Project Self-Sufficiency is delighted to have recently completed our 27th year of assisting families with achieving family stability and economic self-sufficiency. During the past year, the agency served approximately 1,700 families, welcoming nearly 15 new individuals each day. As we look back, we take pride in many of our accomplishments.
We were delighted to expand our home visitation services for low-income parents into Warren and Hunterdon counties with the addition of the Nurse-Family Partnership ® (NFP) program. The NFP program provides a licensed nurse to visit expectant mothers and new parents in their home, offering tips on prenatal care and maternal and child health and development. Along with the Healthy Families and the Parents as Teachers home visitation programs, the NFP program provides comprehensive support to new parents in the privacy of their own home and allows participating families to take advantage of all of the other services available at our Newton and Warren county sites.
Education continues to be one of the top priorities for our participants. We are thrilled that the Skylands Alternative High School program, formerly known as Youth Connections, has enabled many teens and young adults to complete their GED and enter the workforce or start college. These young people have been given the gift of hope and opportunity, and it is our goal that the cycle of intergenerational poverty stops with them.
Dedicated volunteers continue to offer invaluable support to our agency. In May, we were honored to be one of the recipients of the inaugural Blair Academy Day of Service. Over 100 students and faculty from Blair Academy, along with representatives from the Rutgers Master Gardeners of Sussex County, and generous benefactor Frances Gould Naftal, created three new vegetable gardens and potted over 100 tomato plants for our participants. The group also assembled picnic tables, spread mulch and completed other gardening projects. Several other individuals and organizations joined the effort, including Kuperus Farmside Gardens & Florist, the ladies of 3 C Sons, Cahill's Farm, Dale's Market, Heaven Hill Farms, building contractor David Makarevich, Mohawk Gardens, Sussex Honda and Intercar Mercedes Benz. All of this work was completed despite a storm which brought torrential rain to our campus all day long. We were extremely fortunate to host a steady stream of volunteer gardeners throughout the summer who tilled each bed and reaped thousands of pounds of fresh produce for distribution to our participants.
Our Leadership Council has been strengthened through the addition of several new members this year, including Patricia Kennedy, Julie Killen, William Moynihan, Lorraine Parker, Sylvia Petrillo, Susan Stark and Faith Ullmann. We are grateful for the guidance provided by the Council, as well as the Board, as we navigate the upcoming year.
With the assistance of the Leadership Council and the Board of Directors, Project Self-Sufficiency's fundraising efforts brought in a groundswell of community support during the past year. Two direct mail efforts, along with record-breaking attendance at A Taste of Talent, helped us to achieve our goals.
We are gearing up for the Season of Hope toy drive, an initiative which aims to gather 20,000 items for children of all ages for distribution at the annual toy shop in December. However, it should be noted that every season at Project Self-Sufficiency is filled with hope. Your contributions, whether through volunteerism, financial support or both, help us to instill hope in the lives of our participants. We could not have accomplished our goals without you.
Since 1986, Project Self-Sufficiency has been illuminating possibilities and inspiring hope in our Northwest New Jersey participants. If your family is struggling, know you are welcome here. Whether you seek education, job training, parenting skills guidance, legal assistance, computer training or just a supportive atmosphere to think things through and seek advice, Project Self-Sufficiency offers a variety of programs at our beautiful campus. Check them out on this web site, then call or email to see how we can help you to begin your journey to self-sufficiency!
Deborah Berry-Toon, Executive Director