abstain from drugs, it’s about empowering our youth to take control of their lives and build a future they can be proud of. Each participant represents a story of determination, and transformation.

Great job, Family Connections and the CLEAN AND COOL program for your exceptional work in changing lives and shaping futures. Here’s to continuing this important work and making a difference in the lives of our youth. 🙌

Join the Movement: 4th Annual Roll and Stroll Event Brings Hope and Healing

We are delighted to announce the upcoming 4th Annual Roll and Stroll event, organized by our esteemed agency partner, Family Connections. Presented by The GenWealth Group, this eagerly anticipated event is set to take place on Saturday, September 23. By participating in this event, you can make a meaningful impact by raising funds that will provide vital resources and support to individuals and families facing various challenges.

Family Connections: Empowering Lives

Family Connections, our dedicated agency partner, is at the forefront of providing essential services to individuals and families in need. With unwavering commitment and expertise, Family Connections offers resources and support to address a wide range of challenges. By participating in the Roll and Stroll event, you directly contribute to their mission of empowering lives and creating lasting positive change.

The GenWealth Group: Presenting Sponsor

We are grateful to The GenWealth Group for their generous support as the presenting sponsor of the Roll and Stroll event. Their commitment to making a difference in the community aligns perfectly with the goals of this event. Together with The GenWealth Group, we strive to create an inclusive and supportive environment where individuals and families can thrive.

How You Can Get Involved

Are you ready to join the movement? There are two ways to show your support for this worthy cause:

  1. Register for Roll and Stroll: Visit Family Connections’ website to register and be a part of this exciting event. Whether you choose to roll or stroll, your participation will make a meaningful difference in the lives of those facing challenges.
  2. Make a Donation: If you are unable to attend the event but still wish to contribute to the work of Family Connections, you can make a donation today to the Holiday Fund at Your generous contribution will directly support the efforts of Family Connections and their partner agencies in providing vital resources and support to individuals and families.

Bringing Hope & Healing

The 4th Annual Roll and Stroll event is an incredible opportunity to come together as a community and support those in need. By participating in this event or making a donation, you can help bring hope and healing to individuals and families facing various challenges. Let’s join hands, foster hope, and create a brighter future for all. Together, we can make a difference.

Impact by the Numbers: Family Connections’ therapeutic arts program for victims of domestic violence

Dreams is a six-month program offered by Family Connections that offers therapeutic creative arts services to children and their parents who have experienced or witnessed domestic violence.

Services provided include comprehensive assessments, safety planning, individual and group art, drama, and play therapy, weekly parent support groups, case management and assistance with concrete needs, fun family events and activities, transportation assistance, and aftercare groups featuring the Strengthening Family Bonds Program.

Support Family Connections’ vital programs and services all year long by making a donation to the Greater Newark Holiday Fund.

Through Family Connections, Kristine Rediscovers Her Strength Amidst Trauma

Shortly after moving to New Jersey, Kristine experienced a huge change in her smart, handsome husband. He became physically and verbally abusive and it didn’t pass as she had hoped. When they later had three children together, things only got worse. 

As the abuse continued, and Kristine noticed similar behaviors in her 3-year-old son, she also discovered infidelity and other offenses. Finally, she decided to leave with her children. 

Despite the relief of being free of him, she had to find help for her three children who had endured severe trauma at the hands of their father. Not to mention, she had a long road ahead of her as she worked through her trauma and inevitable court battle.

Thankfully, she didn’t need to figure it all out on her own. Kristine and her kids started individual and family counseling at Family Connections’ Domestic Violence program, Dreams. Through art therapy and counseling, they worked to improve her children’s self-esteem, assisted them in processing their emotions, and helped them in realizing that they weren’t at fault for their violent father’s actions.

Three of Kristine’s kids are still receiving and benefiting from outpatient counseling through Family Connections even though their time at Dreams is over. 

This New Jersey mother is grateful to have a happy ending to her story thanks to the assistance of Family Connections. We are proud to partner with Family Connections and play a role in supporting families like Kristine’s.

Original story taken from

Family Connections

High angle portrait of people sitting in circle during therapy session in support group

Far too many people and families in New Jersy communities struggle with serious challenges—from trauma and mental illness to addiction, domestic violence, and child abuse. 

Family Connections (FC) is here to make sure no one has to face these challenges alone. They deliver a wide range of services across Northern New Jersey, including:

  • Counseling
  • Prevention and training
  • Family bonding
  • Family reunification
  • Social-emotional skills-building

The highly-trained staff is committed to excellence, bringing their many skills and big hearts to work every day – not only in their offices, but on-site in schools and directly in the home. They work with people as they define their own needs, goals, and plans for better lives so that thousands of children, teens, mothers, fathers, veterans, seniors, and others can heal and succeed in school, work, and life.

Teen Impacted by Family Connections

New Jersey teenager Ava reflects on the changes she’s experienced since attending Family Connections’ Outpatient Counseling and Outreach to At-Risk Youth:

“In 6th grade, my great-grandfather died. I was acting out, getting suspended, getting into a lot of stuff, and not talking about what was going on inside me. I kept it all inside.

I’m a very emotional person and my counselors at Family Connections helped me understand my feelings. I don’t break down like I used to. I learned to express myself through talking and writing poetry and not through getting into trouble.

Now I have confidence in myself and I’m doing better in school. I’m a strong person after all I’ve been through. If Family Connections didn’t turn me around and help me find my strength, I’d probably be in big trouble now.”

When asked what advice she’d give to other young people who are struggling, she said: 

“Kids should know: You’re not alone. You need to talk to someone who listens and makes you happy. And express how you feel. If you draw, then draw. If you sing, then sing.”

Data-Driven Results

Ava is one of many NJ residents who have been introduced to life-changing resources through Family Connections. 

Data has shown success in every single area measured. Here’s a quick snapshot:

Family Connections ProgramMeasurement GoalActual
Clean and Cool (adolescent substance abuse treatment andlife skills training):Participating youth will have no new reports of high-risk/criminal behavior
Clean and Cool:Youth who attend at least three sessions will achieve abstinence.75%97%
OTARY (Outreach to At-Risk Youth)Participating youth will have no new reports of high-risk/criminal behavior.80%81%
DREAMS Program for children exposed to domestic violenceParticipating children will show improved emotional, cognitive, and behavioral functioning.70%90%
DREAMS:Participating families will demonstrate improved family bonding and communications.70%100%

These statistics are impressive, but Family Connections has another way to summarize the success of the individuals who participate in their 35 programs:

One human being at a time.

Make ONE DONATION to the Holiday Fund and support 10 life-changing organizations in New Jersey.

Increasing Impact

In the past decade, the number of people participating in Family Connections’ services has quadrupled to more than 4,000 per year. Family Connections rigorously tracks data across programs, measuring both the soft and hard impact of the work. They are:

  • Decreasing child abuse, drug abuse, domestic violence, and homelessness
  • Increasing social and coping skills, school success, employability and family bonding

Family Connections History

Family Connections started in 1879 as the Orange Registry Society. They loaned out horses and wagons from our stable and offered volunteers and food to families who’d fallen on hard times. After 140 years, one merger, and a couple of name changes, they are still in the business of making hope possible by supporting neighbors in need and strengthening communities.

Family Connections’ Mission and Vision

Growth happens every day at FC. With counseling, skills-building, training and prevention services, people take control of their own healing and foster connections that make the entire community stronger, safer, and healthier.

Family Connections see a world where no one faces life’s challenges alone—where we all have the opportunities, connections, and resources we need to thrive.

Core Values

We are inclusive.

FC honors the diverse backgrounds of the people they work with, centering everything on their identities and lived experiences⁠ — across race, gender identity, economic status, sexual orientation, religion, education, disability, age, and more.

We are strengths-based.

Everyone has inherent strengths. By identifying and building on those strengths, clients create their own paths to wellness and success.

We are relationship-driven.

FC believes that connections—whether to family, friends, or community—are the foundation for the physical, emotional, and psychological health of every person.

We are outcome-oriented.

FC pursues positive outcomes for clients and are committed to research-based approaches with proven records of success.

We are collaborative.

FC believes that we are at our best when we work together, look after one another, and foster partnerships across sectors to give our greatest to the people around us.

Make a Difference By Volunteering 

Volunteering can be as simple as re-posting Family Connections news to your social media feed, as hands-on as becoming a homework helper at a school-based program, or as skill-specific as helping with finances and human resources. 

Get details on the Family Connections page

Since 1879, Family Connections has proven that communities thrive when everyone is invested in each other’s well being. When you connect with them, you’re building a stronger, safer, and healthier New Jersey.  

Learn more about the impact they’re making in New Jersey on the Family Connections website.

Linda’s Story

A woman with her toddler, smiling at the camera

Meet Linda.

Just 18 years old, pregnant and homeless, Linda thought her only option was to drop out of school. But the people she met at Family Connections helped her find another way. She stayed in school, eventually got 2 jobs and found her own place to stay. She even made the Deans List at community college!

Linda says, “I realized that there are people who will help you.” She learned to get what she wanted in life by working hard to reach her goals.

“When you have a good job and you’re taking care of yourself and your child, that’s the best feeling ever.”

When you give to the Holiday Fund, you are part of the amazing work of Family Connections. Thank you for helping build a greater New Jersey!