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 www.jerseycares.org!

City Spotlight: Trenton

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.

This week, Jersey Cares City Spotlight features New Jersey’s capital city – Trenton!

Trenton is a city full of history! It is known as the site of George Washington’s first victory in the War of Independence. Washington crossed the Delaware River on Christmas night in 1766 and surprised the British in a battle which resulted in a victory for the Continental Army. Trenton also briefly served as the capital of the new United States of America, during November and December 1784.

While Trenton holds the distinction of being a historical city, it is also a very special place for Jersey Cares. Trenton has amazing volunteers and hosts several Jersey Cares service projects!

This past year, volunteers in Trenton distributed 735 coats to five agencies through the Jersey Cares Annual Coat Drive. Additionally, Bank of America corporate volunteers recently gave back to a Trenton elementary school. Almost 30 individuals spent over 100 hours painting line games, building picnic tables, planting flowers and painting canvas murals. In total, this helped to serve 413 children!

This past Jersey Cares Day, volunteer efforts amounted to over 150 service hours in Trenton. During this time, 40 flower pots were planted, 14 canvas murals, five planter murals, and line games were painted. At the end of this busy day in Trenton, 413 kids were served!

Trenton is not the only city in Mercer County who has dedicated volunteers! In fact, through the Jersey Cares Volunteer Opportunity Calendar, Mercer County volunteers meet the needs of 3 non-profit agencies. On a weekly basis, Jersey Cares volunteers can be found assisting individuals with finding employment by collecting, sorting and packaging  clothing at Caring Closet in Lawrence. Mercer County volunteers also use their intelligence to help tutor children at Kiddy Care in Lawrence.

Celebrate this amazing, New Jersey city by continuing Trenton’s commitment to volunteerism by finding volunteer opportunities at www.jerseycares.org!

Volunteers show off their finished line game!

Volunteers show off their finished line game!

Skilled Volunteers Making a Difference in New Jersey

Over the past few years, through the Jersey Cares Skills Based Volunteer Program, we have not only outsourced skilled volunteers to nonprofits in the community for needs such as specialized teachers for after-school programs, marketing professionals and graphic designers, but we have also been the recipient of some fantastic skilled volunteers from two partners, Barclays and Fidelity. Their employees have assisted with vital needs in both technology and human resources in the Jersey Cares office and serves as a fantastic example of the widespread skill sets present at every company and how invaluable that talent can be for a nonprofit.

When the Jersey Cares office was in need of a long awaited technology overhaul, Barclays, a financial services company, lent a group of expert employee volunteers from their IT department. These Barclays employees visited the Jersey Cares office several times to run diagnostics and asses best practices, after which they offered several options for a system update. After presenting three options on a sliding scale to Jersey Cares, the group then installed a new server, set up new computers to replace outdated models, implemented a new back-up system and continue to offer their ongoing IT support on a regular basis. This project was invaluable to the growth of Jersey Cares and provided a fantastic way for the Barclays IT department to give back to the community using their skills.

Additionally, when looking for staff development resources, Jersey Cares reached out to Fidelity Investments, also a financial services company, in order to utilize the expertise of their Human Resources department. A Fidelity employee provided her expertise by leading a Management Training seminar for several Jersey Cares employees, who have since implemented the new practices they learned into their everyday work habits. These employees look forward to continuing these training sessions once a quarter. This project was also a valuable experience not only for the employee volunteer to learn about the inner workings of nonprofits but also for the Jersey Cares Staff, who benefit from the professional development.

So often when we as nonprofits think of needs, we go straight to dollars. While funding is crucial to remain in business, some of our skills-based volunteer projects have saved thousands of dollars while providing phenomenal experiences for the corporate volunteers as well. If you are interested in learning more about the Jersey Cares Skills Based Volunteer Program or being matched (either as a corporate group or nonprofit agency), please contact Kaitlyn Brady, Kaitlyn@jerseycares.org or 973-424-1091.