Children’s Home Society of New Jersey has been saving children’s lives and building healthy families since 1894. They offer 54 programs throughout New Jersey and Bucks County, Pennsylvania.
Donna Pressman, president and CEO of Children’s Home Society since 1986, emphasizes CHSofNJ has maintained the same mission for more than 120 years. “We have always been focused on finding families for the children since the beginning of foster care. We want the children to have permanent families to grow up in and have a sense of well-being and safety which is met in a loving family.”
Children’s Home Society offers a unique intervention program to help parents in the interim while they figure out what is best for their child. They help them for free before abuse or neglect has a chance to happen, before the state has to intervene.
Donna adds “one solution does not fit every child’s needs. Our services are very diverse. We have greatly expanded our programs to prevent severe neglect and abuse. We start in pregnancy and throughout early childhood to include a range of parenting services.”
One such service is free pregnancy testing. “The brain starts developing in the third trimester and continues to age three. We know biologically what happens.” The earlier they can reach the children, the better results they achieve with the least amount of resources.
CHSofNJ continues to work with children throughout their young lives. They are the WIC (Women, Infants, and Children) provider for Mercer County, providing milk and food for mothers and their children, which is critical for encouraging healthy bodies.
Through 21st Century, a five-year grant, Children’s Home Society offers after-school programs in Trenton schools in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). These cutting-edge programs are led by local businesspeople who engage 5th and 6th-grade students in STEM activities. Donna explains “if you can expose them to the potentials out there, where the real world jobs exist, it encourages them to stay in school and leads them to good career choices.”
Volunteers are important to the success of the after-school STEM program running. Local corporations sign up for a day a week to lead classes in a specific topic. Other volunteers are essential for tutoring, homework help, recreational, art, dance, photography, taking small groups on field trips, and more.
Volunteers are also needed to throw parties for the children. It might seem basic, but not all children attend parties. They are very appreciative when volunteers throw a party for them, no matter what time of year it takes place. This would involve organizing the event and hosting the party. It is a chance to be very creative and have fun while putting smiles on children’s faces.
Other volunteers host Baby Bottle Collections. By filling a baby bottle with change and dollar bills, money is raised to purchase formula to feed babies, and provide basic care while they are in foster care.
These are a just a few of the volunteer opportunities available at CHSofNJ. Contact Pam Cipriano, Director of Corporate Development and Volunteerism, at 609-695-6274 ext. 156 for more information on volunteering for CHSofNJ and making a difference in children’s lives.
Children’s Home Society of New Jersey, 635 South Clinton Avenue, Trenton. 609-695-6274 or www.chsofnj.org.