Bergen Volunteers Buzz
October 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!
Note from Nina:

“The dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy present. The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we must rise with the occasion. As our case is new, so we must think anew and act anew.” -Abraham Lincoln
 
One month before signing the Emancipation Proclamation, President Lincoln sent the preceding message to Congress. It is profound that these remarkable sentiments are still apropos today. 
 
As I reflect upon my first month as CEO of Bergen Volunteers, I am graced with a deeper understanding of the meaning behind President Lincoln’s words. While delving into the plethora of programs that encompass Bergen Volunteers, I am increasingly awed by the organization’s capacity to be present and respond, especially during the pandemic, as collaborators, partners, providers, and change-makers in the community.
 
With our current “occasion piled high with difficulty,” Bergen Volunteers has risen to the occasion. We pivoted quickly with determination and grit, “thinking and acting anew.” Bergen Volunteers has continued to provide critical services for our most vulnerable, especially those affected by food insecurity, housing crises, joblessness, and other pandemic challenges.
 
Our future is bright, our resolve is strong, and our purpose is clear. But our work is not yet finished. There are real challenges ahead, and we need your continued support to sustain our impact and fulfill our mission to help individuals in need. Our success is predicated upon continued support from you - our community - and your belief in our abilities and your efforts to join forces with us. 
 
You can help by joining us for our virtual gala on October 20, making a donation to the organization, or participating in one of our volunteer or direct service programs. 
 
As I reach my one-month milestone, I celebrate and salute the volunteers, participants, staff, leaders, and Board members, and most especially our community, for your achievements.
Upcoming Events
Caring Today, Strengthening Tomorrow:
An E-Commemoration of E-ssential Volunteers

Join Bergen Volunteers on October 20, 2020 at 7 pm via Zoom/MobileCause in honoring those in the community making a difference during the COVID-19 pandemic. This virtual commemoration event will honor exemplary individuals, companies and organizations that support keeping Bergen County safe throughout COVID-19. 

Sponsorship and Ad Journal Opportunities are still available - Contact Elizabeth at ereich@bergenvolunteers.org to get involved!
Text "Bergen2020" to 41-444 to Register!
&
Text "Heart2020" to 91-999 to Donate!
Credit Card
Delivery Handoff
MEET OUR SPECIAL GUEST
AND MUSICAL PERFORMERS!
Alyssa Goldman
Mel Robbins
Quinton Smith
Program Updates
Bergen LEADS
Welcome to the Class of 2021. We started our year long adventure into learning and exploring Bergen County. 19 leaders from education, corporate, and non profit to law and public safety met on September 15 and 16 for the Bergen LEADS Opening Retreat!
Bergen Reads
Bergen Reads is preparing to kick off virtual one on one reading sessions with students in Teaneck and Hackensack elementary schools. Volunteers are being trained to assist their reading buddies in a Google Classroom setting. This will allow our volunteers to see and help their students succeed in their literacy goals. Without moving the program virtual many children would go without the extra help they need from their Reading Buddy. Stay tuned for updates on this exciting initiative.
Making-It-Home
Making-It-Home was invited by Bergen County Veteran Services to help coordinate with 12 community partners to furnish two apartments in Glen Rock for formerly homeless and disabled veterans and their children. The socially-distanced ribbon commemorated the September 11 National Day of Service and Remembrance in honoring the victims of the attacks, acknowledging the value of service to those in need, and supporting our veterans who have shown such extraordinary dedication, bravery, and commitment to protecting the freedoms of all Americans. “No veteran should ever be homeless, which is why we are proud to celebrate this opportunity to help two veterans and their families move into a long-awaited comfortable and secure living environment,” said County Executive Jim Tedesco. Cynthia Massarsky, program director of Making-It-Home, also spoke at the opening. “The answer to homelessness is a home - but four walls is not truly sufficient. Comfortable furnishings provide safe and healthy living, and inspire families to take their next step towards a better future.” Do you want to help families take steps towards a brighter future? If so, donate here.
Mentoring
We are writing to share important news that directly impacts our longstanding Bergen Volunteers mentoring programs. Since 1978 the Mentoring Youth and Mentoring Moms and Dads programs have collectively matched 4,700 individuals with community mentors. As a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the state budget crisis, the NJ Department of Children and Families funding that has subsidized these programs has been eliminated effective October 1, 2020. The Bergen Volunteers Board, leadership, and staff have a strong commitment to these programs, and to the 70 participants and mentors currently receiving and providing these important services. 

With the devastating news of the budget cuts, we have unfortunately had to suspend creating new matches and are unable to accept new volunteer applications or participants. We are dedicated to continuing our support of current participants through the end of the 2020 calendar year, while we assess the mentoring programs through community collaboration and participation, and seek to secure new funding opportunities. 

Please join us in fighting for this critical program! Here’s how you can help:
-Assist us with our community needs assessment
-Connect us with your networks to help us seek new funding opportunities
-Personally contribute your support financially or through a testimony

Please contact Kimberly Malone (kmalone@bergenvolunteers.org) if you are interested in helping in any of these ways.
Redefining Retirement
The Redefining Retirement team continues to connect with its agencies to identify current opportunities for its volunteers. Many of these can be done on a virtual and remote basis for the safety of our volunteers and the agency staff. The team will be hosting a call for all Redefining Retirement volunteers on October 1 to share this information and provide an update on the program. As agencies continue to expand their services, volunteers can stay connected by sending an email to at retirement@bergenvolunteers.org or calling 201-489-9454 extension 210.
Successful Aging
On October 7, the Successful Aging staff will have a Zoom Roundtable meeting with their CHEER volunteers. This is the third time the program has met this way and it’s proven to be very (pun intended) successful. Our guest speaker will be an Infection Prevention Manager from
Englewood Hospital. She will discuss COVID-19 updates.
COVID-19 Corner: Battling Food Insecurity
Bergen Volunteers is working with Bergen County’s Food Security Task Force, providing pantries and food distribution sites with the tools and outreach for volunteer recruitment. Bergen County has over 80 pantries, large and small, organizing food and supply support to those individuals and families in need of the help. If you want to get involved, click here.
Welcome Bergen LEADS Class of 2021!
Meet Bergen Volunteers' New Interns!
Meet new Development Intern, Mila!

Mila is a student at Fairleigh Dickinson University pursuing a Bachelors Degree in Marketing. Mila joined Bergen Volunteers because she wanted hands-on experience in community development. Mila believes that Bergen Volunteers is the perfect place to intern, she noted, "I appreciate how actively involved Bergen Volunteers is in the community and how the staff genuinely cares about the people they help".


Meet new Developlment Intern, Michael!

Michael is a student at Yale University pursing a Bachelors Degree in English Language and Literature. Michael joined Bergen Volunteers to learn about working in the nonprofit sphere. Michael noted, "For most of my life, service and philanthropy have been very important to me. By interning at Bergen Volunteers, I'm hoping to gain the skills necessary to enter into the nonprofit sector later on and continue my life-long journey of helping others. 

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