Bergen Volunteers Buzz
August 2020
What is the Buzz?
Bergen Volunteers Buzz is our monthly newsletter highlighting organizational news, events, updates, and volunteer opportunities. Look out for our newsletter at the beginning of every month to stay connected with your friends at  Bergen Volunteers!
Without a doubt these are difficult and uncertain times for nonprofits and the clients that we serve. It would be easy to be discouraged and attitudes towards others could be frayed.

Fortunately, as we view the Board, staff, volunteers, and supporters of Bergen Volunteers those negative feelings are far from our reality. Instead we have heard and witnessed a general feeling of optimism and a strong desire to be helpful and caring towards each other and to our community.

As outlined below, our programs remained active even as we instituted appropriate social distancing measures to protect staff, volunteers, and clients. As restrictions are being loosened we are adding back services to be sure we reconnect to those who need us most. 

These positive outcomes should be applauded and we are thankful to each of you for your continued efforts and commitments. We honestly believe that we very well may come out of this unusual period as a stronger organization.

Thanks for caring!

Lee Michelson, Interim CEO
David Warshaw, Board President
Upcoming Events
Program Updates
Bergen LEADS
The Bergen LEADS Class of 2021 will begin our year long adventure in September with the 22 new Bergen LEADers! We are excited to figure out what the future holds in regards to seminar days, guest speakers, site visits, and the class project! Stay tuned!
Volunteers are eager to come back to their clients and they are following the safety protocols sent in early July. We still need more volunteers to help our seniors in Bergen County. We have many people waiting for help with grocery shopping and errands in Fort Lee, Englewood, and Palisades Park. If you, or someone you know, would be interested in helping please click here !
The CHORE program completed its first phase of reopening. Our staff reached out to all of the clients that we installed air conditioning units for last year and offered to install them again this year. Our CHORE volunteers gathered in pairs and finished right before the heatwave! We are currently preparing for Phase 2 in August where volunteers will also install grab bars, replace light bulbs and replace batteries in smoke detectors. Want to get involved and becomm a CHORE volunteer? Learn more here !
The past 4-5 months have been a challenge for many and we are so grateful to our mentors who have continued to support and connect with their mentees. In June, we entered Phase 1 of COVID Mentoring: Curbside Visits, where mentors could visit their mentees outside of their homes. As of August 1, we are entering Phase 2 of COVID Mentoring: Adjacent Mentoring, where mentors can travel in their cars with their mentees and perhaps enjoy a meal outdoors. Bergen Volunteers supports the comfort level of everyone enrolled in our programs.

Our next Mentor Training will be held on Saturday, October 3rd from 9 am - 4 pm. We are in specific need of male volunteers willing to mentor young male teenagers as well as male volunteers willing to mentor Dads. Being bi-lingual in English and Spanish is always a plus. To start the process of becoming a mentor, please fill out the Volunteer Application form here!
Redefining Retirement
The Redefining Retirement team is continuing to connect with its agencies to discuss their reopening plans and when our volunteers might be able to re-engage and support our non-profit needs. We expect a broader reopening across agencies to occur over time, in a controlled, safe manner. For more information about Redefining Retirement e-mail us at or call 201-489-9454 extension 210.
Volunteer Opportunities
A great way to receive information about what is going on with volunteering in our area is for you to create a user account on our Get Connected database. While many opportunities are unavailable at this time due to COVID19, you can post your information including your skills and your interests. You will receive information on opportunities that match your information. Access the database here . While in person volunteering is limited during this time of the pandemic, remember how much our non-profits will need your continued support as community activity opens up and we get back to the business of helping others. 
Thank You
Thank you to Bergen LEADer, Nvair Beylerian for hosting this year’s graduation event at her home on Thursday, July 9th. The event was socially distanced and responsible, giving the Bergen LEADS Class of 2020 an opportunity to reconnect in person!
Meet New Bergen Volunteers Board Members:
Shannon Currie is an accomplished brand consultant, strategic communicator and community advocate with over a decade of experience working with Fortune 500 corporations, institutions, and emerging businesses. Shannon is the president of the Urban League for Bergen and Hudson County New Jersey Young Professionals. 
She is a Vice President at Benenson Strategy Group, a strategic research-based Consultancy that specializes in political campaigns, where she specializes in qualitative research and strategic messaging. Shannon is also the Census Ambassador for the League of Women Voters Northern Valley and a 2020 graduate of the Bergen Volunteers LEADS Civic Leadership program. 

Shannon joined the Bergen Volunteers Board of Directors because she believes in the organization's meaningful work and respects our ability to bring mindful leadership to the children and families of Bergen County and beyond. 
Fernando Garip III is a Business Banking Relationship Manager at M&T Bank. After graduating from college he began working in the commercial real estate brokerage industry at NAI James E. Hanson. He transitioned from Commercial area Estate Brokerage to Business Banking and joined M&T Bank. In Business Banking, Fernando works with a wide variety of both business owners and real estate owners, providing them with a wide range of financial lending services. Fernando is actively involved in the community as a member of the Adler Aphasia Center Young Professionals Network and the Meadowlands Chamber of Commerce.

Born and raised in Bergen County, New Jersey Fernando joined the Bergen Volunteers Board of Directors to be more involved in the community. He wanted to be a part of an organization that provided an outlet for volunteers to give back with impact!

Bergen Volunteers