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POSTINGS | Spring 2022 edition

News & Events

that you don't want to miss!

New this year...

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In January, The National Council for Mental Wellbeing selected PEI Kids to provide Teen Mental Health First Aid (tMHFA) training for teens in Ewing High School (EHS) as part of a two-year statewide initiative.

TMHFA is an evidence-based training program for teens in grades 10-12 that teaches them how to identify, under-stand and respond to signs and symptoms of suicide risk, mental health and substance use challenges among their friends and peers. Each participating youth completes over six hours of training with PEI Kids' staff to become a Certified tMHFA responder.

Since 2015, Mercer County has experienced an alarming trend of increasing youth suicides, suicidal ideation and self-harm attempts. Suicide remains the third leading cause of death for youth age 10-24 in New Jersey*, and Mercer is among the top 3 counties with the highest rates of suicide attempts and self inflicted injuries statewide.

Consistent with PEI Kids' role as a community leader in child safety and well-being, we immediately saw the tMHFA initiative as a strategic fit with the agency's mission. PEI Kids’ programs help children at a crossroads working through some of the most tumultuous times in their lives. "Through this project, we're able to respond to an emerging need by proactively addressing the mental health challenges and social-emotional needs our youth may be facing as they return to the social environment following the stressors of the COVID pandemic," explained Prevention Director, Erika Hillman.

Thanks to our dedicated Prevention team, we're providing workshops for over 220 EHS 11th-graders who will become certified in tMHFA. Way to go, Prevention team!

*Source: 2016 Suicide Report by New Jersey Division of Children & Families.

Did You See Our Virtual Valentine Concert?


On Friday, February 11, PEI Kids held its first fundraising event of 2022 -- Virtual Valentine Concert: A Celebration of Love & Friendship.

Friend-to-the agency and WW-P high-school senior, Aishwarya "Aisha" Rao, produced the concert which was the centerpiece of this event and featured performances from kids around the U.S.

Executive Director, Roz Dashiell explains, "The kids were so generous with their talent and in their enthusiasm to support the was truly heart-warming to see!"

The Virtual Valentine Concert raised over $4,000 for PEI Kids and helped cover the cost for us to gift Valentine Swag Bags to each of the kids in our intervention programs. The Swag Bags included school supplies, a quality, age-appropriate gift, and ready-for-school essentials, including a branded 48" Eco Fashion Umbrella and PEI Kids' signature "Got Purpose?" warm winter hoodie.

If you missed this event, you can still support it with your donation or by covering the cost of a kid's Swag Bag. You can also see a selection of performances from the concert.

It's Back...Save The Date!

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When: Friday, October 14, 2022 | 6:00 - 8:30 PM

Where: Trenton-Mercer Airport | Signature Flight Support Hangar

Click here for event information

"We'll see you at the hangar!"

Building on Our Good Work!

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On January 26 PEI Kids received a new funding award from the State of NJ, Office of the Attorney General (OAG) through its Community-Based Violence Intervention (CBVI) Program. The CBVI Program supports communities impacted by higher than average rates of violence.

In the funding request, PEI Kids proposed expanding its DOJ-funded Council Against Youth Violence project which provides services for youth victims of violence in the greater Trenton area. With support from the OAG grant, we are now be able to provide onsite violence-prevention services at two of Trenton's schools -- Grace Dunn and Munoz Rivera middle schools.

The project is led by Juvenile Intervention Services Director, Rob Fiorello, with support from a newly-hired team including Dan Winter, Assistant Director of CBVI programs (pictured above). Together, they lead a team of 6 staff providing onsite group programming for middle-school students as well as after-school violence prevention and safe-passage support at dismissal time when students are at greatest risk of peer and community violence.

"We've established meaningful partnerships with Trenton Public Schools over the past five years and this is a natural progression of the work we've been doing," explains Fiorello.

The CBVI funding has also allowed PEI Kids to expand its counseling services and offer clinical counseling for youth experiencing grief, loss, trauma, anger, or other emotional or mental health effects resulting from exposure to violence.

Executive Director, Roz Dashiell explains, "This funding allows us to bring a more robust response to the increased need we're seeing among our youth this schoolyear following their return from COVID stay-at-home orders" adding, "...thankfully, our kids no longer have to struggle with these challenges in isolation."

Board Notes

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Recently, we welcomed three trustees to our Board:

  • Carolyn Amrein, executive at The LEGO Group, she's also a member of 100 Women Bridging Hope;
  • Andrew Lee Ro, career logistics professional in the education sector, he works with New Hope-Solebury School District; and
  • Deborah Norton, a published researcher and licensed mental health counselor, she's in private practice.

In other trustee news, Board President, Margaret Chipowsky Esq., was a two-day Jeopardy champion appearing on the shows which aired March 21st & 22nd. Way to go, Margaret!

We'd also like to shout-out...

  • Trustee, Nancy Fennelly and Fennelly Associates Inc., for receiving the 2022 Companies that Care Award from Commerce magazine; and
  • Trustee/Co-Treasurer, Craig Hubert, Esq., for making US News & World Report's 2022 listing of The Best Lawyers in the U.S.

Our board rocks!

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PEI Kids is dedicated to promoting and maintaining a safe environment for all children.

PEI Kids works with the child, family, and caregiver to provide prevention, intervention and advocacy programs relating to personal safety, sexual abuse, and the overall well-being of the child.