The Volunteer Center of Bergen County is very proud of the results of our work. Here in capsule form are the outcomes/results of our programs. Details about each program may be found in our Annual Report, and we will be glad to provide further information upon request.
All results reported below are for 2012, the most recent and complete fiscal year, which is the calendar year.
- Over 191,000 searches came through our website from prospects seeking volunteer opportunities. Our online database lists 357 jobs at more than 100 agencies.
- The Guide to Volunteering -- a 100+page book listing volunteer jobs, project ideas, links, tips and other useful information – was distributed free of charge to local schools and 67 libraries. Spot assessments verify that the book is well used by students, parents and adults seeking meaningful ways to volunteer. The book can be downloaded from our website at no cost, and hard copies, which were printed free-of charge by a local corporation, are available for purchase for a nominal fee to cover postage.
- Nearly 300 volunteers from 24 nonprofit agencies were given a public pat on the back at “Celebrate Volunteers,” a community recognition event we host every Spring.
- 3,600 people in need, including 820 families and 760 disabled or elderly individuals, had their “wish lists” fulfilled by 851 willing donors through our All Wrapped Up Holiday Giving Program. Partner nonprofit agencies verified requests and donors provided approximately $300,000 in gifts and gift cards.
- We coordinated judging panels for two prestigious corporate volunteer programs: PSEG’s Recognizing Excellence in Volunteerism awards and BD’s Henry Becton Award for Community Impact.
- We coordinated the Corporate Track for the Governor’s Conference on Volunteerism, which was held in East Brunswick in October, 2012, and attended by 81 representatives from New Jersey’s top companies. 100% of respondents gave the corporate track top marks for content, value and usefulness to their work.
Business Volunteer Connect
Bergen LEADS civic leadership program for adults
- 32 member companies participated in strategic initiatives that help low income families and their children.
- 13 companies collected 4,600 new books which were distributed so that 300 pre-school children each received five new books in a bookbag. Each bag contained an age-appropriate reading list and tips to encourage parent-child interaction with the goal of fostering a love of reading. 1,000 books were also given to children and parents in our mentoring programs.
- 10 companies donated $20,333 worth of “kid-frieindly” food and cash benefiting children who receive free or reduced-cost meals at school but not during the summer. The goal is to reduce hunger and promote healthy eating during the summertime.
- 12 companies and other groups collected $18,930-worth of school supplies which were distributed through schools and youth-serving organizations, enabling children of low-income families to start school well prepared with supplies.
- 10 companies participated in All in a Days Work, when 100 volunteers participated on 12 projects at 9 sites.
- In June we graduated the Class of 2012 and admitted 30 members of the Class of 2013.
- We now boast more than 120 graduates well trained and eager to step up their engagement as civic leaders.
- Each monthly seminar is evaluated and routinely receives top marks for content and delivery.
- The Civic Engagement Survey given to every Bergen LEADS participant before they begin the program and one year after showed a jump of 10-15 points in every category measured: voting record, contact with public officials, involvement in community issues/politics, volunteering, contributing to a charity, etc.
- 50% of graduates over the first four years officially joined the Alumni of Bergen LEADS (ABL) group and 89% of ABL members are active on alumni committees such as continuing education, community service and alumni relations.
- Bergen LEADS now sponsors the Fifth Friday forums, robust networking events that bring leaders from all sectors together for lunch and speakers on topics “ripped from the headlines!”
In 2012, the Volunteer Center was designated an “Innovation Hub” by Hands on Network, our national affiliate partner, which provided a $30,000 grant to develop a program that demonstrates innovation. We chose to modify our highly successful Bergen LEADS adult civic leadership program and offer Teen LEADS to students in local high schools. The intent is to provide students with the skills and tools they need to take an active role in their communities, both now and in the future. We inaugurated the program with 40 students at Dwight Morrow High School in Englewood and are researching the possibilities of a similar program at Ridgewood High School. We’ll be reporting on progress periodically.
We participated in nine service fairs at local elementary, middle and high schools, providing information about volunteering to more than 1,100 students, teachers and parents. We also provided consultation to more than 400 college students about service learning projects that combine academic studies with community service.
Staff serves on the GenerationOn Advisory Council, providing guidance to the burgeoning and exciting youth-service arm of HandsOn Network.
Direct Service Volunteer Programs
Our Mentoring Youth program trains and supervises adult men and women who provide friendship, guidance and support to youth I one-on-one relationships. The intent is to help youth identify and build on their own strengths and assets, thus promoting personal growth and enhancing self-esteem so they can see and take steps toward a brighter future. Virtually all of the youth are referred to our program by the state’s Division of Child Protection and Permanency. In 2012, the Mentoring Youth program:
Trained 32 new mentors and initiated 35 new mentoring matches.
Supported 117 ongoing mentor-youth relationships in which each mentor meets weekly with a youth for at least a year.
Inaugurated Family Orientation sessions for parents and youth new to the Mentoring Youth program, to get mentoring relationships off to a good start.
Launched a “College Bound” initiative in which volunteer tutors help youth with academic skills, students at Ramapo College provide guidance in the college application process, and mentors assist with follow-through.
Provided workshops and gatherings to solidify and strengthen the mentoring relationships, including holiday parties, a trip to the Bronx Zoo, book fair with free books, and a fantastic picnic hosted by a local middle school.
A thorough evaluation of the Mentoring Youth program is planned for the months ahead; watch for results!
Mentoring Moms is a peer support mentoring program between caring volunteers and mothers referred to the program through the N.J. Division of Child Protection and Permanency and community agencies. Mentors provide informal support and practical knowledge to mothers who are struggling with the with emotional, behavioral, financial and social challenges of raising a family, many as a single parent. In 2012, Mentoring Moms:
- Supported 69 ongoing mentor-mother matches.
- Trained 22 new mentors and initiated 18 new mentor-mother matches.
- Sponsored workshops and family activities to supplement the mentoring relationship including bi-monthly mentor refreshers, a family holiday breakfast, a financial literacy workshop for moms and their teenage children, a back-to-school conference for moms and kids, a book fair with free books to foster a love of reading, a home-organizing workshop, and a night of makeovers at a local beauty salon.
- Surveyed mothers and mentors, yielding impressive results. 90% of mothers report doing a better job managing their children’s health needs; 80% noted an improvement in managing their children’s educational needs; 100% feel that they are doing a better job of managing their own health needs; 65% report improvement in their employment status; 90% noted improvement in coping with challenges and managing stress; and 95% feel that their mentor made a difference in their life.
- What do the mentors say? Here are some of their comments: “My mentor has helped so much and has been the person I can trust and seek advice.” “I don’t know where I’d be without her!” “My mentor is a godsend”, “My mentor is a wonderful person and helps me with a lot of things. She is like a second mom.” “My mentor rocks!”
The Chore Service is comprised of crews of volunteer handymen and handywomen crews who perform minor home repairs that keep the elderly and people with disabilities safe in their homes. In 2012, the Chore Service:
- Provided repair services for 1,949 senior and/or disabled clients.
- Completed 4,768 home repairs, free-of charge except for the cost of parts.
- Logged 9689 hours of volunteer service.
- Selected at random 10 clients every month to evaluate Chore’s services. These evaluations are uniformly and consistently positive (in fact, we refer to them as “love letters”).
The Volunteer Center coordinates the Bergen County VOAD (Voluntary
Organizations Active In Disaster), which typically facilitates communications
between the first responders – such as the Offices of Emergency Management at
the County level and in municipalities – and the broad network of nonprofit,
religious and grassroots organizations in the community. In response to
Hurricane Sandy, we ramped up our efforts and are leading the VOAD’s Long Term
Recovery Committee, an alliance of 50+ organizations intent on providing
assistance to residents of Bergen County who were impacted by the storm.
We have received grant awards in excess of $1.7 million and have put into
practice a workable system to allocate resources to those most in need.
Complete details, including statements of funding received and expended, can be
found at www.bergenvoad.org.