Staff Spotlight-Meet Kathleen!


Meet Kathleen, or Kat, for short. She is one of the newest members of the Corporate Service team at Jersey Cares, but after getting to know her, you wouldn’t think it. When she’s not coordinating volunteer events, Kat enjoys painting (she’s good too—check her out here), trivia, and spending time with her family and her dog, Irwin. Last month we sat down with Kat and got to know her a little better!

Which of your projects are you most proud of?

“L’Oréal — I was overwhelmed with the amount of support I received from my team…[and] just seeing the difference the volunteers made at the two schools we worked with on that day gave me such a sense of pride.”


Which is your favorite Jersey Cares collection drive? Why?

“The Coat Drive is my favorite because I get to work with members of the community for our sort-off day…and I love experiencing how involved they are willing to be for such a great cause.”

When planning a Corporate Service project, what is the most exciting part of the process?

“I really enjoy working with the volunteers and the anticipation of knowing how they will be impacted by their service; it’s always a great reminder of how important their work is to the agencies we partner with and I really enjoy being a part of that.”

What attracted you to work for Jersey Cares?

“I really enjoy that I would get to see from start to finish the impact that volunteers make in the lives of people and community-based organizations and schools. I love being a part of that kind of change.”

Finally…what’s your favorite flavor of ice cream?

“That’s easy! Chocolate Peanut Butter!”

What Does Volunteering Mean to You?

By Simone Carvalho, Jersey Cares’ newest Service Events Manager

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Even after years of working with volunteers, I still find myself astounded by their benevolence. From individuals to families, Scout Troops to Fortune 500 companies- volunteers can take many forms but the spirit of generosity is identical.

What is this goodwill I speak of? It is the 17,341 Jersey Cares volunteers who donated 63,730 hours of their time to 410 agencies across New Jersey in just 2014.

These numbers leave me astonished because:

  •  17,341 is more than the entire population living in Hopewell Township, New Jersey.
  • You would have to volunteer 24 hours a day for 27 years to accumulate 63,730 service hours.
  • According to the Independent Sector, a volunteer hour in New Jersey is valued at $25.33. In 2014, our volunteers’ service was worth $1,614,280.90!

These numbers only just begin to quantify the enormous value of service because we can’t measure the smiles, bonds formed, or how a community has strengthened. But we can ensure the continued success and expansion of volunteer projects across the state. Jersey Cares strives to increase the level of meaningful volunteer engagement by creating and managing efficient, impactful projects that address critical community-identified needs.

We are celebrating National Volunteer Week 2015 by highlighting opportunities to #GiveBack and #BeTheChange with @JerseyCares on our Facebook, Twitter, Instagram throughout #NVW2015.

Tag us @JerseyCares and tell us what VOLUNTEERING means to you!

– Simone Carvalho

Corporate Spotlight: Verizon


Verizon employees help create super hero capes in their Basking Ridge, NJ office in July 2014.

Verizon’s robust Corporate Service Responsibility programs and volunteer initiatives engage all of their employees in meaningful service. The company decided to take a unique approach to accommodate their call center employees, who are critical to Verizon’s operations and have limited flexibility to leave their desks for extended periods of time. Since March, Verizon has delivered a successful solution to engage these employees: bringing volunteer projects that can be completed in 15 minutes or less right into break rooms.

From decorating super hero capes for children’s hospitals to creating ready to plant tree sapling kits donated to public schools, these employees are able to create significant change in a short period of time, right in the comfort of their office. With a project every month, reflecting one of Verizon’s impact areas, over 1,500 volunteers have participated in these events, creating items for well-deserving students, veterans, teachers, and more. “Our employees are thrilled to participate every month and they have learned even more about Verizon’s work in the community,” said Samantha Yakal-Kremski, manager of employee engagement for Verizon. “Our employees contribute to this good work and our business, the community, and our employees all mutually benefit from these engagement opportunities.”

City Spotlight: Livingston

As a response to all of the amazing volunteer work being done across New Jersey, the Jersey Cares City Spotlight will showcase exceptional civic engagement weekly in a specific New Jersey community.

Named in honor of William Livingston the first governor of New Jersey, Livingston is a town dedicated to service – it supports an all-volunteer first aid squad and fire department. Livingston’s commitment to service doesn’t end with emergency services! They are also involved in many Jersey Cares initiatives.

Jersey Cares volunteers on MLK Day making homemade play dough for sensory kits.

Jersey Cares volunteers on MLK Day making homemade play dough for sensory kits.

Last fall, two corporations gave their time to volunteer in Livingston. ImClone Systems and Mondelez each engaged 30 volunteers in revitalization projects. At a high school which serves students with disabilities, ImClone volunteers created an interactive pumpkin patch and helped students pick and decorate 100 pumpkins while Mondelez employees volunteered at a community center beautifying the facility by landscaping and planting seasonal flowers and shrubs. Combined, both corporations served over 225 hours in the community.

Last winter, Livingston citizens, business groups and civic organizations collected 165 coats with the Jersey Cares Coat Drive. This past Martin Luther King Jr. Day, 30 volunteers created interactive crafts including rain sticks and homemade play dough as a part of sensory kits that were donated to a center serving children and teens with cerebral palsy.  Additionally, on The 16th Annual Jersey Cares Day in May, 25 volunteers decorated inspirational and motivational posters that were used to help cheer on the center’s students during their spring fundraising walk. Through these efforts, nearly 300 kids were served!

Livingston is a small town with a big heart! To find out how you can contribute to the tradition of volunteerism in your community visit!