Spotlight on: Monmouth Arts

By Janet Mazur Cavano

Courtesy of Monmouth Arts

Turning to a creative outlet during challenging times such as the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic can make a huge difference in one’s well-being. This is especially so for children who often do not  have a way to express their fears and anxieties.  It is no surprise then that “Creative Expressions Arts and Wellness,” the art therapy program  Monmouth Arts recently launched, has taken off  so successfully. 

“It is SO needed right now,” said Teresa Staub, executive director of Monmouth Arts. “When we did other programming, we saw how children are struggling, and how much that has increased; there is still so much they are going through.”

Funded by a 2021 Impact 100 Jersey Coast grant of $107,500, the program addresses youth mental health issues by engaging children in artistic self-expression. During a four to six-week period, teams build relationships with the children and identify those who could benefit from additional mental health services. 

This summer alone, in seven different locations across Monmouth County,  some 387 children ages 5 through teens have participated.  They have learned  to reduce  stress, channel negativity and create beautiful art in the process.  Ten working artists and mental health professionals, including several Spanish-speakers,  are guiding the children through workshops on drumming, Hip-Hop dancing and empowerment through movement.  Other programs focus on fine art and writing including, “What’s on your mind,” a program where participants create a self-portrait and then write a short paragraph about who they are. 

In addition, “Creative Expressions,” recently offered an innovative activity, “The Art  of Letting Go,”  at Freehold Raceway Mall. Participants were invited to write on balloons the negative things they’re trying to push out or escape from. Likewise, Monmouth Arts sponsored a Teen Arts Festival.

Among the feedback Monmouth Arts has received from participants:

“The art sessions made me feel a little relaxed.”

“It made me feel happy and calming while I was listening to music.”

“I like that I can draw what I want.”

And

Good being able to draw my feelings.”

Through the grant,  Monmouth Arts has hired a coordinator to oversee the entire program and will continue to offer more workshops in the fall. The ultimate aim  is to reach 2,000 children.

 “We are more than on track to reach our goals and objectives,” Staub said, adding that the organization is seeking more places to offer “Creative Expressions,” such as after school programs.  In fact, if your group could benefit from “Creative Expressions,” contact Monmouth Arts. 

Celebrating its 50th year in operation, Monmouth Arts  is a leading, independent, 501c(3) arts advocacy organization that delivers needed programs and services to artists, member organizations, and art affiliates to ensure the arts thrive in every corner of Monmouth County. Its mission is to  provide programs and services that support the practice, presence, and influence of the arts and of artists throughout the county.

Since its inception in 2016, Impact 100 Jersey Coast has awarded more than $2,000,000 in transformational grants to 18 local organizations. A women’s giving circle, Impact has created a forum to raise awareness of the community’s most pressing needs and fund transformational grants for high-impact projects addressing those needs. Impact 100 JC has also  expanded its giving circle to encompass the richness of ideas, perspectives and the participation of diverse women from a wide range of identities. 

Monmouth Arts

Monmouth Arts

Arts and Culture

MISSION STATEMENT:

Monmouth Arts provides programs and services that support the practice, presence, and influence of the arts and of artists throughout Monmouth County.

THE PROJECT: 

In partnership with teaching artists and mental health professionals, the Creative Expressions Arts & Wellness Program will apply art forms such as painting, music, and dance to address the rise in mental health issues in Monmouth County youth due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Impact 100 Jersey Coast Tops $2,000,000 In Transformational Grants Awarded

Six years of collective women’s giving allow 18 organizations to address local unmet needs

Impact 100 Jersey Coast announced that its members have awarded four $107,500 transformational grants, totaling $430,000, to area nonprofit organizations. Despite a challenging year, the 430 members of the philanthropic women’s volunteer organization were able to honor organizations that are making a difference in Monmouth County, NJ. These nonprofits now have a remarkable opportunity to sustain and strengthen their programs, broaden their reach and increase their impact.

Although this year’s Impact Annual Meeting was virtual due to COVID, the excitement was palpable. The event was the eagerly-awaited culmination of Impact 100’s months of efforts to direct substantial support to local non-profit organizations. After a comprehensive evaluation by more than 80 grant review committee members, five finalists representing the categories of Arts & Culture, Children & Families, Education, Sustainability & Environment, and Health & Wellness were selected  from a pool of 61 grant applicants. Finalist information packets were sent to the entire Impact 100 membership in advance of the Annual Meeting to allow members to prepare, and absentee ballots were included in the final vote count on the night following project presentations by the finalists.  

Thanks to the generosity of 430 Impact 100 members who each contributed $1,000 towards the 2021 grant fund, four inspiring and high-impact projects were awarded $107,500 each. The grant recipients include: 

Monmouth Arts

Monmouth Arts

Arts and Culture

MISSION STATEMENT:

Monmouth Arts provides programs and services that support the practice, presence, and influence of the arts and of artists throughout Monmouth County.

THE PROJECT: 

In partnership with teaching artists and mental health professionals, the Creative Expressions Arts & Wellness Program will apply art forms such as painting, music, and dance to address the rise in mental health issues in Monmouth County youth due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

CARC

Community Affairs & Resource Center (CARC)

Children & Families

MISSION STATEMENT:
Community Affairs and Resource Center’s mission is to empower the community and strengthen youth and families by promoting self-sufficiency through education, advocacy and collaboration.

THE PROJECT:
Postpartum depression (PPD) is a serious condition that affects about one in seven mothers, and one in three low-income mothers. PPD has well-established consequences on infant development, including delayed cognitive development, behavioral issues, and the risk of developing depression or anxiety. Community Affairs and Resource Center’s (CARC) proposed project, ROSES, is an evidence-based preventative program that has been proven to reduce PPD in women by 50%. ROSES consists of a five-session bilingual education program using our university-developed curriculum, and nurse home visits before and after the baby is born. We are able to further support these new mothers with additional services provided by CARC and our network of community partners to address issues including food insecurity, domestic violence, and job training

VNACJ

Visiting Nurse Association of Central Jersey

Education

MISSION STATEMENT:
Visiting Nurse Association of Central Jersey Inc. is a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping individuals and families achieve their best level of well-being by providing compassionate, coordinated, and innovative care in their homes and communities.

THE PROJECT:
To address the alarming health outcomes data regarding the difference in the mortality rate of white women and babies, and women and babies of color, New Jersey is investing in culturally sensitive health services, including Doulas or nonclinical pregnancy/birth coaches, to improve birth outcomes. This grant would help fund a collaboration between VNA of Central Jersey, Jersey Shore University Medical Center’s Booker Family Health Center, and VNACJ Community Health Center to establish the first-ever Doula Learning Collaborative in Monmouth County. Key components include recruiting 10 prospective multi-cultural doulas from at-risk communities; subsidizing their training in a state-approved program and creating a learning community to support each doula’s development and to teach additional skills – in particular, the business skills to form a cooperative, successfully bill Medicaid for services rendered and provide excellent patient experience.

Parker Family Health Center

Parker Family Health Center

Health & Wellness

MISSION STATEMENT:
The mission of the Parker Family Health Center is to operate a free health care facility where Monmouth County residents without health insurance or the ability to pay for medical care can be treated with dignity and compassion. With the support of the medical community and the community at large, Parker Family Health Center will assist those who are making a sincere effort to help themselves and their families realize optimum health.

THE PROJECT:
To respond to the urgent need created by the pandemic and the continued demand for free medical care, Parker is requesting support for a much-needed expansion. This expansion will increase the number of patients cared for by adding a new examination room, telehealth and social service spaces, and a large, multipurpose room to be utilized for educational purposes benefitting staff, board, volunteers, patients, and the community at large.

A special grant from our community partner OceanFirst Foundation!

In the true “Impact Strong” spirit of collaborative grantmaking, our generous community partner, OceanFirst Foundation, was inspired to provide a grant of $2,500 to our 2021 runner-up, Marty’s Place Senior Dog Sanctuary (Sustainability & Environment), and Impact Jersey Coast would like to offer our deepest thanks!

“Impact 100 Jersey Coast has once again proved we are truly stronger together!” said Deirdre Spiropoulos, Impact 100 Jersey Coast President and co-founder. “This time of year encapsulates what can happen when women unite together to pool our individual resources to help our community.”

Impact 100’s mission is to award member-funded transformational grants to local nonprofit organizations, enabling them to strengthen or expand their services, while empowering women of different ages and backgrounds to improve lives through philanthropy. Since its founding in 2015, the organization has awarded more than $2 million to 18 Monmouth County nonprofits to help them address unmet needs and reach underserved populations. Updates are given throughout the year about the progress of the recipients’ programs made possible through the grant funding.

Impact 100 Jersey Coast membership for the 2022 Class is open now and upcoming recruitment events can be found online at Impact100JerseyCoast.org. Members donate $1,100 each, with funds pooled to award significant annual grants. Women throughout the area who would like to make an important and memorable impact in their community are invited to join our unique giving circle. The 2022 membership drive is underway if you’d like to join or want more information, please click here or email membership@impact100jerseycoast.org.

About Impact 100 Jersey Coast

Impact 100 Jersey Coast is made up of women of different ages and backgrounds who combine charitable dollars, experience, and energy to make a tangible difference in our area. Impact’s mission is to award membership-funded transformational grants to local nonprofit organizations while empowering women to improve lives through philanthropy.

Since its founding in 2015, the organization has awarded more than $2 million to 18 local nonprofits. Learn more about Impact 100 Jersey Coast, its members and mission at Impact100JerseyCoast.org.

Spotlight on: HABcore

By Stephanie Posner, Anne Yeh & Mary Riley

2020 grant recipient, HABcore, invited the Impact 100 team to see their progress first-hand. On June 10th Marta Quinn, Senior Director of Development at HABcore toured the group around the area surrounding the Red Bank boarding house to show the development and community on the west side. (COVID-19 restrictions prohibited the group from going inside.)

The Impact grant for HabCore was to support their Independence Pathways (IP) Program, which combines affordable housing with coordinated services to assist individuals and families struggling with chronic physical and mental health issues to maintain stable housing and receive appropriate support and employment services. With our support, they were able to hire two case managers for the Program.

The group was able to see first-hand how our grant is being used to support the HABcore IP program.  And in addition, they learned about many other resources in the area which are helping families in the community in various ways.

“After the year we had, it was so inspiring to meet the HABcore team and see the projects first hand!” said Linda Lautenberg.

HABcore visit

Attendees: Marta Quinn, Senior Director of Development at HABcore; From Impact: Anne Yeh, Grantee Liaison for HABcore; Deidre Spiropoulos; Heather Burke; Linda Lautenberg; Casey DeStefano, and Amy Montano.

Above is HABcore’s River Street house, their most recent building project that was completed entirely through Covid!  It is a multi-family unit so everyone that calls this location home, participates in the IP program. Our Impact 100 grant goes directly to these families living here, by providing them with a skilled licensed clinical social worker to provide intensive services focused on employment services, parenting, and communication skills, leading a healthy lifestyle, and improving the children’s educational performance.  The caseworker encourages them to use the other community resources that we literally walked by, to help their families:

– Lunchbreak for food

– Monmouth Daycare so they can go to work

– The YMCA and Boys and Girls Club for active lifestyle choices

– and the Parker Family Health Clinic for healthcare.

The honest stories shared are about people, their resilience, and their hope for a better life.   The educational, inspirational, motivational, and thought-provoking tour will continue to inspire those who attended as HABcore and Impact 100 create this journey of experiences and life changes together. 

“It was a wonderful morning for me!  Not only to be together finally, but it was an eye-opening experience to see how that area of Red Bank has so many resources to help families!” commented Anne Yeh.

HABcore

HABcore is an organization that provides permanent housing and individualized support and helps homeless families, veterans, and individuals with special needs move through crisis to stability, giving them the opportunity to improve their lives.

The Independence Pathways (IP) Program combines affordable housing with coordinated services to assist individuals and families struggling with chronic physical and mental health issues to maintain stable housing and receive appropriate support and employment services. Learn more at HABcore.org.

Spotlight on: Clean Ocean Action

Transforming Our Community

By Stephanie Posner

Clean Ocean Action was a grant recipient in 2019.  Impact 100 helped to support the launch of the Student Environmental Advocates and Leaders (SEAL) program to develop a center of environmental stewardship for high school students in underserved communities.

The inaugural class was made up of 12 students from across Monmouth County. Taking on the motto of “go with the flow,” the team had to switch gears due to COVID and focused on a virtual program.  The group met twice a month and was joined by various local leaders and elected officials to learn about how the local community is working to protect the environment.  In January the students were asked to identify a global environmental problem which they wanted to help tackle.  They were asked to think global but act local – considering something they can do locally which can have a positive impact on the broader global issue.

The students focused on issues including reducing single use plastics, beach litter, and hydroponics. They presented their projects during a webinar on May 13th. To learn more about the projects you can view the recording online.

Learn about the SEAL program in this video

Click on the links to hear local projects:

  1. Jackie Rogers, Little Silver – Plastic Pollution
  2. Thomas Baron, Middletown – Beach Litter
  3. Orlanna Nolan, Highlands – Litter Pollution
  4. Sarah Taylor, Ocean Township – Hydroponics Heals
  5. Maya Burns, Keyport –  Storm Water Pollution
  6. Olivia Bonfort, Highlands – Rain Barrels
  7. Isabella Taborda, Eatontown – Education on recycling in elementary schools
  8. Olivia Fair, Highlands – Community Garden
  9. William Franznick, Middletown – Environmental Education Lesson Plans
  10. Chelsea Delalla, Ocean Township – Deforestation & Urbanization: Elementary School Education on the importance of planting trees

Clean Ocean Action is now recruiting eligible high school students to apply for the program for the upcoming academic year. Students from the following schools are eligible: Asbury Park, Henry Hudson, Keansburg, Keyport, Long Branch, Middletown North, Monmouth Regional, Neptune, Raritan, Red Bank Regional, and Ocean Township. Interested students can visit the “Education Programs” link at CleanOceanAction.org and complete the SEAL Student Interest Form.

About SEAL

The SEAL program, which was funded generously by Impact 100 Jersey Coast as their first environmental grant, offers eligible high school students a unique leadership learning experience focused on local environmental issues. SEAL students collaborate with peers across Monmouth County through bi-monthly virtual group training sessions to learn the basics of community grassroots activism and advocacy, and how it can be achieved in their own schools’ communities. Topics presented in the training sessions, featuring experts in that field, include, but are not limited to civics and the voting system, environmental justice, water quality, environmental careers, recycling crisis, and watershed mindfulness. Students make connections from the lessons to their local communities and learn to make real change through problem-based learning.

In addition, guest speakers, including elected officials, advocates, and activists will speak to the students to discuss successful strategies and campaigns to add real world context to the learning. To add a healthy bit of competition, Clean Ocean Action (COA) will use a point-based system to award students for their activities, leadership, collaboration, cohesiveness, stewardship and campaigns. Importantly, SEALs will help pass on their leadership and success to the community through presentations and engagement to middle schoolers and town councils. Interested high school students from eligible schools (listed earlier) should go to “Education Programs” at www.CleanOceanAction.org, contact Kristen Grazioso at 732-872-0111 or education@cleanoceanaction.org, and complete the SEAL Student Interest Form.

Hot Off The Press: Saint Mark’s Center for Community Renewal

Feeding Bodies and Souls with Help from Impact 100

By Joanne Colella

St. Mark’s kitchen from deconstruction through expansion and modernization!

October brought news from another of our 2019 Impact 100 Jersey Coast grantees, Saint Mark’s Center for Community Renewal, who shared an update with Grantee Liaison Volunteer Holly Deitz. Based at Saint Mark’s Episcopal Church in Keansburg, the Center for Community Renewal is a ministry that provides meals, pantry services, crisis counseling, health screenings, and more to individuals and families in need throughout the Bayshore community.

In 2019, Impact 100 members voted to award $110,000 to St. Mark’s for expansion and modernization of their kitchen to allow them to operate a USDA approved “soup” kitchen and extensive food pantry.

Reverend Rose Broderick reported on ways that the organization has continued forward with its programs amid the changing and challenging environment of 2020, with help from Impact 100 grant funds. The initial phase of the center’s kitchen expansion was completed and supplemental food was provided for guests on the one day it was closed. The first meal to mark the grand reopening of the new, modernized kitchen and equipment was served the day before the COVID shutdown.

Since the feeding ministry is considered an essential service, steps were taken to change its short-term operations in response to the pandemic. The social breakfast service was eliminated and takeout meals were implemented seven days a week, all served outdoors. The number of volunteers was reduced significantly from more than 100 to less than 10 to create a safe “CCR Bubble” and delivery service to senior and low-income housing helped reduce the number of visitors, even as the number of lunches served increased by nearly 75%. Initially, the food pantry moved to prepackaged items before returning to offering choices with outdoor service. The county food bank arranged for local area restaurants to keep staff employed by preparing meals for the ministry, allowing the Saint Mark’s small crew to focus on essentials.

To date, seven of the center’s cooking teams are back to prepare meals again onsite, with an increased number of younger family teams and some understandable hesitancy among volunteers of retirement age. As the pandemic continues, the next phase of utilizing the Impact 100 funds has been focused on redesigning the center’s outside facilities to create a safe dining space for everyone. A group of Impact 100 volunteers built well-spaced outdoor picnic tables, most pantry distribution was moved outside, and canopy tents were purchased to create shelter from sun, rain, and snow.

Other grant-supported work at the facility includes enhancements such as replacing the old window air-conditioning units with a new HVAC system and installing new windows that open to allow fresh air and adequate circulation, which is critical for reopening. Local contractors, who are also center guests with families to support, have been hired to do needed outside maintenance and repairs.

In addition to the structural work being done, the center staff is also discussing programs and services for adults and children, both short-term and long-term, that the community will need during and after the pandemic.

The message from Saint Mark’s Center for Community Renewal was heartfelt: “We continue to be so very grateful to the support provided by the women of Impact 100 Jersey Coast. Financial support is critical. However, an unexpected benefit from this grant has been access to newfound friends who have helped us with strategic planning, marketing, and sustainability envisioning, but more importantly, support and friendship during this difficult time. Thank you for all you do to support us in this mission.”

Hot Off The Press: Court Appointed Special Advocate for Children (CASA) of Monmouth County Grantee Update

By Joanne Colella

We continue to be inspired and impressed by the determination and adaptability of our grantees to continue their vital services amid the challenges of COVID! In early September, Impact 100 Grantee Liaison volunteer Judie Saunders received an update from Cindi Van Brundt, Executive Director of our 2019 grant recipient, Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Monmouth County. CASA volunteers are appointed by judges to advocate for abused and neglected children in foster care to ensure they don’t get lost in an overburdened legal and social service system, receive the services they need, and find safe, permanent homes.

champions-for-kids-challengeCindi reported that CASA has benefited greatly from the new development hire that was funded by Impact 100 and is creating a new virtual fundraising campaign, using personalized webpages to solicit donations for special fundraising challenges.

CASA is on schedule with volunteer training, which is being done virtually. The sheriff’s office also implemented socially distant measures to accommodate the fingerprinting process during COVID so that volunteers could be fingerprinted, matched with a child, and supervised by CASA team leaders.

Since COVID restrictions also prevent in-person visits, CASA advocates have maintained frequent contact with their assigned kids through video conferencing. The volunteers have become adept at finding creative ways to establish relationships and keep the children engaged and motivated, including using puppets for the younger ones, reading books, and tutoring with flashcards.

CASA volunteers have stayed connected with weekly virtual meetings which have also included stakeholders from other organizations with whom they communicate so they can continue to coordinate services for the children and families. More recently, CASA has held some socially-distant volunteer meetings outdoors in a park, providing a refreshing opportunity for in-person contact. You can see a video from one Thompson Park meeting here:

This was their first socially distanced Air and Share. They were delighted to finally see so many of their volunteer advocates in person again!

Due to the COVID-19 state budget crisis, funding for the CASA program has been cut from the State of New Jersey’s supplemental budget, forcing CASA to cut staff and services while continuing to be a voice to speak on behalf of New Jersey’s most vulnerable children – and making the funds that the Impact 100 members provided through our grant even more vital than ever before! We applaud CASA for all of their hard work and survival during an unprecedented crisis and will continue to highlight their ongoing need for funds and support from the community.

“It has been a time of great learning and appreciation for us to know that there are so many dedicated professionals and volunteers who, even though they are struggling with their own personal issues, continue to work so diligently on behalf of our kids,” said Cindi, “and for Impact 100 members, we hope it’s rewarding to hear about these achievements that their grant has made possible!”

Remember to save the date for the Impact 100 Annual Meeting on November 17, 2020 when you’ll see more updates from CASA in our brand new 2019 Grantee Update Videos which will be premiered that night! In the meantime, learn more about CASA and our other grantees here and check out their Wish List here!

Hot Off The Press: Asbury Park Music Foundation Grantee Update

Asbury Park Music Foundation Beat Bus

We are so excited to share this update from the 2019 Grant Recipient Asbury Park Music Foundation with you all! It is incredible how much they’ve accomplished so far with their Impact grant despite the very challenging circumstances.

The APMF #BeatBus is our mobile classroom; since schools have been closed and classes have become virtual, our students are learning differently, but they’re still ‘on board,’ even if we can’t be there with them in person.

While the program launched a month behind schedule due to more logistical requirements than anticipated and slower hiring of additional staff due to delayed background checks due to COVID, it quickly accelerated once launched and they even completed one creative project planned for 6 weeks in less than two weeks!

As Program Director Ryan Gaumond shared, “while we initially planned on rolling out remote learning in the later development of the program, COVID-19 has since pushed us to quickly start integrating blended learning practices immediately. This challenge has turned into a huge advantage for our program. Engaging students in remote collaborative projects is helping to minimize feelings of isolation and alleviate the stress caused by COVID.”

Check out this impressive list of accomplishments made possible thanks to Impact funding you all awarded!

  • Students received a standing ovation at the Paramount Theater for their “We Are Rising” Video/Live Production, which reached +1500 audience members. The collaboration project with the AP schools for Black History Month featured:
    –  Historical Lesson of Asbury Riots
    –  Collaborative, student-created musical composition across schools
    –  Field trip recording session at Lakehouse Recording Studio
    –  Hands-on music video shoots, including an on-location field trip to Asbury Lanes
  • Tribute to Class of 2020: Students completed a graduation video and are in the development of APMF’s first virtual music production. This video is one example of a student project that evolved due to COVID. Asbury Park High School was planning a virtual graduation and wanted to present a tribute to its students through media. Following is the URL of the student-produced video created for the community.

Watch the tribute here!

 

  • Project-Based Curriculum has been developed. Accelerated the expansion of the program’s curriculum to include more topics such as Virtual Reality, 3.D. modeling, Augmented Reality, and Interactive Design. This expansion into new technologies was originally anticipated for year 2 but was accelerated into the program given the challenge of teaching audio tech, which is hard to do virtually and was originally intended to support live music performances.
  • Audio, Video, Technology & Classroom equipment has been purchased. COVID has put a halt on some aspects of the intended programming, however, students are back in the classroom and are also being encouraged to work on project deliverables outside of class time, while offered remote support by their instructors.
  • The Asbury Park Music Foundation space has been redesigned including room painted and modular workstations installed. Both APMF and Boys and Girls Club are ready to host classes when social distancing rules are scaled back.
  • Professional volunteers have been identified at key businesses in Asbury Park to integrate into project-based lessons. In response to restrictions due to COVID, local musicians are being integrated into online collaboration projects.
  • Student recruitment goals have already been surpassed! A collaboration with the AP schools attracted a large base of 20 students who were onboarded into projects prior to COVID and further outreach is now underway thanks to the transition to online learning (an additional 10 students to date).
  • Wonderful World Project: With the reopening of the APMF space last month, their Music Business & Technology program is now being offered both virtually and in-person! They’re able to offer the program thanks to the grant that they received from Impact 100 Jersey Coast earlier this year! WATCH NOW!