Fall  2017
In This Issue 

  Dean's Corner

As part of our strategic planning for 2018, we identified four critical areas which will receive increased focus, dedication, and expertise in our Wraparound Care Management: 


Substance disorders

Integrated healthcare

Developmental disabilities  

Each critical area now has a designated liaison from our leadership team:
  • Christa Ten Cate, Director of Care Management, who has been with the Agency over 11 years, is the liaison for our partners in Education.  
  • Crystal Wytenus, Director of Care Management, who retains a Licensed Clinical Alcohol and Drug Counselor credential, is the liaison for our partners in Substance disorders.  
  • Jan Schlaier, Director of Health Services, an advanced Nurse Practitioner, is the liaison for both the integrated health and developmental disabilities areas.  

Each liaison will focus on improving our service delivery via relationships with community partners through expertise, collaboration, training, metrics and outcomes.  We are excited to share this strategic improvement focused initiative.

Dean Pastras, ACSW, LCSW 
Executive Director New

  What's New at Bergen's Promise?
Level of Service

We are currently serving 1,000  youth with 49  of those youth presently enrolled in Behavioral Health Home services as of 10/30/2017.
School Supply 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 all the way through 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:
Judy Forman, Bergen County resident

Bergen's Promise Named Finalist at NWI Academy Awards

For the second straight year, Bergen's Promise received an award at the National Wraparound Implementation (NWI) Academy Awards. This year, the  award was for "Innovations In Wraparound." Shelisa Foster, Director of Operations, and Crystal Wytenus, Director of Care Management, were on hand to accept the award.

Below is Shelisa along with  Eric Bruns and Janet Walker, Co-Directors of the National Wraparound Initiative, along with the Baltimore Orioles mascot, the Wraparound Turtle mascot, and DelMar, the stuffed turtle puppet.

Having Fun with Kids and Families at the PediatriCare Associates 
Annual  Flu Carnival!

In September, PediatriCare Associates hosted their Annual Flu Carnival. Bergen's Promise was in attendance with an exhibit table as we've shared approximately 100 youth with PediatriCare Associates. This event is a way to get children vaccinated before the flu season. Fun family activities included music, games, face-painting, balloons and a photo booth. Parents also had access to information booths about local wellbeing resources for families! 

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) and hosted an exhibit table. 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 seven hours!
Celebrating Recovery

Bergen's Promise participated in this year's Concert and Recovery Walk held by New Jersey Recovery Advocates at Liberty 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, one mile scenic walk, as well as an outdoor concert. 
Thank You to Our Staff Appreciation Event Donors

Bergen's Promise would like to thank the following community partners and local businesses that helped make our staff appreciation event held on October 20th a huge success!

All Star Counseling Palermo's Bakery and Cafe
Asun Star Pirelli Clinical and Forensic Psychology
BubbaBakes Practical Therapy Network
Carlo's Bakery Prasada In Home
Creating Change, LLC The Ridgewood Man
Dave's Deli
EDNI Counseling Services
Stray Cat Brew
Empower U
Ted's Deli
The Center for Family Wellness
Inspire the Youth
Trader Joe's
Maywood Pancake House
Rachel Garduce
Orkeem Davis


Behavioral Health Home News  
Welcoming Dr. Samwel Marwa to our Bergen's Promise Family!
Samwel Marwa, a doctor in his homeland of Tanzania, was an intern with our Behavioral Health Home (BHH) Program. Through his involvement with the BHH team, he learned about our approach to integrated care and obtained a different perspective on social norms and our U.S. healthcare system. Dr. Marwa was happy to share his experiences during his time with Bergen's Promise this summer:

"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 BHH program in early June under my preceptor, Amy Faus, MPH, CPH, CHES. 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 my experience at Bergen's Promise back home to 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 the food insecurities project will be utilized to improve care for kids with malnutrition."

Positive Story
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."

 Click here to learn from some of our other youth sharing their stories.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.Providers

Other Important News...
Welcome to our Newest Providers:
Thank you for partnering with us to serve the children and families of Bergen County! Click on the links below to learn more about their services.
Need to Find Local Resources to Support/Refer Families?
BergenResourceNet.org is your Mobile Resource Directory!

Adding a shortcut to BergenResourceNet onto your phone's home screen allows for one-click access to  resources across the 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 then select "Add to Home Screen".

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


Bergen ResourceNet helps connect families and those working with families 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.   Search results directly link users 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!


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