Local agency honors its volunteers

Project Self-Sufficiency honored its many volunteers photo provided

Newton — Volunteers and representatives from local businesses and organizations were recognized for their outstanding efforts in support of Project Self-Sufficiency at the agency’s annual Mosaic Awards ceremony. The event recognizes individuals, schools, civic groups, businesses and non-profit organizations which have provided invaluable assistance to the agency during the previous year. A special President’s Award was given to Project Self-Sufficiency staff member Patrice Green in recognition of her years of service. Several dedicated volunteers were welcomed into the Louise E. Murphy Center for Volunteerism Circle of Leaders. Project Self-Sufficiency is a non-profit agency which specializes in services for low-income families in Sussex, Warren and Hunterdon counties.
“The Mosaic Awards honors the individuals and organizations that have been instrumental in helping us to pursue our mission throughout the year,” said Deborah Berry-Toon, Executive Director of Project Self-Sufficiency. “This event recognizes that even the smallest contributions can combine with the efforts of others to have a powerful impact on the community. The lives of thousands of local families have been changed for the better because of the thoughtfulness and generosity of these individuals.”
Staff member Patrice Green has held a variety of roles at Project Self-Sufficiency during her 17-year tenure, working with the Project Launch Newton after school program, home visitation services, career center, human resources, and most recently coming up with the idea for PSS Journey, the agency’s new mobile services vehicle. “Pat’s vision and dedication to the individuals served by Project Self-Sufficiency has been truly inspiring,” said Berry-Toon.
Several longstanding volunteers and businesses were inducted into the Circle of Leaders, under the umbrella of the Louise E. Murphy Center for Volunteerism, including Wendy Adams, Kimberly Burnett, Holly George, Kay Kleindienst, Claudia Kunath, John Mathews, Jacky Murphy, Alicia Shearer, Mary Spector and Stephanie Sumpman.
Wendy Adams and Kimberly Burnett were honored for significant contributions to human resources and the Central Intake program. Kay Kleindienst was thanked for her support in a variety of areas, including the Season of Hope Toy Shp. Hinkley Auto Sales owner John Mathews was recognized for his years of support to the agency’s auto donation program, as well as his annual contributions to the Thanksgiving food drive.
Four area designers were thanked for their contributions to A Taste of Talent, including Patti Bruterri, Holly George, Jacky Murphy and Alicia Shearer. The Chatterbox Drive In owner Don Hall was acknowledged for his support of A Taste of Talent and the annual Season of Hope toy drive. Kelly Hautau was recognized for donating flowers to A Taste of Talent year after year. Pattycakes owner Patty Gozdenovich was also thanked for supporting A Taste of Talent. Businesswoman Francesca Fazzolari was lauded for her many contributions to the agency, including the development of the inaugural A Taste of Talent.
Mary Spector and Claudia Kunath were honored for their involvement with the agency’s community gardens as well as their work with the Little Sprouts Early Learning Center.
Former staff members Stephanie Sumpman and Wendy Wares were singled out for their ongoing dedication to the agency’s programs, including assistance with events and the community gardens.
Several musicians and musical organizations were lauded for performing at the Season of Hope Toy Shop and A Taste of Talent, including Blair Academy, Bob Charlton, the Children’s Chorus of Sussex County, John Pachnos, Elisa Schaffer, and the Skylands Dulcimer String Band.
Businesswoman Sara Megletti was acknowledged for her involvement with many agency programs including Project Launch Newton and the Breast Cancer Survivor Event. Graham Pelton representative Jacqueline Sullivan was thanked for her guidance with agency fundraising initiatives.
Social service representatives who have worked closely with Project Self-Sufficiency were recognized, including Kathy Baklarz, Sussex County Special Child Services, and Donna Buchanan, Morris-Sussex-Warren Employment & Training Services.
Jennifer Gardner, Sussex County YMCA, Terri Johnson and Donna Snyder, Newton School District, were thanked for their assistance with Project Launch Newton. Additional educators who were recognized were Mary Decker, Newton School District; Sister Isabel Garza, Camp Auxilium; Executive County Superintendent for Sussex & Warren Counties, Rosalie Lamonte; Cedar Mountain School Principal Rosemary Gebhardt; and Sussex County Community College Health Sciences Grant Liaison Theresa Siebert.
Individuals and organizations which have assisted with the implementation of the New Jersey Youth Corps program were thanked, including Lorraine Hannan, Gary Larson, Sussex County Fairgrounds, Jake Lighten, Homestead Rehabilitation & Health Center, Peter Mahler, and Mel Moskowitz. Retired State Trooper Wendy Cooney was singled out for her support of the New Jersey Youth Corps, along with other agency programs including the Enough Abuse campaign and the breast health education program.
Sussex County attorney Steve McNally was thanked for his years of service to Project Self-Sufficiency’s legal education program.
Students from the Newton Interact Club were acknowledged for their volunteer efforts with agency events, like the Halloween Spooktacular and the Spring Fling.
Two local politicians, George Graham and Richard Vohden, were thanked for their support of Project Self-Sufficiency’s programs as well as their willingness to don Santa suits for the Season of Hope Toy Shop, the annual Holiday Party and visits to the Little Sprouts Early Learning Center.
Project Self-Sufficiency is celebrating its thirtieth year of providing services to families in the New Jersey counties of Sussex, Warren and Hunterdon. Programs include career guidance, computer training, help with obtaining a high school diploma, parenting skills classes, legal assistance and education, financial workshops, health education, childcare and family activities. The agency offers help around the holidays, formal dresses during prom season, and assistance with emergency basic needs, such as food and clothing to its participants. Most services are free; many are open to the public. Volunteers are needed year-round. To volunteer, or to find out more about Project Self-Sufficiency, visit www.projectselfsufficiency.org or call 973-940-3500 or 844-807-3500.