The Volunteer Center of Bergen County is 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 2013, our most recent and complete fiscal year, which is the calendar year. All results pertain to fulfillment of our mission: to strengthen the community by connecting people through service and developing civic leaders.
CONNECTING PEOPLE THROUGH SERVICE
- Over 125,000 searches came through our website from prospects seeking volunteer opportunities. Our online database lists 312 jobs at 146 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 hundreds of 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 200 volunteers from 16 nonprofit agencies were given a public pat on the back at “Celebrate Volunteers,” a community recognition event we host every Spring.
- 3,523 people in need, including 734 families and 1,014 disabled or elderly individuals, had their “wish lists” fulfilled by 796 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.
Business Volunteer Connect
- 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.
- 32 member companies participated in strategic initiatives that help low income families and their children.
- 12 companies collected 4,000 new books, providing 600 pre-school children each with five brand new books in a colorful 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.
- 10 companies donated $11,000 worth of “kid-friendly” 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.
- 7 companies collected $16,000-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.
- 74 corporate volunteers participated at 6 project sites in September, helping to clean up the environment, build bee hives, help construct a park, and other needed tasks.
- The BVC developed two community gardens that provide food for needy families, increase access to fresh food and promote healthy living.
Our Mentoring Youth program trains and supervises adult men and women who provide friendship, guidance and support to youth in 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 2013, the Mentoring Youth program:
Trained 39 new mentors and initiated 39 new mentoring matches.
Supported 117 ongoing mentor-youth relationships in which each mentor meets weekly with a youth for at least a year.
Continued Family Orientation sessions for parents and youth new to the program, getting mentoring relationships off to a good start.
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.
Mentoring Youth's first-ever comprehensive evaluation was completed in 2013. Data were collected over a period of two years from parents, youth and volunteer mentors. Here are the results:
- Mentees were very satisfied with the mentoring relationship, with the support and guidance provided by mentors; with the strong bond that developed; and with the opportunities that mentoring offered.
- Mentees’ knowledge of mentoring evolved over time. Mentoring was perceived as providing new opportunities for learning and engaging in social/recreational activities.
- Mentors received significant support from the Mentoring Youth program and were satisfied with the mentoring relationships.
- Mentors are confident in their abilities as mentors.
- Parents perceived mentoring as providing trusting relationships, guidance to their children, and new opportunities for children to learn.
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 2013, Mentoring Moms:
- Supported 54 ongoing mentor-mother matches.
- Trained 28 new mentors and initiated 24 new mentor-mother matches.
- Sponsored workshops and family activities to supplement the mentoring relationship including bi-monthly mentor refreshers, a family holiday breakfast, a special-education review workshop for moms, a back-to-school conference for moms and kids, a book fair with free books to foster a love of reading, a night of makeovers at a local beauty salon, a holiday party, and a Moms & Mentors Celebration.
Dr. Sheetal Ranjan, Ph.D., of William Paterson University, conducted a comprehensive evaluation of the Mentoring Moms program that yielded the following results:
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!”
- Virtually all mothers in the program felt that the mentors have made a positive difference in their lives.
- A very large proportion (82%) of the mothers in the program attributed their success in achieving their goals to the help of their mentor.
- 50% of the mothers see much improvement in setting and maintaining routines in their home as well as guiding children’s behavior without use of violence or yelling.
- 92% of mothers found their relationship with their mentors to be open and 87% said the relationship was helpful.
- More than 80% of the mothers felt the mentoring relationship helped them make realistic plans for their lives and their future.
- 28.9% of the mothers had seen improvement in their ability to handle stress as a result of the program.
The Chore Service is comprised of crews of volunteer handymen and handywomen who perform minor home repairs that keep the elderly and people with disabilities safe in their homes. Repairs typically include installing grab bars and hand rails, putting in/taking out air conditioners, fixing leaky faucets or running toilets, installing door locks and smoke or carbon monoxide detectors, and weatherstripping doors and windows. In 2013, the Chore Service:
Every month, Chore Services selects 10 clients at random to evaluate Chore’s services. These evaluations are uniformly and consistently positive (in fact, we refer to them as “love letters”).
- Provided repair services for 1,957 senior and/or disabled clients.
- Completed 4,736 home repairs, free-of charge except for the cost of parts.
- Logged 9,774 hours of volunteer service.
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 that are providing
assistance to Bergen County residents impacted by the storm. In 2013 we received grant awards of $1.7 million and launched a Recovery Information Center with a full-time staff of seven that provides case management and volunteer coordination. Complete and up-to-date details, including statements of funding received and expended, can be
found at www.bergenvoad.org.
DEVELOPING CIVIC LEADERS
Bergen LEADS civic leadership program for adults
- In June we graduated the Class of 2013 and admitted 30 members of the Class of 2014.
- We now boast more than 140 well-trained graduates who are 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.
- Bergen LEADS presented 3 Fifth Friday luncheons, each of which was sold out at 220 guests. High profile speakers, hot topics and leaders from every sector are an excellent fit with LEADS' stated purpose of developing civic leaders, expanding networks and exploring current issues.
- The Bergen LEADS Public Forum in June focused on The Future of Nonprofits. Following months of diligent research, the class recommended new strategies for nonprofits highlighting local successes and innovative models embraced by other communities.
- Alumni of Bergen LEADS (ABL) has become a dynamic graduate organization that maintains and develops relationships, serves the community, learns about local needs and resources, influences public policy and ensures program sustainability. 50% of graduates over the first five years have officially joined ABL.
We continued our Points of Light "Innovation Hub" project to adapt Bergen LEADS as a model that can be utilized by schools. We worked closely with school administrators in Englewood and Ridgewood to develop and present Teen LEADS, utilizing a curriculum that incorporates civic engagement while helping students discover their leadership potential.
We offered the Youth Leadership Institute in June to an energetic group of young teens. This unique training program is designed to help prepare the next generation for leadership. Out of YLI has emerged "Ready,Set,Serve" - a one-week summer service "camp" offered twice during the summer of 2014.
Staff serves on the GenerationOn Advisory Council, providing guidance to the vibrant youth-service arm of HandsOn Network.