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A Bump, Blow, or Jolt to Your Child’s Head Can Be a Cause for Concern
Did You Know?
·The brain does not finish developing until age 25
·An injury of any severity to the developing brain can disrupt a child’s development, and may result in restrictions in school and participation in activities.
·Brain injuries/concussions can occur with rough play between friends/siblings, a fall on the playground or during backyard play.
·Most children are resilient and recover well, but some effects can show up later in life. Some signs or symptoms may appear immediately after the traumatic event, while others may appear days or weeks later.
·Brain injuries/concussions can cause health, thinking, and behavioral changes that affect learning, self-regulation, and social participation.
Always see your doctor if your child has received a blow to the head that concerns you or causes behavioral changes.
Click here for a fact sheet to help your child be successful at school following a brain injury/concussion.
Find out more ways that you can learn about brain injury or receive assistance with some local resources on Bergen ResourceNet.org:
·Bergen County Brain Injury Support Group
·Work Skills Program for Individuals Living with Brain Injury
Report to Congress on the Management of TBI in Children. Center for Disease Control and Prevention
Children – What to Expect. Brain Injury Association of America
Traumatic Brain Injury - Mayo Clinic
Connecting with Our Communities Service Project!
The Children's Interagency Coordinating Council is organizing an opportunity for teens to get involved in "Connecting with Our Communities Service Project" for National Mental Health Month. The purpose of the event is to raise awareness of the resources available to support youth and their families.
Teens groups will do the following:
- Identify, research, and define a mental/emotional health issue that negatively impacts teen wellbeing.
- Use www.BergenResourceNet.org to identify a Bergen County community resource that provides services, programs, treatment, supports for teens with the chosen issue.
- Schedule a visit to the 'adopted' organization to learn more about their services firsthand (tour, interview how they address their topic, how to access services of that resource, etc.)
- Prepare a creative presentation about the chosen issue and organization (PSA/commercial/social media/music video/art, narrative, etc.)
Project should be no longer than 7 mins in length. Project will be promoted throughout the month of May
Project developed by the Children's Interagency Coordinating Council (CIACC) of Bergen County in recognition of May is Mental Health Month
PROUD TO BE STIGMA-FREE
Child Dental Health Tips
Did You Know…?
· By the age 5, nearly 50% of children have one or more cavities.
· Dental decay in baby teeth can negatively affect permanent teeth and lead to future dental problems.
· Cavity-damaged teeth can cause serious problems such as difficulty chewing and breaking down food to extract the nutrients they need.
Having a dental professional as a resource to your support system could provide ongoing peace of mind for your entire family.
Click here to learn tips for maintaining healthy teeth!
Tips for Taking Good Care of Your Family’s Teeth:
· Brush your teeth for at least two minutes, in the morning and before bed, and be sure to focus on areas such as the gum line, hard to reach back teeth
· Floss every day: Flossing removes bacteria that are precursors for plaque/tooth decay/tooth loss.
· Avoid sugar sweetened foods and beverages that cause tooth decay. Drink plenty of water
· Limit soda: Too much acid in your mouth can eventually damage the enamel on your teeth.
· Visit the dentist every six months. to help get rid of plaque and tartar that can build up in a very short time and if not removed, could lead to gum disease.
· Use child friendly mouthwash to help control tooth decay, reduce the amount of plaque and to freshen your breath! But remember, mouthwash is in addition to brushing – a power combo!
· Change your toothbrush every 3-4 months or at least after each 6 month checkup. Older brushes won’t clean the teeth as thoroughly and could have a buildup of bacteria. If you have been sick, change it sooner.
Find out more ways that your child can improve their dental health hygiene with some local resources on the Bergen ResourceNet:
1) Center for Dentistry – Hackensack University Medical Center
2) Dental Hygiene Clinic – Bergen Community College
3) North Hudson Community Action Health Centers
4) Bergen County Wellness Discount Program
Source: Mouth Healthy website of the American Dental Association
Spreading Cheer Through the Holiday Season!
Throughout the holiday season, Bergen’s Promise team members were busy spreading cheer. In November, members of our staff participated in the Meadowlands Basket Brigade which assembled over 300 food baskets for families throughout Bergen County. In addition to assembling the care packages, they also volunteered to assist in the delivery of the baskets to homes around the County.
December was extra special as we were able to fulfill over 160 toy requests this year for our youth through the collaboration and graciousness of our employees, along with the staff of SG Companies, Henry P. Becton Regional High School’s National Honor Society Club, and Supreme Consultants.
This year was extra special as SG Companies partnered to host a Holiday Party for families on December 11th. Youth enjoyed a variety of holiday arts & crafts, refreshments, and a special visit from Santa Claus who distributed gifts. Much of this event would not have been possible without the support of the Corporate Volunteer Committee of SG Companies. SG Companies team members fulfilled 60 toy requests. As neighbors in our Hackensack location, it is a pleasure to have a partnership with a company that strongly supports our Bergen County kids and families.
The Henry P. Becton High School National Honor Society Club members fulfilled 50 toy requests.
Modern Bullying: Victim or Cyber Bully
Unfortunately bullying amongst teenagers is not a new concept. Mean comments, gossip and harassment are just a few ways teens may experience bullying, whether they are victims, perpetrators, or bystanders. So why is cyberbullying any different? Up until recently, a child may experience bullying at school and upon the end of the school day, they would be able to escape to safe place to read at home, play with neighbors/siblings, talk on the phone with a close friend or become engrossed in some other activity. Nowadays, with nearly 95% of teens being online and over 70% using more than one social media site, bullies have the ability to follow teens everywhere. (School, home, mall, vacations, etc.) Bullying of any kind can result in emotional, social, psychological and/or physical harm; so one can only imagine how trying it is for teens for dealing with bullying that follows their every move? Some teens are capable of coping with these thoughts and feelings in an appropriately effective manner, while many other teens may struggle to deal effectively with what they are experiencing.
Below is a way to recognize if your child is a cyber victim or a cyber bully:
If your child is experiencing any of the above symptoms as a result of cyberbullying, make sure to reach out for the support they need by contacting PerformCare at 1-877-652-7624.
School Supply Backpack Drive Starting this Summer...Will You Contribute?
Even though school is over, we are already planning for our families that may need assistance with school supplies in September.
You may recall from a past newsletter that last year approximately 100 Bergen's Promise youth received donated school supply backpacks. The need was spread consistently across elementary, middle and high school youth.
If your organization/agency is interested in supporting our youth with a solid start to their school year, please click here to provide your contact information for follow up details and timelines. Thank you!
Health and Safety Reminder for Youth and Families
With summer comes warm weather and sunshine, but for youth taking prescribed antipsychotic medication this change in seasons also comes with increased risk for heat-related conditions. Antipsychotic medications affect the body’s ability to regulate its temperature. So during the hot and humid weather, individuals taking antipsychotic medications need to take extra precautions to avoid heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Keep cool inside this summer by utilizing air conditioning, or by keeping blinds drawn during the warm afternoons, opening windows in the evening or at night, and spending time in cooler parts of your home. When you do go outside, avoid overexerting yourself during the warmest parts of the day, stay well-hydrated, dress in loose, light-colored clothing, and apply sunscreen. See the links below for more details on this important health and safety topic.
Shining a Light on Men’s Mental Health
During June, it is especially good to encourage the men and boys in your life to make their mental health and safety a priority. Throughout the week of June 12th, we are acknowledging Men’s Mental Health Week and how you can support the over 6 billion men that are affected by depression.
While both genders are just as likely to experience depression, men might not be as open to seeking help for depression, substance abuse or stressful events due to social norms, reluctance to talk, or downplaying symptoms. Some symptoms men may display related to depression are being very tired and irritable, lost interest in their work/family/hobbies, and difficulty sleeping.
Being someone that will listen and lend a hand can be extremely helpful in reducing any mental health stigma and helping people get the help they need. Mental Health First Aid teaches you how to identify, understand and respond to signs of mental illnesses and substance abuse disorders in your community. Contact Bergen’s Promise at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to attend, or schedule a Mental Health First Aid course in your community to raise awareness and reduce stigma around mental health issues.
In addition, there are a lot of valuable resources available in Bergen County to help. BergenResourceNet helps you easily find programs, services, groups and events available throughout Bergen County for those living with anxiety and depression or addiction.
Bergen's Promise Celebrates 15 Years on "The Fantastic Journey"
Thank You to all providers, families, and members of the community who embarked on The Fantastic Journey – A Global Tour of Bergen’s Promise last month! We are excited that you joined us to learn more about how we work with families and to help us celebrate 15 years of milestones in our organization’s development! Attendees had the opportunity to visit different destinations, interact with our team members in activities that focused on informing about the Children’s System of Care partners in each county as well as the Wraparound Child and Family Team approach to care that is the foundation of our support for families.
The Final Destination in our attendees’ journey was “Excursion Opportunities” which focused on all the collaborative opportunities we seek with community partners in areas such as Acute Care, Universities, Early Intervention Programs, Education, Juvenile Justice, and Primary Care. This area also featured our “Every Day Hero Project” which was a quilt of artwork created by our children. The artwork represented who each child defined as their hero and role model.
The event was highlighted with some of the children who have received services from Bergen’s Promise.
We hope that everybody enjoyed their time with us as we did with them! We are proud of what we have accomplished in 15 years and look forward to broadening the scope of partnership opportunities moving forward!
Mental Health Awareness Month in Full Swing In Bergen County
May is a month of many different health observances. We feel one of the most important is Mental Health Awareness. Throughout the month there are activities and resources being offered throughout the county to raise awareness and understanding of mental and emotional health issues as the medical issues they are. This clarifies existing misperceptions and reduces social barriers to medical assistance and support for those that need it.
Last week, our Community Resources Director, Kathy Werheim, facilitated a workshop at the Englewood Town Hall meeting “Mental Health: A Family Affair” hosted by the Englewood Municipal Alliance/StigmaFree Task Force. Her interactive workshop focused on activities families can do together to explore the strengths within the family that could be used to help families cope with stress.”
Check out the Mental Health Awareness Resources page on our county resource portal - Bergen ResourceNet.org – more resources are added each week! Also visit the Community Events Calendar to see what Stigma-Free and mental health awareness activities are available for you to join this month!
Bergen County Care Fair Mascot Stops By Bergen's Promise
Bergen's Promise will be sponsoring the Bergen County Care Fair that is taking place April 23rd 12-5pm at the Hilton Hotel in Hasbrouck Heights. In anticipation of this event, the BC County Care Fair Mascot, Rayna, is visit sponsors to get everybody excited. Rayna visited our Rochelle Park office and learned about the free services we provide for children ages 5-21.
Brush, Brush, Brush Your Teeth Today
Ellen Indoe, Ewelina Pazmino, and Angeline Osores, members of our Behavioral Health Home (BHH) team led an interactive presentation on oral health for 3 and 4 year olds at The Learning Place in Hackensack. The BHH team and kids enjoyed singing and dancing a catchy song that taught them how to thoroughly brush their teeth. The children also learned and got to practice flossing. This was a fun way for children to learn about healthy habits so they can maintain strong, healthy teeth as they get older.
Bergen's Promise 2016 Annual Report
As we close one year and begin a new, I encourage you to review our Annual Report to obtain a better understanding of our agency and it's contribution to community health and well-being.
Keeping Your Family Safe – From the Flu!
As we all know, the flu is one of the most common viral infections this time of year. Flu is spread when someone who’s sick sneezes or coughs, they send virus-filled droplets into the air and onto surfaces.
There are steps you can take to better protect yourself and your family from getting or spreading the flu, cold, or other communicable diseases:
- Wash hands often and do it with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds to kill any germs. It is good practice to wash hands after touching surfaces and before you eat.
- Avoid contact with individuals who are sick.
- If you feel you have to cough or sneeze, do it into your sleeve to prevent spreading the infection to other family members.
- Help to keep your immune system strong! Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids and eat a healthy balanced diet with at least 5 servings of fruits/vegetables a day!
- The single best way to prevent the flu is to get the flu vaccine each year.
Do you know the difference between flu and cold symptoms? Click here for an easy to understand symptom chart. You should contact your doctor if you experience symptoms, or your symptoms change or get worse. There are prescription antiviral medicines that may help.
‘Tis the Season to be in the Spirit of Giving
The holiday season is a great opportunity to be thankful for everything we have as well as give back to those in need. Throughout November and December, Bergen’s Promise actively gathered donations for some of our families needing additional support through the holidays.
For our Thanksgiving drive, we were grateful for the donations received from Normandy Real Estate Partners, the owner of our Hackensack office building, and SG Footwear, Hackensack. Their thoughtful support assisted ten of our families in their Thanksgiving celebration.
In early December, Bergen’s Promise placed over 100 “Giving Ornaments” on the wall of the lunchroom of our offices. The Bergen’s Promise staff demonstrated their continual support of Bergen County youth and families by purchasing toys, gift cards, and winter coats for children of all ages.
Bergen’s Promise wishes all families, partners, and staff a very happy and healthy holiday season!
If you or one of your community organizations would like to support our families by participating in one of our holiday drives next year, please email: email@example.com
SG Footwear Supporting Bergen’s Promise Families One “Step” at a Time
“Chance made us Neighbors. Hearts made us Friends.” After six months of being the new organization on the block, Bergen’s Promise has been fortunate enough to build relationships with some of our neighbors at our Hackensack location. One of those companies has been SG Footwear. SG Footwear is one of the world's largest designers, producers and marketers of seasonal footwear, as well as athletic and casual styles. Their products are sold in leading retailers, both domestically and abroad.
While riding in the building elevator one afternoon, Joanna Henry, Care Manager Supervisor, and Chris Cartwright, SG Footwear Sales Executive, sparked up a conversation. The topic became about all the support that Bergen’s Promise provides for children and families in Bergen County. As a result of this conversation, SG Footwear generously donated a large amount of shoes, slippers, sandals, and more for Bergen’s Promise families. They even extended their generosity during the holiday season by donating to our Thanksgiving Dinner Drive.
SG Footwear’s generosity is greatly appreciated by the agency as well as the families that will benefit from their donations this holiday season.
Behavioral Health Home Guest Lectures William Paterson University Students
This semester, Director of Health Services, Jan Schlaier, Edc.D, FNP-BC and Health/Wellness Educators, Amy Faus, MPH, CPH, CHES and Angeline Osores BS had the opportunity to serve as guest lecturers at William Paterson University. Dr. Corey Basch, Ed.D., MPH, CHES Associate Professor in the Department of Public Health, asked if members of the Behavioral Health Home team could present to her Program Planning class. This course introduces students to public health program planning methods with an emphasis on planning health promotion/health education interventions. Strategies and techniques for community-based needs assessment are presented. Students will develop and use the skills needed to plan for the design, development, implementation, and evaluation of strategies to improve individual and community health. William Paterson University’s Bachelor of Science in Public Health is accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH), one of just a handful of standalone undergraduate public health programs in the US to receive this distinction.
The Behavioral Health Home (BHH) team members shared their experience and expertise from the process of developing Bergen’s Promise Behavioral Health Home. The lecture provided undergraduate students case examples of how public health program planning theories and best practices can be applied in the field when working with youth with co-occurring behavioral and medical health challenges.
“The presentation was outstanding and it covered exactly what I was hoping for. We will certainly be looking forward to doing this again.” said Dr. Basch.
Said one student, “Thank you for coming and sharing your program; it was a great presentation and a tremendous help for us. Sharing your experience and methodology gave me a broader view of public health.”
Angeline, a recent William Paterson graduate and current Health/Wellness Educator at Bergen’s Promise, was able to recognize the value from both perspectives. “It is different when you have an external person come into the classroom and explain what you are learning in class and show you how it is applied in the real world setting. Being a recent graduate at William Paterson gave me the necessary tools to advance my Public Health career.”
Bergen’s Promise team members are always willing to collaborate in the preparation of future health, wellness and social service professionals. Contact Community Resources if you’d like to have a guest lecturer in one of your courses. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
You are NOT alone!
Connecting Loved Ones with Recovery Support in Bergen County
Recovery requires a lifestyle change that happens overtime and with a lot of support so it’s important to have realistic expectations. Connecting loved ones with different resources that can support them on their road to recovery can be very helpful.
Start with a simple conversation with our loved one in a quiet, private place when both of you are calm and relaxed. This conversation, according to the National Council for Behavioral Health, will help you to:
- Understand your loved one’s perception of their addiction
- Consider the person’s readiness to talk about their addiction.
- Express your point of view by using assertive “I” statements, like “I am concerned because I have noticed that…”
- Identify and discuss their behavior without judgment as addiction has nothing to do with someone’s character.
- Let them know that you are concerned and willing to support them.
In Bergen County, there are numerous programs dedicated to helping aide in recovery. For example, New Pathway Counseling offers the SOAR FIT program which provides a positive, sober, goal oriented environment, where individuals will develop social skills, coping strategies, independence and mastery of self. Learn more about the SOAR FIT program by reading their flyer.
To help reduce triggers for drug use in your home, use the Bergen ResourceNet to find a local Police Department Prescription Drug Drop Box. Consumers from anywhere in New Jersey can visit the boxes seven days a week, to drop off unneeded and expired medications. This is a great way to create a supportive environment in your home for loved ones in recovery.
These are just a few of the programs that can be found at Bergen ResourceNet. For families with a loved one in recovery, check out what else the Bergen ResourceNet has to offer in your area.
Supporting Bergen’s Promise Students through our Annual Backpack Drive
Bergen’s Promise has officially launched our Annual School Supply Drive. This event is done to help support our families in need to purchase supplies for the upcoming school year. Our staff maintains a list of school items to ensure that students get exactly what they need to start the school year right.
Needed supplies include:
- Backpacks (elementary through high school)
- Two pocket Folders
- Notebooks (3 subject,
- Binders, Case It portfolio
- Calculator TI-30XIIS
- Art Supplies (youth scissors, glue sticks, markers, colored pencils)
- Check/Amex-Visa gift cards/Cash Donations
Want to help? We invite the Bergen County community to assist us in supporting the educational supply needs of approximately 100 of our youth. If you would like to make a contribution of supplies or money, please contact email@example.com. Our complete wish list can be found on Amazon (https://amzn.com/w/33V1BFJAROGNB). If purchasing on Amazon, make sure to notify via email our Community Resources team so we can expect the shipment. Please use the following shipping address:
Attn: Community Resources Dept.
218 Route 17 North, Suite 304,
Rochelle Park NJ 07662.
With your support, this School Supply Drive will be a true success. Thank you to all who contribute to this event. We are accepting donations through August 26.
Wellness Committee Hosts Smoothie Day
The Wellness Committee hosted a Smoothie Day event to kick off the week.Team members volunteered and contributed some of the delicious ingredients and equipment to whip up the fruitful refreshers for all. Homemade smoothies take only a few minutes to prepare in a blender. A smoothie is a delicious and easy way to get your fruit and vegetable servings into your day! Great for a nutrient dense breakfast or snack!
Click here for the recipes so you too can try the Energy Boosting Smoothie, the Immunity Boosting Smoothie, and/or the Stress-Relieving Smoothie. Try one, try them all!
Words from our Families 2016
Hear what families had to say about their experience using Bergen's Promise! Learn more about what we do for families by visiting our Message to Parents and Caregivers page.
Bergen's Promise and Mr. Cory's Cookies Host “Friendraiser” at Englewood Night Market!
Mr. Cory’s Cookies, the premier cookie company founded by 12-year-old CEO and Englewood native Cory Nieves, will host a “friendraiser” for the benefit of Bergen’s Promise families at Englewood Night Market on Tuesday, July 12, 2016 from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. in Englewood, New Jersey. Bergen’s Promise is the designated Care Management Organization (CMO) for Bergen County as part of the New Jersey Children’s System of Care. “Bergen’s Promise uses a Wraparound approach with families. We work from the strengths of the family to help them create a Child and Family Team that links the families with supports during their child’s journey from challenge to success and beyond,” explains Dean Pastras, the Executive Director of Bergen’s Promise.
During the “friendraiser,” Englewood Night Market attendees will have the opportunity to enjoy various flavors of Mr. Cory’s delicious all-natural cookies, while raising funds that will be used to purchase school supplies for Bergen’s Promise families in need. Mr. Cory and his mother, Lisa Howard, were recipients of the organization’s services. The “friendraiser” is being held to raise funds and donate a portion of proceeds to benefit other families involved in the organization that has given so much to them.
“Bergen Promise doesn't leave you behind. It(their Wraparound approach) helps you, motivates you and enables you to get to the next step while overcoming life's challenges. It can be very hard being a single mom and not having a support system. My Child and Family Team through Bergen's Promise provided that support system and I am grateful for the services I received. Bergen Promise goes above and beyond from their services to their staff,” said Howard.
Admission to Englewood Night Market is free, however attendees who want to eat at the event need to purchase Food Sample Tickets to redeem food from the many vendors present. Food Sample Tickets can be pre-purchased online or at the event. Please note, CASH WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED by the event food vendors, only the beverage vendors will accept cash. The only acceptable forms of payment are credit cards, Apple Pay, Google Wallet and Samsung pay. Each ticket is used to redeem food from participating vendors, including Mr. Cory’s Cookies. For more information about Englewood Night and to purchase tickets, please visit http://www.northjerseyevents.com/nightmarket
Summer Safety for the Whole Family
Summer is a time where children can be more prone to injury. They are playing summer sports and have long exposure out in the sun. June is National Safety Month to help others be aware of the proper precautions to protect themselves this summer. The more information families learn about how to prevent illnesses and injuries, the less likely they will occur.
There are a wide range of potential dangers and safety precautions that occur during the summer. Below are just a few ways to keep your family safe this summer:
Helmet Safety – Helmets can save a child’s life and prevent serious brain injury. In order to properly protect the head, it is important the helmet fit properly. A child should be wearing a helmet whenever they are on bicycles, scooters, skates, rollerblades, and skateboards. The National Safety Helmet Institute provides guidelines for choosing the proper helmet.
Water Safety – For parents, it is important to always supervise children when they are swimming. Even the best swimmers are capable of drowning. Also, be aware that drowning could occur in a variety of water platforms such as bathtubs, pools, lakes, rivers, and beaches so remain vigilante and don’t become distracted. Make sure your chair is facing your child and to check in with how they’re doing every so often. In the case of the beach, be aware of the undertow which can pull people further off land. If you find yourself caught in undertow, don’t fight the current. Swim in a direction following the shoreline. When out of the current, swim towards shore. If you can’t swim out of the current, float or calmly tread water. When out of the current, swim towards shore. If you are still unable to reach shore, draw attention to yourself by waving your arms, and yelling for help. As a precaution, remain a safe distance in the water and make sure to hold your child’s hand or keep them within arm’s length.
Sun Safety – The time when you are most at risk for sunburn is between 10AM to 6PM. It is recommended that sunscreen be applied 30 minutes before going out in the sun as well as reapplied every two hours. Swimming, sweating or toweling off could require more applications. For optimal sun protection, look for sunscreen with UVA and UVB protection as well as a minimal SPF of 15. The shade and clothes are also good ways to protect your skin from the sun.
Dehydration and Heat Safety – Water is vital to maintaining a healthy body. By playing in the sun, there will be a lot of sweating and fluid loss. Be sure to provide plenty of fluids before, during, after being in the heat. Don’t wait until becoming thirsty to hydrate. For more information, there are proper hydration guidelines available regarding recreational activities and youth sports.
Bugs and Tick Safety – Insects can carry a lot of diseases. Mosquitos are especially active during the summer months, especially at night. With the Zika virus becoming an increasing concern, it is important to make sure to protect your family by wearing bug repellant, lighting citronella candles in your backyard, or wear clothes that cover your arms and legs. Also be careful in the grass as these are popular spots for bugs and ticks. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has some useful tips related to protecting your family from mosquito and tick bites with safe products.
Active Families Build a Healthy Future
Maintaining a healthy and active lifestyle offers short-term and long-term benefits for children and families. The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, issued by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, recommend that children and adolescents aged 6-17 years should have 60 minutes (1 hour) or more of physical activity each day.
According to the , research shows links to higher grades, better school attendance, a sound night’s sleep, improved social skills, stress relief and improved behavior. This demonstrates how a little exercise can promote success in all aspects of a child’s life.
May is National Health and Fitness Month. which makes it even more important to get active with your kids!
There are countless ways to enjoy physical activity together as a family. Check out the Let’s Move website. Here are some simple ideas to get you started:
· Play tag, swim, toss a ball, jump rope, hula-hoop, dance to music or even play a dancing video game. It doesn’t have to be sports—just get your family moving!
· Have ‘happy feet’ during commercial breaks during any TV time – let the kids alternate choosing the activity that everyone will do throughout the commercial breaks! Lots of giggling fun!
· Celebrate special occasions—like birthdays or anniversaries—with something active, such as a hike, a swim at a local lake or park, volleyball or soccer game or playing Frisbee at the park.
· Bring some fun to household chores like cleaning, vacuuming, washing the car, and yard work by pumping up some upbeat music in the background!
· Park farther away and count with your children the number of steps from the car to your destination. Write it down and see if you can park even farther away on your next stop.
· Create an obstacle, or field day course in your backyard. The kids can come up with creative stations! There are many suggestions provided in a Google search.
· Plant a kitchen garden together to reap the benefits of fresh food by your own hand!
· Try a Scavenger hunt – Letterboxing - Geocaching
o Scavenger hunt - You can make it a theme or have different clues set up throughout your house, yard or neighborhood.Create riddles/clues that will direct the person to the next location. Time the event as an extra challenge!
o Letterboxing combines navigational skills, hiking and rubber stamp artistry in a fun "treasure hunt" style outdoor quest. Search by state/county to find a wide variety of adventures to suit all ages and experience levels.
o Geocaching is a similar type of adventure but geared toward those who prefer to use technology for their quests.
Bergen's Promise Celebrating Children's Mental Health Day!
Caring for the Well-Being of our Team Members
The Roman Poet Virgil once said “The greatest wealth is health.” Health and wellness are a fundamental part of our lives. The Bergen’s Promise volunteer Wellness Committee hosted their first Wellness Fair on March 11. Staff members were able to explore various dimensions of wellbeing by visiting any of the twelve stations that focused on proper eating, exercise, massage therapy, insurance, dental, CPR, and much more.
According to Joanna Henry, Care Manager Supervisor, “It was truly a wonderfully revitalizing event and one that we look forward to participating in again in the near future.”
A special thanks to all of the Wellness Committee members and following vendors present to provide the opportunity for our staff to enjoy some self-care moments:
· Blink Fitness
· Blood Pressure Screenings by Wellness Committee
· CPR Station provided by Wellness Committee & AHA
· Delta Dental
· Hackensack University Medical Center
· Horizon Insurance
· Montclair State University Audiology Clinic
· NVA Vision
· Shop Rite- Dietician
· Valley Hospital
Thank you Social Workers!
March 15th, 2016 -Today we celebrate World Social Work Day. This day is an opportunity to recognize the important contributions social workers make in our communities. Bergen’s Promise recognized our social workers by wearing black and white. We appreciate everything they do to help youth and families.
The Bergen’s Promise care management team has many social workers. Their experience is maximized in their coordination of Child and Family Teams. This wrapping of services around families helps them cope with issues in their everyday lives, and/or better manage the emotional, behavioral, substance, developmental or intellectual condition they are living with.
If you have a background in social work and a passion for working with youth and families, Bergen’s Promise could be the right place for you! We are currently hiring Care Managers and Care Manager Supervisors. Visit our Career Opportunities page to learn more.
In a Healthy Relationship...
Dating can be a very unpredictable experience. According to LoveisRespect.org, one out of three adolescents has experienced verbal, physical, emotional, or sexual abuse from a dating partner. There are several building blocks to healthy relationships:
· Communicate. In a healthy relationship, if something is bothering you, you can tell your partner. It is safe to express your feelings, wants and needs and you know your partner will listen/respect what you have to say.
· Compromise. Disagreements are a natural part of healthy relationships, but it’s important that you find a way to compromise if you disagree on something. Try to resolve conflicts in a fair and rational way. Meet each other half way.
· Be Supportive. Offer reassurance and encouragement to your partner. Also, let your partner know when you need their support. Healthy relationships are about building each other up, not putting each other down.
· Respect for Interdependence. Healthy relationships require space. Just because you’re in a relationship, doesn’t mean you have to share everything, think the same way, and/or constantly be together. It is healthy to see each other as separate from each other, but also connected. Healthy relationships leave room for each of you to go out with your friends without each other present. It is important to continue to participate in individual activities you enjoy. No need to share passwords to your email, social media or phone in trusting, respectful relationships.
· Boundaries and Trust. By setting boundaries together, you can both have a deeper understanding of the type of relationship that you and your partner want. Creating boundaries is not a sign of secrecy or distrust, it’s an expression of what makes you feel comfortable and what you would like or not like to happen within the relationship. It helps to make sure you are both ‘on the same page.’
If you’ve ever been threatened by someone, pushed, shoved, grabbed, hit or sexually assaulted, we strongly encourage you to reach out for help:
- The National Dating Abuse Helpline can offer immediate and confidential support. Call 1-866-331-9474, text "loveis" to 22522, or visit www.loveisrespect.org.
- The world of technology allows us to share our experiences and advice with one another. On February 29, Break the Cycle will promote the hastag #ChalkAboutLove. The goal is to show what love means to you through chalk art. Share your photos and videos by tagging @breakthecycleDV on Twitter. Break the Cycle is a national, non-profit organization that coordinates teen dating violence prevention education and public awareness campaigns, supports policies to promote safe and healthy relationships, and provides tools and training materials for teens, parents, and educators.
- Teen Dating Violence Prevention Resource Guide is provided by the Children’s Safety Network to provide a special newsletter on critical issue of teen dating violence.
*Dating Abuse Statistics. February 22, 2016. http://www.loveisrespect.org/resources/dating-violence-statistics/
Do you know someone, or are you between the ages of 12 and 21?
Think you know everything there is to know about drugs and alcohol?
Now’s the time to CHECK YOUR FACTS!
The week of January 25th marks National Drug & Alcohol Facts Week sponsored by the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA). Bergen’s Promise will run a campaign this week, geared toward teens that provides a quick exploration into what we think we know and don’t know about drugs and alcohol.
Each day throughout the last week of January, Bergen’s Promise will post a trivia question. Once an answer is submitted your answer to the question, you will be given an explanation of the answer as well as a variety of useful resources to explore more about that topic. You will also have the opportunity to see how your answer compared to your peers that completed the question before you.
If you are a teenager or young adult or know one who might enjoy playing the CHECK YOUR FACTS trivia this week, please forward and/or keep checking our news page each day for the latest trivia question of the day posting.
Day 1 – CHECK YOUR FACTS DAY #1
Day 2 – CHECK YOUR FACTS DAY #2
Day 3 – CHECK YOUR FACTS DAY #3
Day 4 – CHECK YOUR FACTS DAY #4
Day 5 – CHECK YOUR FACTS DAY #5
Stress-Free Family Celebrations
As enjoyable as the holiday season is, it can also become a very stressful time of year due to traveling, shopping, family commitments, and parties. The disruption of routines, unfamiliar sights, smells and increased noise in general can be especially overwhelming for children with autism and other forms of learning disability.
Here are some helpful tips to avoid becoming overwhelmed over the holidays:
- Plan ahead. Kids thrive on routines, predictability; therefore, structure is important for children especially during the holidays. It’s always helpful to advance plan for an event and travel during off-peak hours. Prepare your child about what to expect and the rewarding feeling obtained by thinking of others needs and being kind and helpful. Set guidelines for your children and remember to praise, appreciate, encourage and acknowledge their good behavior. Give relatives and guests advance notice about any particular needs of your child and how they can help you; for example: hold off on perfume/cologne, modify the gift wrap and cards so your child with fine motor skill challenges can open them easily.
- Schedule some quiet times or establish ‘quiet zones’ in your house. Children pick up on parent’s stress levels. Be mindful of how you are feeling and if you notice anyone in your family showing signs of overwhelm, take a step back, use your quiet zones and relaxation or deep-breathing techniques to help to quiet the mind and reframe the approach to the situation. Prepare a backpack of things your child finds comforting. If they get overstimulated, use a quiet zone and pull out the backpack.
- Healthy Treats and Activity - It’s easy to over-indulge around the holidays. Limit foods that can negatively impact your energy levels, for example: the refined sweets, foods with a lot of preservatives and chemical coloring. Have fresh fruit and raw veggies to be an option for snacking.
Everyone’s holiday traditions and forms of celebrating are different. Don’t become overwhelmed thinking everything needs to be perfect but rather prepare and remind yourself of the true meaning of the holidays.
Sterland, Emma. 13 Holiday Survival Tips for Your Child with Special Needs. Dec. 12, 2012. Posted on Friendship Circle
National Stress Free Holidays Month. FedSource. ComPsych Corporation. 2004.
National Stress Free Holiday Month. Georgia Department of Corrections. December 10, 2015.
Bringing Holiday Cheer to DCPP Youth!
Not every child gets the opportunity to receive a present during the holidays. This year, Bergen’s Promise partnered with the Department of Child Protection and Permanency (DCP&P) in the spirit of giving to donate toys to DCP&P youth ages 1-16 years old.
Bergen’s Promise placed 72 “Giving Ornaments” on the wall of our lunchroom from November 17th through December 4th. Our employees went above and beyond being charitable by contributing many more gifts than the tags noted. This toy drive was especially meaningful since our two agencies share a significant number of youth.
Volunteering our time, talent and/or treasure provide a sense of fulfillment and happiness, high morale and overall greater satisfaction in life. Studies even show physical and emotional health benefits associated with being charitable, such as reduced rates of stress and lower blood pressure.
Pass on the spirit of giving! Make a point this December to do a charitable act that can positively influence someone else’s life.
Bergen’s Promise wishes all our families, partners, and staff a very happy and healthy holiday!
*Mccoy, Mary. Top 10 Benefits of Charitable Giving and Donations. MoneyCrashers. Retrieved 12 7 15
‘Real Joy Comes from Doing Something Worthwhile…” — Wilfred Thomason Grenfell
Bergen’s Promise Team Gives to Others in 2015 Meadowlands Basket Brigade
November 22: This weekend, Bergen’s Promise team members volunteered at the Meadowlands Basket Brigade which helped put a Thanksgiving feast on the table of hundreds of families in Bergen County. On Sunday morning, the Bergen’s Promise team comprised of staff and their family members, worked alongside over 100 other volunteers in the warehouse of Friendship House, Hackensack to assemble Thanksgiving food trays.
The group was energized by D.J. music while assembling the care packages consisting of a 10 lb. turkey, stuffing, potatoes, gravy, corn, green beans, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, a pumpkin pie, and Hershey kisses. As the last trays were wrapped, the team members got to do ‘The Cha-Cha Slide’ among other dances to round out the morning. Some of the teams also volunteered to deliver baskets to families throughout the county.
Some of the feedback from our team:
“This was such a fun and rewarding experience to spend time with my daughter doing something so meaningful for others. It was also great to meet the family members of some of my colleagues. ”
“Me and my five year old son had a great time! We really enjoyed helping out the community. We would love to participate again next year”
“I know this helps many families who are unable to provide a traditional thanksgiving meal for their family.”
The amount of support was so overwhelming for this event that organizers had to turn away volunteers. The event is always held the weekend before Thanksgiving so consider becoming a part of the Basket Brigade in the future!
Great American Smokeout: The first day of YOUR journey to become Tobacco-Free!
November 19, 2015: Congratulations on your decision to end your use of tobacco products!
Every day without a cigarette is an accomplishment and benefits your health immediately, so make sure to reward yourself for every smoke free day. Use the money you didn’t spend on cigarettes to reward yourself.
Quitting takes persistence, desire and support. There are SO MANY resources available to support you along the way!
· CALL NJ Quitline 1-866-NJSTOPS and speak with a trained counselor.
· JOIN a Nicotine Anonymous group in your area
· FOR TEENS - TEXT for support - SmokeFree Teen offers SmokefreeTXT , a mobile text messaging program that provides 24/7 tips, advice, and encouragement to help you quit smoking.
· Mobile APP - quitSTART is a free app made for teens and adults who want to quit smoking. This app delivers individualized tips, inspiration, and challenges based on your smoking history.
· EXPLORE options for quit medications (nicotine replacement therapies) that can double your chances of quitting for good
· NETWORK - You can also let people know on Facebook, Twitter, or social media platforms that you are participating by sharing posters and other resources available from Cancer.org.
The American Cancer Society offers more steps you can take to quit smoking and provides quit-smoking programs, resources and support that can increase your chances of quitting successfully. To learn about the available tools, call 1-800-227-2345.
Living a tobacco-free lifestyle will help you live a longer, healthier life and protect the health of your family and friends – We applaud your efforts to be well!
The Great American Smokeout. November 11, 2015. http://www.cancer.org/healthy/stayawayfromtobacco/greatamericansmokeout/index supported by the American Cancer Society.
SmokeFree Teen. November 18, 2015. http://teen.smokefree.gov/?utm_source=cdc&utm_medium=button&utm_campaign=smoking_tobacco.
Preventing and Managing Diabetes Through Healthy Choices
November 2015: Bergen’s Promise Behavioral Health Home supports families of children living with diabetes. The wellness strategies used promote healthy eating behaviors and physically active lifestyles in all family members. Eating well-balanced meals and being physically active is an essential part of taking better care of yourself in general, as well as for managing diabetes. Balancing what you eat and your physical activity are key to managing diabetes. The American Diabetes Association provides an abundance of useful resources to support your food and fitness needs.
Making good food choices is a significant step toward committing to healthy habits. You can get more tips about healthy meal choices though the American Diabetes Association’s Eat Well, America! campaign. Each week, they will supply healthy recipes by famous chefs for all meals of the day. We also encourage you to share your healthy meal pictures on social media using the hashtag #MyHealthyLunch to participate in the conversation.
For the adolescents in your family, the National Diabetes Education Program (NDEP) offers a webpage geared toward teens and a publication series titled “Tips for Teens ”. Written for teens, it helps to dispel common misconceptions about diabetes.
American Diabetes Month brings all of us together to help promote healthy habits to prevent or manage diabetes. To learn more about diabetes and actively participate in National Diabetes Month, visit www.diabetes.org or call 1-800-DIABETES.
Alexandia, Virginia. The American Diabetes Association Launches Eat Well, America! Campaign during American Diabetes Month. 2 Nov. 2015. http://www.diabetes.org/newsroom/press-releases/2015/ada-launches-eat-well-america-during-adm.html
Teaming Up To Take a Stand Against Domestic Violence
October 1, 2015: Bergen’s Promise and the Bergen County Board of Social Services (BCBSS) teamed up to show their support of Domestic Violence Awareness Month by wearing purple, the official color of the campaign.
Are YOU in a healthy relationship?
Good communication is essential for establishing and maintaining a healthy relationship. Do you speak and listen with your eyes, ears and voice? Using ‘I’ messages and being aware of body language, tone and inflection while speaking to, and/or while listening to your partner shows respect and helps to avoid miscommunication. In a healthy relationship…
• You show each other mutual respect by valuing each other’s wishes and feeling.
• You give each other the benefit of the doubt to demonstrate a deeper level of trust in each other.
• You are comfortable sharing your dreams, fears, and concerns with each other non-judgmentally.
• You both are willing to acknowledge different points of view, and reach compromise.
• You take time to understand each other’s feelings and do not put each other down.
• You respect each other’s physical space and feel safe in each other’s presence.
• Both of you maintain friends, activities or hobbies outside of the relationship.
Help is available by calling 800-572-SAFE (7233). The New Jersey Statewide Domestic Violence Hotline, funded by our department -- Department of Children and Families (DCF), is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Bilingual and accessible to the deaf and hearing impaired.
For more domestic violence information and resources, including programs that provide emergency shelter, housing, advocacy, information, referral services, children's services and more visit and share the DCF Domestic Violence Services page.
For a list of Bergen County resources and more visit our Relationship/Domestic Violence Resource page.
Healthy vs. Unhealthy Relationships. (n.d.). Retrieved September 30, 2015, from http://dasas.net/dating_violence/healthy_vs_unhealthy_relationships
Fout, Debra. "Relationships: Healthy or Unhealthy." Columbus State Community College. Web. 30 Sept. 2015. http://www.cscc.edu/services/counseling/pdf/CS_Healthy vs Unhealthy Relationships.pdf
This month help us CELEBRATE that people CAN and DO RECOVER!!
September 2015: National Recovery Month, sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) raises awareness that behavioral health and substance abuse treatment can help those suffering lead healthy, meaningful lives.
Support the recovery of your friends and families!
Social support plays a major role in helping people begin and stay on their recovery journey. Peer recovery supports self-efficacy through role modeling by those who have traveled the same path. Ongoing peer recovery support can help individuals regain meaning, purpose, and positive social connections.
How can I support them?
• Practice active listening, understanding, patience, and encouragement of them in their recovery journey.
• Help to eliminate the stigma! Join the Bergen County STIGMA-FREE initiative to inform other people so they understand the facts about mental and/or substance abuse disorders as chronic illnesses that require treatment and that recovery is attainable.
• Support recovery as an ongoing process and stay involved! Make and maintain your own commitment to getting support, and continue to show that you are concerned about their successful long-term recovery.
• Share information about support groups and recovery programs to your friends and family. Considering joining your friend/family member in recovery at an open community based support meeting.
Explore a list of useful resources including treatment directories to use if you know someone living with a mental health or substance abuse issue. Click here.
National Recovery Month. September 2015. http://www.recoverymonth.gov/ supported by the U.S Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)
DID YOU KNOW...
- According to the World Health Organization (WHO), over 800,000 people die by suicide each year in the world. Experts believe that most suicidal individuals do not want to die. They just want to end the pain they are experiencing.
- Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death among 15 to 24-year-olds.
- Being there for someone at risk for suicide can be life-saving. Isolation can increase the risk of suicide, while a strong support system can help protect against it.
- An estimated 4.8 million Americans are survivors of suicide of a friend, family member or loved one. Reach out with a sympathetic, non-judgmental ear to those bereaved by suicide.
Prevent Suicide - Reach Out and Save Lives!!
September 7th through September 13th is National Suicide Prevention Week. Please join Bergen's Promise in supporting suicide prevention. Together we can reduce the number of lives shaken by a needless and tragic death.
Signs that Someone is at Risk for Suicide
The first three should prompt you to immediately call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or a mental health professional.
1. Talking about wanting to die, "wishing" one were dead or making statements about killing oneself.
2. Talking about feeling hopeless or having no reason to live.
3. Exploring ways to kill oneself, such as searching for methods online or buying a gun.
Other behaviors may also indicate a serious risk--especially if the behavior is new; has increased; and/or seems related to a painful event, loss, or change.
- Talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain.
- Talking about being a burden to others.
- Increasing one's use of alcohol or drugs.
- Appearing anxious or agitated; behaving recklessly with little regard to one's future or safety.
- Changes in one's sleeping habits.
- Becoming withdrawn, reserved or isolated.
- Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge.
- Displaying extreme mood swings.
Source: The Warning Signs for Suicide. July 2014. Suicide Prevention Resource Center supported by the U.S Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) under Grant No. 5U79SM059945.
If you, or someone you know is in crisis, call 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
There are resources available online and in your community for assessment and treatment of suicidal behaviors and their underlying causes. We encourage you to REACH OUT to put those at risk or affected by suicide in touch with help (Click here for resources).
Second Place Honors for Bergen's Promise Wellness at Work Project!
June 25, 2015 Somerset: The Behavioral Health Quality Improvement Fair is an annual event sponsored by Rutgers University Behavioral Health Care (UBHC) along with the Department of Children and Families, and the New Jersey Department of Human Services, Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services. The Quality Improvement Fair was started in 2002 as an initiative within the former UMDNJ-UBHC to encourage innovation and improvement in mental healthcare. In 2010, it expanded to a statewide competition.
Bergen's Promise Wellness at Work poster was selected from among 22 quality improvement projects submitted by mental and behavioral organizations throughout New Jersey. The purpose of the Wellness at Work project was to evaluate the efficacy of peer-driven workplace wellness activities and programming focused on holistic wellness through experiential learning. Click here to read a summary of the poster project.
Bergen’s Promise “Lights It Up Blue” for World Autism Awareness Day
April 2, 2015 Rochelle Park: Bergen’s Promise supported World Autism Awareness Day (WAAD) by donning their bluest attire. For the past six years, the organization Autism Speaks celebrates with a “Light it Up Blue” campaign for WAAD. Each year, thousands of buildings are lit up blue and events are held across the world. Many show their support by wearing blue, and on social media many people are turning their profile pictures blue along with using the hashtag #LIUB (#LightItUpBlue) to help spread awareness.
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and autism are both general terms for a group of pervasive developmental disorders. These disorders are characterized, in varying degrees, by difficulties in social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication and repetitive behaviors.
All autism disorders were merged into one umbrella diagnosis of ASD since the publication of the DSM-5 diagnostic manual in May 2013. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) 1 in 68 American children fall on the autism spectrum.
Bergen's Promise Wins New Jersey Business and Industry's Award for Excellence
October 15, 2014 Rochelle Park: Bergen's Promise was awarded the NJBIA Award for Excellence in the Business Expansion category. This award is presented to companies that have contributed to the state's economic growth through productivity enhancements, sales growth and/or the net creation of new jobs. Dean Pastras, Bergen's Promise Executive Director, proudly accepted the award on behalf of the agency. This marks Bergen's Promise second award from NJBIA, with the first award in 201.
Bergen's Promise Staff Wear Purple to Support Domestic Violence Awareness Month
October 1, 2014 Rochelle Park: October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month and purple is the official color representing Domestic Violence awareness. Since October of 1981, the first Day of Unity, millions gather throughout the country to support victims and survivors of domestic violence.
On average, 24 people per minute are victims of rape, physical violence or stalking by an intimate partner. Each day, 3 women die because of domestic violence. Domestic violence doesn't discriminate. Anyone can be a victim of domestic violence, regardless of race, age, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or economic status.
Wear purple on Wednesday, October 1, 2014 to support the Bergen County Division of Alternatives to Domestic Violence (ADV) in an annual recognition of the need to end domestic violence in our homes and communities.
For confidential counseling and referral call the Bergen County 24-hour hotline (201 336-7575). For more information, stories of survival and safety tips visit The National Domestic Violence Hotline.
Bergen's Promise Participates in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge
September 3, 2014 Rochelle Park: Bergen's Promise was challenged by Bergen Regional Medical Center to participate in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. We accepted the challenge and in turn challenge our Bergen County System of Care partners - Division of Child Protection and Permanency, Family Support Organization and Children's Mobile Response. To learn more about ALS, visit www.alsa.org.