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 Congratulations Dee!


EmPoWER Somerset board president Doris "Dee" Zampella recently received the Somerset County Outstanding Citizen Award, an honor which has been presented by the Somerset County Business Partnership annually since 1950. This award recognizes individuals whose exemplary volunteer service positively impacts the welfare of the Somerset County community, and who demonstrates creativity, vision, leadership, and citizenship. Dee's service on the EmPoWER Somerset board of trustees certainly exemplifies these qualities! From the entire staff and board, we congratulate and thank Dee for her sharing her time and talents to strengthen our organization and our community!

Coordinated School Health Summit

Think Health!    

On May 7th 80 school health stakeholders came together for the School Health Summit. Celebrating Success: Working Together for Healthy Schools was more than a showcase for work in school health, but as the title suggests it was truly a celebration of some wonderful accomplishments in New Jersey schools. Our keynote speaker, Mr. Gian Paul Gonzalez moved the audience with his personal narrative about being "all in" in whatever you do in life. He was followed by many other powerful speakers who addressed data collection, youth empowerment, parents as champions and school culture and climate. The day of festivities ended with a rousing hip hop presentation from the Joetta Clark Diggs Sports Foundation that got the whole audience kicking off their shoes and breaking a sweat. 

Family Success Center
A community gathering place that brings families together through free events & local activities and connects families to helpful resources in Somerset County... 


Extraordinary Prom Dress Giveaway 


The 2015 "Extraordinary Prom Dress Giveaway" took place at Franklin High School during lunch hours on April 15th and 16th and gave approximately 200 young ladies the opportunity to search through over 400 new and gently used gowns and cocktail dresses from donors spanning all of Somerset County.  Donations were collected over the course of four months at drop-off sites including Franklin High School, the Bridgewater Marriott Hotel, the Salvation Army of Bound Brook, and Raritan Valley Community College.  Affinity Federal Credit Union Foundation also supported the donation effort by promoting the collection among their employees.  

Ladies who attended the giveaway browsed crowded racks while consulting with Sisters in Training for Life (a Franklin HS program) "sales associates" about popular fashion trends.  O nce a young lady selected her favorite garment, S.T.F.L. volunteers hung and bagged the gown, all the while chatting about hair-styles, limos, prom dates, and most joyfully about their new prom attire.   The first 100 students to leave the event with a dress were gifted a goody bag filled with cosmetics provided by Wegmans Food Markets of Bridgewater, NJ.   After the "Extraordinary Prom Dress Giveaway" concluded, remaining dresses were donated to other local drives including "Project Glow" led by Star 99.1 to help match gently-used free formal dresses with young women in need of a prom dress.    "Project Glow" reached an additional 60 local young ladies.     

Contact the EmPoWER FSC for other ways you can help at 908-722-4400 or fsc@empowersomerset.com


    Check out the links below for more 

Family Success Center happenings:

View our   May calendar Event descriptions 



Black Family Unity Night



EmPoWER Somerset, Middle Earth, and the Student Assistance Program at Franklin Township Public Schools recently just completed the state's first cycle of Black Family Unity Night (B-FUN), also known as Strong African-American Families. The program is a 7-week, evidence-based curriculum, designed to strengthen parent/youth communication skills and to increase academic success in youth. The program helps to strengthen parents'/caregivers' ability to find a balance between firm parenting and showing love and helps youth to develop healthy goals for the future.

Sessions include videos, brainstorming, discussions, role-playing, moving activities, and arts and crafts. Nine families from Franklin Township completed the program. Youth stated how they enjoyed making new friends, getting closer with their parents, and learning how to resist temptation and peer pressure. Parents have also adopted "family nights" in their homes and have learned techniques in positive communication with their youth from being a part of the program. B-FUN was a success and the three partnered organizations hope to open the program to the county again in the future!


B-FUN Facilitators (L to R) Ike Onyejiaka,
Raheem Thomas and Abena Dakwahene


On Friday, May 8th, 2015, a pproximately 50 parents, Somerset County Agency Leaders & Community Providers from Early Childhood Education, Healthcare, Special Education, Foster/Adoptive Parents and Parent Educators attended the S omerset County Council for Young Children Kick-Off Breakfast Event at the Somerville Elks in Bridgewater, NJ.   Project Coordinator, Patty Haase provided an  overview of the goals and purpose of the  Somerset County Council for Young Children  and Deborah Johnson, NJ Regional Early Childhood Education Specialist from the Department of Children & Families (DCF) provided additional comments about the NJ County Council for Young Children. Community Childcare Solutions of Somerset & Middlesex Counties co-sponsored this event and Director Mary Jane DiPaolo provided opening remarks.

The Somerset County Council for Young Children is currently being formed with a first meeting anticipated in early June.  Interested parents and community leaders are invited to request a membership application by contacting Patty Haase at patty@empowersomerset.com or 908-722-4400.  The SCCYC will bring together parents and service providers to focus on the needs of families with children from birth to age 8, looking at programs and services currently offered in the community and making recommendations for addressing gaps in service and adding new programs that may be identified as beneficial to the target population. The SCCYC is funded by a grant from the NJ Department of Children & Families.  EmPoWER Somerset is the lead agency for administering the grant through the EmPoWER Family Success Center.    

       2014 Annual Report  

We invite you to view EmPoWER Somerset's 2014 annual report detailing our diverse programs and services including Coordinated School Health, EmPoWER Family Success Center, Safe Communities Coalition and a spectrum of evidence-based prevention education programs.


Our Mission:   EmPoWER Somerset assists individuals and families in making positive lifestyle choices and fosters healthy, drug free communities through education, collaboration, and linkages to resources.