Follow by Email

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Resource Fair Assists those with Special Needs Children


Parents, educators and caregivers recently came together to identify resources and offer support for special needs individuals of all ages at a unique gathering on the Newton campus of Project Self-Sufficiency.  Titled “Special Needs Across the Lifespan” the event addressed issues impacting education, nutrition, health and wellness, housing, workplace, and recreation opportunities for infants, children, teens and adults with special needs.  Workshops, seminars, guest speakers and activities for children were available to participants.  The event was co-sponsored by the Sussex County Family Success Center and Project Sussex Kids, the Sussex County Council for Young Children.


“Caring for a special needs child or adult can be complicated and overwhelming,” commented Project Self-Sufficiency Program Coordinator Haley McCracken commented.  “Through our work with social service organizations and schools in the community, we identified a need for a one-stop resource center to help parents and caregivers navigate the wide variety of emotional, logistical and financial situations they encounter on a day-to-day basis.  This resource fair is a great place to start that process.”


Motivational speaker and life coach Diane Lang kicked off the event with a discussion about the dual practices of Positive Parenting and Mindfulness when parenting an individual with special needs.  Project Self-Sufficiency staff member Haley McCracken, along with Kathy Baklarz, Sussex County Special Child Services, and Jennifer Escala, DAWN Center for Independent Living, offered a presentation for those with preschool-aged children which focused on the incorporation of a Medical Home Toolkit for record-keeping and the development of Individual Education Plans.


Issues to be expected during the school years were discussed at a break-out session by Tammy Miller, Hopatcong School District Director of Special Services along with education experts Ria Smith and Kathy Nauta.  Challenges faced during adolescence were addressed by Patti Nugent, Sussex County Community College, Heather Church, DAWN Center for Independent Living, and Rena George, New Jersey Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services.  The group touched on supportive programs for those with developmental disabilities which are available at area high schools and colleges.  Janis Woersching, SCARC, and Carrie Parmalee, Intensive Family Support Services, discussed the resources available in the community for adults with mental health issues and vocational needs.


“We are fortunate to have significant resources in our community for children and adults with special needs, and this inaugural event helped parents, educators and caregivers to access the information they need to make informed decisions about the health and welfare of the individuals in their care,” noted Project Self-Sufficiency Executive Director Deborah Berry-Toon.  “We are grateful for the involvement of the social service agencies and businesses who attended, and we are looking forward to expanding on this event in years to come.”


Participants received valuable information from local businesses, schools and social service organizations including Abilities of Northwest Jersey, Inc.; Atlantic Behavioral Health; DAWN Center for Independent Living; Disability Services and Advocacy, LLC.; Division of Developmental Disabilities; Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services; East Coast Behavioral Health; Equine Tranquility Wellness Center; Family Intervention Services; Family Partners of Morris & Sussex Counties; Family Support Planning Council #1; Intensive Family Support Services; NAMI Sussex; Peace by Piece NJ, Inc.; Project Self-Sufficiency; SCARC, Inc.; Shop Rite of Newton/Shoprite of Franklin; Special Child Health Services; Sussex County Disability Services Advisory Council; Sussex County Library System; Sussex County YMCA; Sussex Macaroni Kid; TOP Soccer; and the Youth Advocate Program.

Project Self-Sufficiency has improved the lives of low-income families residing in northwestern New Jersey for more than 30 years.  The agency’s mission is to provide a broad spectrum of holistic, respectful, and comprehensive services enabling low-income single parents, teen parents, two-parent families, and displaced homemakers to improve their lives and the lives of their children through the achievement of personal and economic self-sufficiency and family stability.  Since 1986 Project Self-Sufficiency has served more than 25,000 families.  For more information about the programs and services offered by Project Self-Sufficiency, call 973-940-3500 or 844-807-3500, or visit www.projectselfsufficiency.org.  Information about the Sussex County Family Success Center can be found at www.sussexcountyfamilysuccesscenter.org.  Information about Project Sussex Kids is available at www.projectsussexkids.org.

Friday, October 12, 2018

Special Needs Resource Fair Planned for November


Parents, educators and caregivers of those with special needs are invited to attend a free Resource Fair at Project Self-Sufficiency on Saturday, November 3rd, 8:45 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.  The event will address the needs of individuals with special needs from infancy through adulthood.  Workshops, seminars, guest speakers and activities for children will be available to participants.  A light lunch and childcare will be provided.  Attendance is free; advance registration is recommended for all attendees but required if childcare will be utilized.  Registration is available on the Project Self-Sufficiency website or by calling 973-940-3500 or 844-804-3500.  Project Self-Sufficiency is located at 127 Mill Street in Newton.


Workshops at the Resource Fair, “Special Needs Across the Lifespan,” will address issues with behavior, school, nutrition, health and wellness, recreation and other topics throughout the life span of the special needs’ individual.  Motivational speaker and life coach Diane Lang will kick off the event.  The DAWN Center for Independent and Kathy Baklarz, Sussex County Special Child Services, will discuss early intervention, documenting care and the Medical Home model as part of the Preschool Years session.  Tammy Miller, Hopatcong School District Director of Special Services will be joined by Ria Smith and Kathy Nauta for a presentation about issues to expect as the child progresses through school.  Challenges faced during the Transitional Years will be addressed by Patti Nugent, Sussex County Community College, DAWN Center for Independent Living, and Rena George, New Jersey Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services.  Janis Woersching, SCARC, and Carrie Parmalee, Intensive Family Support Services, will discuss issues faced during the Adult Years.

“Through our work in the community we have encountered many families whose special needs children need support, not just during infancy, but through all stages of childhood, adolescence and adulthood,” noted Project Self-Sufficiency Executive Director Deborah Berry-Toon.  “We hope that this Resource Fair will help parents, educators and caregivers to access the information they need to make informed decisions about the health and welfare of the special needs individuals in their care.”

Participants will be encouraged to visit with representatives from local businesses, schools and social service organizations including Atlantic Behavioral Health; DAWN Center for Independent Living; NAMI; the New Jersey Regional Family Support Planning Council; Peace by Piece, LLC; SCARC; Shop Rite of Newton; Special Child Health Services; Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education (SNAP Ed); Sussex County Library; the Sussex County YMCA; and others.

Project Self-Sufficiency has improved the lives of low-income families residing in northwestern New Jersey for more than 30 years.  The agency’s mission is to provide a broad spectrum of holistic, respectful, and comprehensive services enabling low-income single parents, teen parents, two-parent families, and displaced homemakers to improve their lives and the lives of their children through the achievement of personal and economic self-sufficiency and family stability.  Since 1986 Project Self-Sufficiency has served more than 25,000 families. 

For more information about the free Special Needs Resource Fair, or to find out more about the programs and services offered by Project Self-Sufficiency, call 973-940-3500 or 844-807-3500, or visit www.projectselfsufficiency.org.

Monday, September 24, 2018

Discuss Internet Safety & Cyber Bullying at a Free Seminar


Parents and community members are invited to discuss internet safety and cyber bullying at a meeting of the Project Sussex Kids General Council, Wednesday, October 3rd, 9:00 a.m.  Participants will also receive an update on Project Sussex Kids activities.  The presentation will be facilitated by Project Self-Sufficiency Case Manager Matthew Berke who has an extensive background in internet surveillance, law enforcement and adolescent crisis management.  Refreshments will be provided; childcare is available upon request.  Project Self-Sufficiency is located at 127 Mill Street in Newton.

Project Sussex Kids, the Sussex County Council for Young Children, has been designed by the New Jersey Department of Children & Families to address the needs of local families who are expecting or who are parenting young children.  County Councils for Young Children have been established in all of the state’s 21 counties to bring together parents, caregivers, as well as health, education and social service professionals to enhance communication, coordination and collaboration of services.  The Project Sussex Kids General Council Meeting is free and open to the public, but registration is required.  To attend the General Council Meeting, call Project Self-Sufficiency at 973-940-3500 or 844-807-3500.  Additional information is available at www.projectsussexkids.org.