Category Archives for "News & Announcements"

Take Control of Your Finances with the Help of ULEC’s Financial Opportunity Center

It’s every person’s dream to be financially free, and Anthony Bygrave is proof that it can be done. With the help of the Urban League of Essex County (ULEC) Financial Opportunity Center, Bygrave went from unemployed and discouraged to financially independent and inspiring. 

After losing his job as a forklift operator in July 2015 and facing unemployment, Bygrave found himself in need of assistance. He was referred to ULEC by a family friend and after attending some initial training sessions and meeting with a financial coach, Kamilla Johnson, his life quickly changed for the better.

Bygrave increased his credit score by 90 points, opened both checking and saving accounts, moved into an apartment on his own, purchased a used car, and decreased his debt by more than $11,000. 

He now feels financially independent, thanks to the services provided by ULEC and Johnson. Bygrave’s success story serves as an inspiration to others looking to take control of their finances. Here’s what she has to say about her client’s achievements: 

“I am elated every time a client commits to coaching and reaches their goal; I feel privileged to be a change agent in the process,” she said. “However, I constantly remind my clients that they are the masters of their own lives, and I am just a facilitator helping them.”

Will you give ONE donation this year and support the work of ELEVEN critical agencies like ULEC? Visit holidayfund.org and select ‘donate’.

Original story taken from nj.com

Thanksgiving at Nutley Family Service Bureau

Ever wonder what Thanksgiving for 200 would look like? Look no further than Nutley Family Service Bureau (NFSB).

Each year, NFSB gives away gift baskets filled with food for a traditional Thanksgiving dinner. This is a benefit of clients who are enrolled in their pantry services.

This year, NFSB plans to provide traditional meals to more than 200 individuals. The baskets will include items like turkey, stuffing, potato mix, and more.

Here’s what Pantry Assistant Manager Joan Roake said of the experience:

“Nothing is more gratifying or exciting than being a Pantry volunteer leading up to Thanksgiving and throughout the holiday season. We can always use more hands, even after hours for people who are unavailable during the day. It’s a great way to see the difference we make in the community.”

Whether you volunteer in a pantry, kitchen, or agency office, you can use your skills for the greater good all year round. Have you ever volunteered during the Thanksgiving season? Share your experience below!

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

When a caring teacher advocates for the kids in her classroom, change occurs.

Noticing that 4-year-old Kyle was wandering off during large or small group activities and struggling with directives, Newark Day Center teacher, Ms. Osborne, made observations and took notes on Kyle’s behaviors. Soon after, she brought her concerns to the family workers, social worker, and eventually the parents, who were encouraged to speak with the child study team of Newark Public School. These pros set Kyle on a new path–one that includes an IEP.

An IEP, Individual Education Program/Plan, is a written plan that describes the programs and special services a student is required to follow in order to be successful. Kyle’s IEP recommended that he receive educational, speech, and occupational therapy assessments and an autism consultation.

These accommodations were implemented and, after time, Ms. Osborne reports that Kyle was improving more every day and beginning to communicate and interact more. In all, the IEP process was a success as it helped Kyle and his family prepare for grade school.

Hats off to the staff of Newark Day Center who were able to help get Kyle on track with his learning and child development.🙌

Mental health has now reached crisis mode

Unfortunately, it seems that it took a global pandemic for people to start seeing mental health as equal to physical health.

Carolyn Beauchamp, president, and CEO of the Mental Health Association in New Jersey says, “Until the pandemic, people saw mental health and physical health separately. I think that’s shifting because of COVID-19. People are much more aware of depression and anxiety.”

And yet, the resources are inadequate. Just to name a couple of concerns:

  • The system of care is limited with too few centers and clinics.
  • Society at large is lacking an understanding of what it means to have a mental health problem.
  • New Jersey is ill-equipped to help those seeking counseling or psychiatric help, with extended wait times and limited resources.
  • The number of trained individuals in the field of mental health is not on par with the demand.

Although mental health has been a concern for decades, it has now reached crisis mode. It has impacted enough of our everyday institutions that it can’t be ignored. Says Beauchamp:

“The [mental health] crisis has gone on for more than two years and it’s not going to go away. It hits every aspect of our society, from school, to work, to all kinds of things. I think the opportunity is now and I think the chance of making change is now.”

Will you be a part of the change?

You can leave a legacy in New Jersey and help to make an impact on the ongoing mental health crisis when you donate to the Holiday Fund.

Learn more when you visit holidayfund.org.

How Hank turned his life around

After losing his job and his marriage, Hank had hit rock bottom.

When he came to Jewish Family Services (JFS) for treatment, he was struggling with severe depression. He lacked secure housing, money, and basic necessities.

Hank had walked through most of his life with untreated bipolar disorder, which made his isolation, unhappiness, and suicidal ideations a serious concern.

When JFS Case Management Services stepped in, things took a turn for the better. They helped Hank obtain:

  • An apartment
  • Credit counseling
  • Psychiatric services
  • Prescription assistance
  • Therapy

Now, Hank has gradually shown signs of mood improvement, an interest in socializing, and has a full-time job!

Like Hank, many of us have needed help obtaining services that put us back on our brightest path.

Which person or service has helped steer you on your journey?

Linda’s Story

Meet Linda.

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Just 18 years old, pregnant, and homeless, Linda thought her only option was to drop out of school. She was lost and overwhelmed.

Seeking clarity, she went to Family Connections, and the people she met there helped her find another way. 

She stayed in school, eventually got 2 jobs, and found her own place to stay. 

She even made the Dean’s 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.”

The Holiday Fund Impact

When you give to the Holiday Fund, you are part of the amazing work of Family Connections because your gift goes directly to brightening the future of more people like Linda.

I believe that the best charity is local.

People around you, maybe even people you’ve seen before, are benefiting because of your gift. 

It’s real. 

It’s transformative. 

And it’s happening no matter how big or small a gift you give.

Today, please give generously to Greater Newark Holiday Fund so we can continue supporting all our wonderful partner agencies.

Healing from assault: Delilah’s story

Delilah has had a turbulent relationship with love throughout her life.

When she was a little child and was abandoned in the care of another family before being taken back by her mother a few years later.

Recently, she got in touch with the Family Service League (FSL) because her pastor had been manipulating and assaulting her, all in the name of spiritual healing.

Now, through weekly meetings at FSL, Delilah has been finding her voice and regaining control of her life.

We’re thankful for the stellar agencies we partner with, like FSL and others who are making a difference in people’s lives every day.

Original story taken from NJ.com

The Family Service Bureau’s impact in 2021

In the Newark area and in need of a telehealth therapy session? Or in-person?

The hybrid treatment model of the Family Service Bureau (FSB) provides both kinds of services and helps maintain attendance and client engagement. This innovative approach has allowed FSB to serve almost 5,000 people through individual therapy sessions in 2021.

When you donate today at holidayfund.org, you help agencies like FSB provide one-on-one help to our neighbors in need. Would you consider helping them and 10 other agencies continue their critical work by generously today?

Learn more about the Family Service Bureau, a branch of the New Community Corporation, in this annual report.

One Reason a Group of Lawyers Plays Softball For New Jersey Kids

It’s a lot of softball to play – and money to pay – for one day.

In 2019, Barry Carter of NJ.com profiled – of all things – a group of rival law firms playing friendly softball games where the rules are slightly strange.

If a player strikes out, causes a double play, or gives up a home run, they pay $125. If they give up a grand slam, the price is $500.

And when eight law firms and lawyers from Prudential play this game for six hours, they can net anywhere from $70,000 to $100,000.

Where does this money go, you ask? 

It goes to sending city kids from the Greater Newark area to camp through the Fresh Air Fund.

How the Giving Tradition Began

For over 30 years, lawyers in New Jersey have organized the annual Battle of the Barristers Charity Softball Tournament.

The tradition began with two law firms, Gibbons and the then-Robinson, Wayne, and Greenberg, who played a friendly match simply for bragging rights. 

The losers would treat the winners to drinks after each game until they realized, what if we paid it forward instead?

Enter the Fresh Air Fund, an initiative of the Newark Day Center. Michael Griffinger, 83, senior director with Gibbons, recalls the days when only lawyers played, and the umpires were federal judges.

“None of the lawyers would fight with the judges, because they would have to see them in court the next day,” he laughed.

Today, the tournament has grown to encompass employees from other departments, a variety of other firms, and even Prudential. 

Hundreds of Kids Sent to Camp

Every summer, some 200 to 400 kids benefit from the great outdoors due to the funds raised by the Battle of the Barristers. 

That’s a lot of kids, and a lot of time well spent.

Newark Day Center is just ONE of the ELEVEN charities that the Greater Newark Holiday Fund supports. No matter where you come from, we are grateful for your contribution. And when you partner with the Holiday Fund, your gift is funneled across all 11 charities.

Head to our giving page and show your support today. Talk with your coworkers, friends, and family members about pitching in. Every amount sends a message of support.

5 Tips for Raising a Teenager Struggling with Mental Illness

Mental illness is a growing problem in the United States, with one in five people suffering from a mental health disorder at some point in their lives. For teenagers, the statistics are even more alarming, as one in four suffers from a mental illness. 

The good news is that early diagnosis and treatment can make a big difference in the long term outcome for these young people. So how do you go about raising a teenager with mental illness? 

5 Tips for Raising a Teenager Struggling with Mental Illness

1. Create a support network. 

Make sure you have a support network of family and friends who can help you care for your teenager.

2. Get professional help. 

Make sure your teenager is seeing a therapist or psychiatrist who can help them get on track with treatment.

Need mental health support? For professional, confidential assistance, contact one of our partner agencies, like Family Service League.

3. Encourage treatment. 

Make sure your teenager is taking their medication and attending all therapy appointments.

4. Be positive. 

Try to keep your expectations for your teenager positive, even when they are struggling.

5. Be patient. 

Raising a teenager with mental illness can be challenging, but your patience and care will demonstrate a high level of love and care. Be patient and never give up on them.

In the US, 1 in 4 teens suffer from mental illness. The good news is that early diagnosis and treatment can make a big difference in the long term outcome for these young people. Seek help today.  Click To Tweet

A RESOURCE TO HELP YOU RAISE TEENS 

In his book, The Teenage Brain: A Neuroscientist’s Survival Guide to Raising Adolescents and Young Adults, renowned neurologist Dr. Frances E. Jensen offers a revolutionary look at the brains of teenagers, dispelling myths and offering practical advice for teens, parents and teachers.

This book will provide insight into the teenage mind whether or not they have been diagnosed with a mental illness. 

The science is presented by Dr. Jensen in the contexts of daily learning and multitasking, stress and memory, sleep, addiction, and decision-making. He compiles the knowledge we have about the function, wiring, and capacity of the adolescent brain. These discoveries also produce helpful recommendations that will aid adults and teenagers in navigating the perplexing world of adolescent development in this ground-breaking yet approachable book.

Consider this book of you’re raising teens—whether or not they’ve been diagnosed with a mental illness. It’s been called a “must-read” for parents, teachers, school nurses, and many others who live with or interact with teens.

Gain access to even more book recommendations on mental health when you download our free ebook today.

Will you consider donating to the Greater Newark Holiday Fund? Your support helps our agency partners provide hope and healing to individuals and families during the season of greatest need.

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