Fall  2017
In This Issue 

  Dean's Corner

Dear families,

The leadership team at Bergen's Promise has been very busy through the fall as part of our strategic planning for 2018.  We are taking steps to strengthen our relationships with our community partners in Education, Substance Treatment, Health Care, and Developmental Disabilities to continue to provide your family with the excellent services and outcomes you deserve, all integrated through the Child and Family Team Process.

We have designated specific members of our leadership team to serve as liaisons for these community partners who are important members of your Child and Family Teams.  This will allow for better communication, planning, expertise, collaboration, staff training, and outcomes - all of which translate to quality care management experiences for your youth and family.  

Wishing you well, 

Dean Pastras, ACSW, LCSW 
Executive Director New

  What's New at Bergen's Promise?
School Backpack Drive Supports  125+ Bergen's Promise Youth

The lead up to the start of the school year can be very exciting. A new year, a fresh start, and plenty of lessons ahead. T hanks to backpack donations many of our youth were able to start the school year off on the right foot. Over 125 backpacks stuffed with notebooks, writing utensils, folders, and more were donated to children served by Bergen's Promise. The children ranged from elementary age to high school. We would like to thank our generous partners that made the first day of a school a little extra special for our Bergen's Promise children and families:

Bergen County Bar Association

Jersey Cares

Supreme Consultants

Judy Forman, Bergen County resident

Celebrating Recovery  
Bergen's Promise participated in this year's Concert and Recovery Walk held by New Jersey Recovery Advocates at Liberty State Park, Jersey City. This event is design ed to celebrate recovery and/or progress towards recovery from substance use.   The theme for this year's event was "Courage to Change: Freedom to Live!"

Miss New Jersey USA 2017, Chhavi Verg, stopped by the Bergen's Promise table. Activities at this event included a banner contest, 1 mile scenic walk, as well as an outdoor concert. 

Next year we want to celebrate with our youth/family members and/or graduates in recovery or progressing in their recovery!  We want our youth  to help design a banner so that we can all walk together!   Mark your calendar for next year!
Bergen's Promise Having Fun with Kids and Families at the PediatriCare Associates Flu Carnival, Fair Lawn

In September, PediatriCare Associates hosted their Annual Flu Carnival.  This event is a way to get children vaccinated before the flu season. Activities included pizza, snow cones, music, games, face-painting balloons and a photo booth. Parents also had access to information booths staffed by local community resources, Bergen's Promise among them.

Members of our Behavioral Health Home team, Jan Schlaier, Director of Health Services and Angeline Osores, Health and Wellness Educator, took advantage of the photo booth (seen above). Dr. Jeffrey Bienstock, who started this annual event five years ago, made sure to stop  by our table as well (see below).  According to Practice Manager, Linda Bleiweiss, this year 931 youth were immunized in 7 hours!   Click here to view highlights from PediatriCare Associates Flu Carnival and the community partners present. 

Words from our Public Health Intern From Tanzania
Samwel Marwa, a doctor in his homeland of Tanzania, served as an intern with our Behavioral Health Home Program this summer. He was happy to share his experiences during his time with Bergen's Promise:

"I'm a Fulbright Scholar from Tanzania and a Masters of Public Health student at Montclair State University. I began my internship with the Bergen's Promise Behavioral Health Home (BHH) program in early June under my preceptor, Amy Faus. I chose to be an intern with the BHH program to gain practical experience and an understanding of how to plan and deliver community health education to diverse groups of people. 

Through face to face visits, I met with youth with special needs and was able to realize how the social determinants of health translate into their health conditions. Moreover, I learned how cultural competence, client centered decision making, and confidentiality are pivotal needs of the service population, without which service delivery could be flawed.

As part of my internship, I also worked on a Food Insecurities Project whereby I did a literature search and outlined local, state-wide and national resources for children living in households with food insecurities. The reviewed literature and resources will then be shared to pediatricians in Bergen County to help them identify children at risk of food insecurities and consequently enable referrals to local support systems.

It's my desire to take all the experiences and good memories from BP back home (Tanzania). I will work with my colleagues to improve our internal communication and meetings, improve proper documentation and use clients' feedback to change our practice, and empower employees and clients to take an active part in organizational decision making. 
Working with BHH sharpened my interpersonal communication skills and health message delivery methodology. All these add up to many positive experiences that I will take with me at the end of my internship. Finally, the insight obtained through food insecurities project will be utilized to improve care for kids with malnutrition."  
Free Event Tickets for Eligible Bergen's Promise Families through bergenPAC!

Special thanks to the Bergen Performing Arts Center (bergenPAC) who has approved Bergen's Promise to receive tickets through the Arts Access Initiative! The Arts Access Initiative is a unique program developed by bergenPAC to make the live performing arts accessible to individuals who have limited financial resources and would otherwise be unable to experience the arts.  If you are a Bergen's Promise family with Medicaid, here is how to take advantage of this for YOUR family:
1.  Event tickets are offered through this initiative each month up to six weeks in advance of a show. All upcoming shows can be viewed on the bergenPAC website, so you know when something you'd like to see is coming up.  Click the Event title to read full details about the show/concert.   

2. Watch your email in the first two weeks of each month for notice of available tickets for upcoming events.  
You have 48-hours once you receive your email to submit your ticket request via this webform  as tickets are available on a first come, first serve basis and may not be available.

3. The tickets are emailed to Bergen's Promise about two weeks before the show.  Your tickets will be emailed to you.   

4.  Transportation may be arranged for you through your Care Manager if it is necessary.

5.  Bergen's Promise families that attend a show are encouraged to share with their Care Manager testimonials, selfies at the show, and thank you cards.  We want to share this gratitude with bergenPAC for this wonderful opportunity.wellness

Wellness News You Can Use
Stress Less, Embrace Change

 Fall is a time of new beginnings for families. The new school year b rings new schedules, new expectations, and new challenges. We often see these changes as sources of stress, but they can actually be great opportunities for growth.  As an agency, Bergen's Promise has been learning about change together, using the book "Who Moved my Cheese" by Spencer Johnson as a guide. Here are some of the things we have learned that can help you and your family thrive during this season of change:

"Change Happens."
We have to accept that we will face change throughout our lives, it is unavoidable.

"Anticipate Change."
We need to prepare for change. When something new is approaching, create a plan for how you will handle it. Talk with your family about upcoming changes so everyone is on the same page about what to expect and what will be expected of them.

"Monitor Change."
We need to stay alert so we are aware when changes are around the corner. This will give us time to prepare and adapt.

"Adapt to Change Quickly."
By quickly adjusting when change occurs we can enjoy the positive aspects of the change without feeling like we lost something that we are trying to hold onto.

"Enjoy Change!"
We should enjoy the adventure and new opportunities that come with change and new beginnings.

"Be Ready to Quickly Change and Enjoy it, Again and Again!"
Remember that change is a constant. We should always be on the lookout for upcoming changes, prepare for them, embrace them, and start looking out for the next change! youth

Words From Our Youth (Youth to Youth) 
Destiny:  A Personal Reflection  from a Bergen's Promise Youth

Written by Destiny R. (17 yo):

"All too well, I remember those dark days beginning in 2013 feeling hopeless as I declared myself as too weak for this life. Consequently dropping out of it and into what would then be an abysmal three year battle with self-mutilation. I remember feeling all alone when my family could be described in no better way than dysfunctional. I remember my chest and how it was too heavy to carry by myself, and I recall the dizziness of my head as I spun in circles trying to find solutions in a world where decisions were not only made by me. Being in and out of residential treatment programs and hospitals since the age of 13, I knew somethings were in desperate need of change and I knew I couldn't do it all by myself. I needed a Team. I am lit up with gratitude to say that with Bergen's Promise and other joined services in my Child and Family team, this was possible.

It is now 2017 and I couldn't be prouder to say that I have gone a little over a year without self-harming. My family life, while progress is still to be made, has been lucrative. I have been alluringly performing well in my academics and I am a National Honors Society member. I have won the strenuous battle of depression and I would award myself a champion.

Now, you may ask how I did this. I accomplished such battles with my own desire and willingness, but even more than just my determination, Bergen's Promise has provided me with the map and directions to a better life. Eltaneilya, my Care Manager, was always there for me. Playing a big role in who I am today. She listened to my request and always did what we all together as a Team thought was best for me. I trusted that no matter what, she knew what would encourage my growth and success. For example, after leaving my last residential, I knew in my heart, it would be in my best interest to return to the school I as attended prior to admission. After open discussion and consideration with my Team, it was agreed upon.

I put my trust and blind faith into my Team even when it was scary. I must say the reward has been significantly greater than if I did not. The support I gained has carried me to the place I am today when I didn't have the strength. For that, I am grateful and I dedicate my story to their support."

Send us a Success Selfie!  

We always want to hear from our families. All the staff at Bergen's Promise enjoy learning about and celebrating any progress/ successes (small or big) that you've experienced through the Wraparound Child and Family Team approach. 

Record a 1-3 minute selfie that let's us know what successes/progress you are celebrating as a result of your Child and Family Team. Email it to  communityresources@bergenspromise.org We will celebrate and share your submission with our team, on our website and/or in future newsletters!

Education Matters
Promoting Educational Progress

Now that your child's school year is well under way, and hopefully going well, here are some thoughts that will help you remain on top of your child's school progress (education).

If your child is having difficulty in school because of learning, behavior, or health difficulties, you can seek assistance from the Intervention and Referral Services Team (I &RS) by making a referral to the team located in your child's school. This team is designed to assist students in general education and those who it has been determined may be in need of special education programs and services. The team will:              
  1. Identify learning, behavior, and health difficulties your child may be experiencing
  2. Collect thorough information on the identified learning, behavior and health difficulties
  3. Develop and implement action plans which provide appropriate school or community interventions or referrals to school and community resources
  4. Provide support, guidance, and professional development to school staff
  5. Actively involve parents or guardians in the development and implementation of intervention and referral services action plans
  6. Review and assess the effectiveness of the provisions of each intervention and referral services action plan
If you feel you need the help of the I&RS team, you should first speak to your child's teacher to discuss your concerns and whether they rise to the level of the team's intervention.  If it does, the teacher will help with the referral to the team's coordinator.  Your Care Manager can also assist you in this process by helping you reach out to the school.

Your child's education and well-being is of the utmost importance to you, so if you do have concerns, don't hesitate to reach out to your school.....they are there to help you and your child.  FSO

For Families By Families                
Family Support Organization of Bergen County (FSOBC)
School Happens!...Now What? 
10 Suggestions for Supporting Your Child's Success

Going back to school is a special time for students whether they are beginning in a new school or returning to their school after a summer full of sun, fun and plenty of outdoor activities! The start of the school gives everyone a great opportunity for a fresh start, however, it may bring a bit of anxiety for you and your child. Who are my teachers? Who will be in my class?  To make the transition a smooth one, focus on the journey being one of friendship, learning and growing. Here are 10 suggestions for you as parents/caregivers to make the experience a positive and productive one!
  1. Energy and momentum starts and continues with caring for yourself. Reserve time on your calendar to take care of yourself. Whether it's yoga, the gym, the mall, the library, lunch with friends, taking time for yourself will ensure you are at your optimum energy level for your family.
  2. Create an atmosphere of positivity. When you show enthusiasm for what school/ learning can mean, your child is more likely to look forward to attending school. Praise your child for the good things he/she has done! Too often we tend to focus on poor performance and behavior.
  3. Prepare your child. He/she may not know what to expect and the uncertainty may cause anxiety. Answer your child's questions honestly. They may want to know the details of how long they'll be at school, what they will be learning, will they make any friends? etc. You will be the person to help ease their anxiety.
  4. Enlist others...don't do it alone! Social resources such as family, friends, and neighbors are key! Having others you are comfortable asking to actively support you and your family when necessary is a need of every parent/caregiver. You won't need many, a few will do.
  5. Develop a feeling of pride in your child's school. Remember learning to like school and loving learning is closely related. Rather than school being a place to "send" your child, make his/her experience a "way of life." Make going to school to learn something special that you will share and benefit from together.
  6. Have a routine. Routines provide structure, a sense of security and a way of organizing your life so that it makes sense to you and your child. Creating a routine can ease anxiety and inform your child about what to expect and what is expected of them each day.
  7. Create learning objectives. Help your child set goals to help them succeed and feel a sense of accomplishment.  When you help your child set learning objectives and you also are engaged, you are a team working towards a common goal of achieving individual and academic success! Some examples are: 
    For a child: 
    • Write down all of your homework assignments,
    • Create your own afterschool schedule (i.e., eat a snack, 15 mins downtime, then start homework.)
    • Review homework with parent/caregiver.
    • Spend 15 minutes a day reading just for fun (books, a newspaper, your choice!) and then discuss during dinner.
    For parents: 
    • Check homework daily, followed by having a conversation with your child asking, "How was your day?" "What was good and maybe not so good?" This will keep the line of communication open with your child as he/she grows. Your actions will show you are supporting them as individuals and at the same time you are helping them to self-advocate.'
    • Check-in with your child's teacher regularly to touch base about how they are doing in school
    • Make regular family visits to the library, which can promote life-long learning and support your child's self-esteem and encourage self-advocacy.
    • Schedule weekly family meetings, and make it a day of the week that everyone is available to discuss the past week and the week ahead.
  8. Be a Good Listener. Take an active interest in what your child tells you about school. Allow them enough time to talk about school and what is happening in their world.  Listen non-judgmentally and remember sometimes "Silence is Golden"!
  9. Engage in the school. Introduce yourself to the teachers and the staff in leadership roles. Set a positive tone by stating you appreciate your partnership in helping nurture and support your child. Join the PTA, volunteer in your child's classroom and volunteer/attend the various social/fundraising events for your school. Working successfully with your school is an important partnership that will help your child fulfill his or her highest potential in the classroom.
  10. Prepare for an Adventure! Plan a fun family adventure that involves change, growth and development. Making time for a special educational outing to share with your child will not only have an impact on how they learn, but will provide happy memories and may be the key to their future success!
FSOBC is a component of the NJ Division of the Children's System of Care (CSOC) within the NJ Department of Children and Families. They provide direct family to family peer support to families enrolled in the Care Management Organization (CMO) for Bergen County, Bergen's Promise. FSOBC workshops and support groups are open to the general public, all programs are free! For more information visit: www.fsobergen.org.google

Have you explored the 'Google' of Bergen County yet?
 Looking for a parenting tool on your phone?
BergenResourceNet.org is your "on-the-go" resource!
Have you recently found yourself doing any of the following?
  • Waiting to pick your child up from a recreation or arts program.
  • Talking to a school teacher or guidance counselor about helpful resources for your child.
  • Looking up local weekend events for your whole family during a lunch break.

If so, downloading the Bergen ResourceNet app onto the home screen of your phone will make it easier to access resources in your community and around Bergen County. 


1.  Go to your phone's web browser.  Type:  www.bergenresourcenet.org 

2.  Click the three-dotted button in the top right corner of the screen and select "Add to Home Screen" from the drop down menu. 


Creating this app can be done both on iPhones and Androids.




Bergen ResourceNet helps connect you to all the health and well-being resources in Bergen County! This mobile and user friendly site is searchable by keyword, and location. Every page is translatable to multiple languages by clicking the flag in the upper right corner of the screen.  Search results directly link you to the full details, contact information, website, flyer, social media page of the resource you are seeking.  

Spread the word to your friends as there are ResourceNets in every County!

Stay Connected with Us!  
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Bergen's Promise
218 Route 17 North, Suite 304
Rochelle Park, NJ 07662
Phone: (201) 712-1170 | Email: communityresources@bergenspromise.org