Winter 2016
In This Issue 

Dean's Corner
With each new year, the team at Bergen's Promise looks forward to all the new opportunities and possibilities that unfold to the benefit of our youth and families.

We are preparing for the unveiling of two different, but equally exciting developments in the Spring.   First, we are growing our team even further as the number of children and families we serve continues to increase.  To that end, we will be opening a second office in Hackensack. 

We are thrilled to announce the launch of Bergen ResourceNet.  This user friendly web portal will be the centralized depot to find and learn about all health and wellness resources for youth and families in towns throughout Bergen County.  If you are ever wondering if a certain program or service exists near you, or what's going on in YOUR town for youth/families, then the Bergen ResourceNet will be an invaluable tool for you!

Stay tuned for details and the Bergen ResourceNet launch this Spring! 

Dean Pastras, ACSW, LCSW
Executive DirectorNEW

What's New at Bergen's Promise?
Do you know someone between the ages of 12 and 21 that 
thinks they know everything there is to know about drugs and alcohol?

Now's the time for them to CHECK YOUR FACTS!

The week of January 25th marks National Drug & Alcohol Facts Week sponsored by the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA). Bergen's Promise will run a campaign geared toward youth ages 12-21 that provides a quick exploration into what they know and don't know about drugs and alcohol.

Each day throughout the last week of January, we will post a trivia question related to drugs and/or alcohol on the news page of our website. When the youth submits an answer to the question, they will be given an explanation of the answer, links to useful resources to explore more about that topic. They will also have the opportunity to see how their answer compared to their peers that also completed the question.

If you are a teenager or young adult or know someone who might enjoy playing the CHECK YOUR FACTS trivia this week, please forward and/or keep checking our news page each day for the trivia question of the day! 
Bringing Holiday Cheer to DCPP Youth!

The spirit of giving filled two Children's System of Care partners this holiday season.  Bergen's Promise and the Department of Child Protection and Permanency (DCPP) collaborated to donate toys to DCPP youth ages 1-16 years old.

Bergen's Promise placed 72 "Giving Ornaments" on the wall of our lunchroom for a two week period.  Our team members went 'above and beyond' by contributing many more gifts than the tags noted. This toy drive was especially meaningful since our two agencies share a significant number of youth.

Volunteering our time, talent and treasure provides a sense of fulfillment and happiness, high morale and overall greater satisfaction in life. Studies even show physical and emotional health benefits associated with being charitable, such as reduced rates of stress, and lower blood pressure*.

*Source: Mccoy, Mary. Top 10 Benefits of Charitable Giving and Donations.  MoneyCrashers. Retrieved 12 7 15   kendra  
Bergen's Promise Team Gives to Others in Meadowlands Basket Brigade

Bergen's Promise team members volunteered at the 2015 Meadowlands Basket Brigade which helped put a Thanksgiving feast on the table of hundreds of families in Bergen County. On November 22nd, the Bergen's Promise team comprised of staff and their family members, worked alongside over 100 other volunteers in the warehouse of Friendship House, Hackensack to assemble Thanksgiving food trays. 

The group was energized by D.J. music while assembling the care packages consisting of a 10 lb. turkey, stuffing, potatoes, gravy, corn, green beans, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, a pumpkin pie, and Hershey kisses. As the last trays were wrapped, the team members got to do 'The Cha-Cha Slide' among other dances to round out the morning.  Some of the teams also volunteered to deliver baskets to families throughout the county.


The amount of support was so overwhelming for this event that organizers had to turn away volunteers. The event is always held the weekend before Thanksgiving so consider becoming a part of the Basket Brigade in the future! KARA

Celebrating Hope, Celebrating Progress 
Positive Story: Kara

Kara is a 17-year-old girl w ho embraced the Child and Family Team approach and learned about tools to help shift her mindset about many things in her life. She was able to experience successes on her road to  recovery from alcohol and substances.
To watch more stories about our youth's success, visit our Progress Story Page.

We hope that YOU will consider letting us share YOUR story sometime in the future! fsofamily1

For Families By Families            
Family Support Organization of Bergen County
Wraparound in Action...

Wraparound is a term familiar to many of us involved with the NJ Children's System of Care (CSOC). The National Wraparound Initiative* includes the following in its definition of the Wraparound Process: "It is a planning process that brings people together from different parts of a whole family's life."  We at the Family Support Organization of Bergen County (FSOBC) are grateful to our many partners in the Wraparound Process.

This Family Corner in this newsletter is an example of the collaborative process between FSOBC and Bergen's Promise in our joint work with families. Additionally, Bergen's Promise has partnered on providing workshop presentations and in advertising other FSOBC events. Most importantly, Bergen's Promise and FSOBC staffs are members together with families on Child and Family Teams.

Other community partners have been vital in the Wraparound Process throughout the year. A special note of appreciation to the staff of Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation of Saddle Brook, Flames of Giving and Safilo USA employees.  These organizations' generosity provided holiday gifts to several families. ShopRite cards donated by Denise Guilbert made for bountiful holiday meals for several families. The regular food donations from Tasty Bagel in Saddle Brook and Domenica's Eatery in Fair Lawn are also appreciated.

The presenters of workshop programs at the FSOBC have offered a great opportunity for families and staff to learn and grow together. These include...
  • Erica Arrieta, and Tara Christensen, Interns, Bergen County Division of Family Guidance Adolescent and Family Treatment
  • Lucien Duquette, Ph.D. 
  • Lismary Espinal, BS, CHES, Health Educator, Englewood Health Department of Health 
  • Sue Heguy, LCSW, CarePlus NJ, Clinician and Trainer
  • Ellen Indoe, MA, CHES, and Amy Faus MPH, CPH, CHES, Wellness Educators, Bergen's Promise Behavioral Health Home
  • Bill Lillius, a Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey 
  • Lydia Mejia, Navigator, Kinship Care Services, a program of CarePlus NJ 
  • Scott Rossig, M.Ed, BCBA and Zach Ikkanda, M.S. Ed, BCABA, AIM Positive
  • Ellen Taner, MA, State and National Parenting Family Education Trainer and Advocate

We are grateful and truly appreciate the collaborative efforts of our many partners as we put Wraparound In Action

Wellness News You Can Use
Health/Wellness Educators Present "Winter Wellness: Without the Scale"

Wellness is more than just a number on a scale, it is taking a holistic approach to being in good health both physically and emotionally. 

Amy Faus and Ellen Indoe, Health/Wellness Educators for Behavioral Health Home,
gave a presentation at the Family Support Organization educating parents on the eight dimensions of wellness.  They taught practical techniques to promote health and wellness at home throughout the winter. 

The Eight Dimensions of Wellness
Wellness Tips for Yourself and Children During a Divorce or Separation 

Tips for Parents

The end of a marriage can be a stressful, overwhelming time. During a divorce or separation it is more important than ever to take care of  yourself and your wellbeing. Try some of the following small steps to help take care of yourself during divorce:
  • Use your friends and family for comfort and assistance. Studies show that a strong social support network can help people handle stress better.
  • Join a formal support group or program. A list of support groups by County can be found at the New Jersey Self-Help Group Clearinghouse website.  Parents can participate in The Center for Alcohol and Drug Resources' Children In Between, a one-hour session that helps parents to focus on their role as a parent without putting their children in the middle of conflict.
  • Exercise regularly. It may seem simple, but regular exercise can help manage stress and promote a more overall positive wellbeing.
Tips to help Children 

The wellbeing of children can be a big concern for parents who are going through a separation or divorce. Parents who are sensitive to their child's needs and can set aside their differences are more likely to help their children deal better with the separation. The following are tips parents can do to help their children cope with divorce:
  • Encourage your child to express their feelings. Really listen to what they have to say without getting defensive. Let them be honest about how they feel.
  • Give reassurance. Let them know you love them unconditionally, and the divorce is not their fault.
  • Provide stability. Adjusting to change can be difficult. Provide as much stability and structure as possible in their daily lives.
  • Enroll them in a formal support group or program. CarePlus' On the Mend is one group for children dealing with their parents' divorce. West Bergen Center for Children and Youth offers a divorce program for youth and their families. 
For more information: 
Healthy Divorce: How to Make Your Split As Smooth As Possible American Psychological Association. Retrieved 12 29 15
Divorce and Children American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Retrieved 12 29 15

Resources for Family Health and Wellbeing 
Keeping Your Family Safe and Warm Through the Winter 

Along with the drop in temperatures comes the unexpected rise in home heating bills.  Be Prepared!  YOU MAY BE ELIGIBLE for home energy financial assistance!  

Click the links of the programs below to see the requirements of eligibility and access the applications. Some of these offers may be time sensitive and require submission of different forms of documentation with the applications so don't delay! 
  • TRUE (Temporary Relief of Utility Expenses) 
  • PAGE (Payment Assistance for Gas & Electric)    The application can be completed online.  Greater Bergen Community Action can help you complete the application. Call 201-968-0200 x7008.  
    TRUE and PAGE were established to provide relief on natural gas and electric bills for low to moderate income New Jersey households who are experiencing a temporary financial crisis. Eligible applicants cannot be receiving or be eligible for a Universal Service Fund (USF) benefit or a Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) benefit. 
  • LIHEAP (Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program) 
NJ Shares provides assistance to households in need of temporary help paying their energy bills due to a financial crisis. Applicants must have a history of good-faith payments with their energy company and not be eligible for LIHEAP, USF, TRUE or PAGE programs. Call 866-657-4273 and/or click here to identify and contact your local intake agency.

There are many other types of help available - check the NJ Board of Public Utilities webpage to learn about other options. 
It's just around the corner!  Choosing the Right Summer Camp

It may be cold outside, but summer camp is just around the corner. There are many camp options available.

To find the best fit for your child, keep in mind your child's age, needs and interests, as well as practical factors such as cost, duration and location. Also consider the following to help make the best decision for you and your child.

1. Type of Camp:
2. Duration of Camping Experience:

Camps can vary from overnight sleepaway to day camps. Camps can be less than a week, or up to 8 weeks. It is important to assess your child's emotional and physical needs when deciding the length of stay.

3. Check Out a 2016 Summer Camp Directory

4. Visit the Camp's website

Visit a potential camp's website. Some camps also have year round staff that you can call if you have any questions. Ask if there are any previous camp parents you could talk to as a reference.

5. Contact the Children's System of Care

The Children's System of Care (CSOC) may be able to provide financial support toward summer camp tuition for eligible youth. The window of opportunity to apply for financial assistance is time-sensitive.  Please frequently check  PerformCare's summer camp webpage  for new updates regarding the 2016 Summer Camp Season. 

For more information:
Summer Camps for Kids with Special Needs Retrieved 1 5 16
2016 Guide to Choosing the Best Summer Special Needs Camp Retrieved 1 5 16
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Bergen's Promise
218 Route 17 North, Suite 304
Rochelle Park, NJ 07662
Phone: (201) 712-1170 | Email: