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       2014 Annual Report    

We are pleased to release 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.




The Somerset County Wellness Committee is partnering with EmPoWER Somerset to sponsor the second annual 5K Race to Wellness for county residents.  The 5K will be held (rain or shine) at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday, March 28, at Duke Farms in Hillsborough.  There is a limit of 600 participants.


The final day to register for the 5K is March 26. No same day registration will be accepted. The total registration fee is $27.50, which is comprised of a $25 race fee and a $2.50 signup fee. Parking will be designated offsite with shuttle buses providing transport to Duke Farms.


 Prizes will be awarded to top finishers.  Proceeds will benefit Somerset County non-profit organizations, including EmPoWER Somerset, Middle Earth, Somerset Home for Temporarily Displaced Children, Somerset County Tourism and Somerset County 4-H.


For more information about the 5K Race to Wellness, contact Sheriff's Officer Lt. Steve San Antonio at (908) 625-5925 or visit


Register HERE!


School Health


The EmPoWER Somerset school health team sits on the Healthier Somerset (HS) Coalition. HS includes for-profit, non-profit, health officers, mental health organizations, county and municipal individuals and others.  It tackles everything from addressing obesity and chronic disease issues, working with policy-makers to create smoke-free parks and complete streets resolutions, encouraging walking and bicycling for recreation and commuting, addressing mental health and substance abuse concerns and involving schools in healthy eating and activity discussions.


We applied for and were awarded a $12,000 grant from ShapingNJ. The areas we chose to spotlight in our grant were adoption of Complete Streets resolutions and accessibility to better nutrition through education and awareness of Farmer's Markets. We chose to work in three contiguous towns; Manville, Bound Brook and Somerville.  In addition to vouchers for the Farmer's Markets, some of the proceeds of our grant will go toward the purchase and installation of bicycle racks in the identified towns.


As part of the grant requirements, we are required to do a monthly blog of our continuing efforts. Please feel free to follow along with our initiative and the other grantees on the blog: 


A new entry is posted each month through September, near the 15th of the month. Happy reading!


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... 


Prom Dress Give Away    

Somerset County Ladies- It's that time again!  Free up space in your closets and help us offset the high cost of prom for local teens.  This year's event will provide prom dresses for over 100 Franklin High School Students at The FHS Extraordinary Prom Dress Giveaway with the Sisters in Training for Life Program.  Please donate your new or gently used dresses and accessories at one of the drop-off locations listed by 4/13/15.

Contact the EmPoWER FSC for other ways you can help at 908-722-4400 or



Our February Little Scientist Family Fun Night was a HUGE success and filled up quickly!  

Click HERE for a photo album from the evening 



    Check out the links below for more 

Family Success Center happenings:

View our  March calendar Event descriptions 


Welcome Patty Haase 

Patty Haase has recently joined the Empower Family Success Center team as Project Coordinator for the Somerset County Council for Young Children (SCCYC) which will focus on meeting the needs of families with children from birth to age 8.  


Patty grew up in Bridgewater & has been working with children & adults for over 20 years as a self-employed Certified ADHD Coach, Educational Advocate & Parent Support Group Facilitator. Patty is also the owner of USA Karate Academy, located in Green Brook for over 14 years, where they are dedicated to helping children of all ability levels build life skills such as confidence, discipline & improved focus & attention. Patty's businesses have been featured many times over the years by the local press and she continues to be an active participant in the Somerset County communities where she lives & works. Patty is the mother of two daughters, both of whom are attending college at this time & is a licensed foster parent with the DCP&P.



EmPoWER Somerset gets staff moving at Piscataway Vo-Tech   




Staff members on the Piscataway Campus of the Middlesex County Vocational and Technical Schools are getting fit while they compete for tasty prizes in a program sponsored by EmPoWER Somerset, which administers state Coordinated School Health Grants for Somerset and Middlesex Counties.


As part of the Staff Step Up Challenge, 87 percent of the faculty and staff -- a total of 75 teachers and secretaries -- have volunteered to wear pedometers to measure their steps each day. The competitors have been divided into five teams, each one headed by a physical education teacher.


At the end of each month, staff members stop by the school nurse's office to log the miles they have registered. The results are tabulated every other month, and the winning team is awarded a prize. So far the prizes have included omelets made to order and delivered to the winners, and free healthy lunches.


Assistant Principal Michael Cappiello, who is coordinating for the school, said team totals have ranged between 150 and 650 miles per month.


"It's all voluntary," he said. "If you visit the school, you'll see a lot of teachers in the hallways with pedometers on their waistbands."


The effort makes the teachers aware of how much - or how little - they walk each day, Cappiello explained. They can continue to log miles at home while exercising or walking the dog, he said..


"Implementing an effective staff wellness initiative benefits the school community in many ways," said Kristen Schiro, director of health and wellness for EmPoWER Somerset. "It promotes better health, improved morale and decreased absenteeism among staff.


"By focusing on improving their own health, school staff serve as positive role models for the students, which increases the school's commitment to creating a healthy environment for students to learn and thrive," she added. "We are thrilled at the progress that Piscataway Vo-Tech has made in their dedication to health."  


Funding for the program is from a federal Maternal and Child Health Block Grant administered through the New Jersey Department of Health's Child and Adolescent Health Program.


 Contact: Kristen Schiro, Director of Health and Wellness, EmPoWER Somerset, (908) 722-4900



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.