January/February 2016  e-Newsletter 

Happy New Year! We want to take this opportunity to  wish you a safe and prosperous 2016 and thank you for your continued support. Here's what's happening at PEI Kids...
Practical Support Strengthens Families
Each year, PEI Kids' Support Services department -- lead by Program Director, Theresa McMonagle -- provides essential and supportive services for children in foster care and families referred by the Division of Child Protection & Permanency (DCPP).

Consistent with our mission to promote and maintain a safe environment for all children, PEI Kids' Support Services aim to ensure that children have the opportunity to grow and thrive in a safe, stable, and supportive environment by providing the practical support that families sometimes need to make this goal a reality.  Services such as transportation, supervised visitation, and referral/connection to community resources are vital components that PEI Kids provides in the network of support available for DCPP clients. 

Transportation Plus
Lack of transportation poses a real challenge especially for low-income households with limited resources. Through our Transportation Plus program, PEI Kids provides over 30,000 miles of assisted transportation each year for children in foster care and their family members. This critical support removes barriers for vulnerable children and families to access quality services. 

Transportation needs frequently take our staff beyond Mercer County --requiring travel to northern and southern New Jersey, Philadelphia, and Bucks County (PA) -- to enable children and families to access a range of needed services.
By providing safe and reliable transportation, we also help ensure that children in foster care attend important appointments, receive medical treatment and evaluations; benefit from therapeutic and specialized services; and participate in community-based programs. We also provide transportation for children to visit with biological family members, and for family members to participate in important assessments and court-mandated activities. 

Supervised Visitation
With the ultimate goal of family reunification and child permanency, our Supervised Visitation program can often make the difference for a struggling family trying to strengthen family bonds and restore family unity. In 2015, while supervising over 1,600 visits between children in foster care and their biological family members, we observed some favorable trends.  
"Over the past year, we observed a noticeable increase in the number of fathers participating in visits with their children," says program coordinator, Carmen Alicea. "In October, 64% of our supervised visits took place between children and biological fathers - often without involvement of the biological mother," she added.  During these visits, young dads share precious moments and work to make family time special through meaningful activities such as
 watching movies with their children, singing along to videos, and taking children on family outings to eateries, a visit to the pet shop, or to the park. PEI Kids' visitation rooms also offer a family-friendly environment with art supplies and child-friendly activities to assist parents in making their visitation time special.

The ultimate goal of our work with DCPP-involved families is to help build stronger families and, whenever possible, support family reunification within a safe, healthy, and nurturing environment. Our Support Services team helps vulnerable children and fragile families through a difficult period by providing practical support that helps stabilize families and strengthen family bonds.   
Eagle Scout Makes Difference for Local Kids 

Pictured (l to r): Eagle Scouts -- Tommy Vite, Lucas Morreale -- PEI Kids' Martina Davidson, Carmen Alicea, and Scout Jake Cseremsak.

Eagle Scouts are required to complete a project which demonstrates the scout's leadership and has benefit to the community. This past summer, Jake Cseremsak, a member of Eagle Scout Troop 1776, began coordinating a toy drive to benefit children in PEI Kids' intervention programs with a goal of collecting 300 new toys for his community project.

Jake began by setting up toy collection stations at Hopewell Municipal Building and Starbucks in Pennington. Inspired by the community support received through this initial effort, Jake arranged for additional toy collection stations at the Starbucks at Mercer Mall, Twirl Toy Shop in Pennington, St. George Greek Orthodox Church in Hamilton, and  Hopewell Valley Central High School.  
"The children we serve are often experiencing the most difficult times in their lives," says PEI Kids' Executive Director Roslyn Dashiell, "and receiving a gift can sometimes be the welcoming gesture that makes them feel safe, valued, and appreciated." Throughout the fall, Jake dropped off toys to PEI Kids as he gathered donations from various stations placed throughout the community.
On December 24th, j
u st in time for Christmas, Jake delivered his final toy drop to PEI Kids collecting a total of 410 toys for project. 

In addition to providing gifts for children during the holiday season, Jake's efforts will enable PEI Kids to provide a gift to every child who enters the agency's intervention programs in 2016.  "We are so grateful to Jake for his thoughtful support. Clearly, he is an impressive young man whose heart is in the right place, and I look forward to seeing Jake doing great things in the future to make a difference in our community," added Dashiell. 

PEI Kids intervention programs help child victims of sexual abuse and support at-risk youth impacted by crime, violence, abuse or neglect. Click here to learn more about PEI Kids' programs and services or visit the website at www.peikids.org.
Get Involved: Have you Thought about Vehicle Donation?

PEI Kids has a small fleet of vehicles in its Transportation Plus program which supports the transportation needs of children in foster care. As our cars age and wear, we are challenged to find affordable ways to replace them with newer, quality vehicles.
This year, we are hoping to replace our 2003 Chevy Impala with a newer, more reliable vehicle. If you know of a person or business interested in donating* a recent-model, low-mileage family car, we would be honored to receive a vehicle donation to support the continuing work of our Transportation Plus program. Thank you!

Get Involved: Holiday Appeal Update
PEI Kids' Holiday Appeal runs through January 31st.  With only a few weeks left, we are more than half-way to our fundraising goal of $32,256, and we need your help . Your donation will help us reach our fundraising goal, and enable us to continue providing uninterrupted services  to children in need at no cost to children or their families.

Give today and help us make a difference in the lives of local children who are counting on your support.   Click  here  to make your tax-deductible contribution*  today!   Thank you.

*Note: All donations to PEI Kids are tax-deductible per IRS regulations governing contributions to 501 (c) 3 nonprofits.
In This Issue
Program Spotlight
Feature Article
Get Involved: Vehicle Donation
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Keep the Children of Mercer County safe. Donate to our Holiday Appeal today!

Thank you for your support! 

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Mission Statement


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.

Thank you notes


In December, PEI Kids was awarded a $5,000 grant from Investors Foundation to support its Crisis Intervention for Child Victims of Sexual Abuse program. PEI Kids also received new grant funding from Tyler Foundation, as well as renewed grant support from Bristol Myers Squib, Lawrence Township Community Foundation, and David Mathey Foundation.  


Thank you to these wonderful community partners who help us continue to make a difference in the lives of vulnerable children and at-risk  youth.