Resources for Learning at Home – Virtual Tours & Field Trips

Over the last several months, we have all been challenged to come up with ways to keep ourselves and our families engaged at home.

Virtual tours and field trips can be great tools for online learning and exploration. Many incredible institutions – museums, planetariums, zoos, and more – are offering exciting online resources! Check out some below. Do you have any other favorites to recommend?

We got many of these suggestions from ASAH, an association of private special education schools and agencies in New Jersey. We’re so grateful for their support and resources.

Virtual Planetarium Sky Tour – All About the Orion Constellation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tbIGZ0cgmHE

NASA at Home — Virtual Tours and Apps: https://www.nasa.gov/nasa-at-home-virtual-tours-and

National Museum of Natural History – Virtual Tours: https://naturalhistory.si.edu/visit/virtual-tour

National Zoo Animal Cams: https://nationalzoo.si.edu/webcams

Virtual Field Trip: Gardens – https://ctsciencecenter.org/blog/virtual-field-trip-gardens/

Virtual Field Trip: Computers – https://ctsciencecenter.org/…/virtual-field-trip…/

Matheny’s Memorable Moments & Bright Spots of 2020

When we wrote our “Best of 2019” post around this time last year, we had no idea what we were in for in the coming months. Needless to say, this year at Matheny has been very different from years past – plans changed, events were adapted or cancelled, social distancing and other safety precautions became our new normal.

However, thanks to our stellar community of patients, residents, staff, families, and supporters, Matheny still accomplished a lot in 2020. Some of the highlights are below.

Thank you for facing this unusual year with us. If we can achieve so much under these unique circumstances, we cannot wait to see what awaits us in 2021! The challenges of the pandemic may continue for some time, but we are prepared. No matter what happens, the safety, care, and happiness of our patients and residents will always come first.

All of us at Matheny wish you and your loved ones a new year filled with good health, peace and joy.

  1. The year started off strong with our receipt of the Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval®for Hospital Accreditation in January. Matheny is proud of our focus on patient safety and careful compliance with performance standards.
  2. In February, we were thrilled to receive a generous grant from the Delta Dental Foundation, which will help ensure that our Dental Clinic continues to have the equipment, resources, and expertise to provide comprehensive, high-quality dental care to individuals with complex developmental disabilities. We are committed to providing each patient with a comfortable and enjoyable experience!
  3. Later in February, before the COVID-19 restrictions began, our Arts Access program was proud to participate in the Access-ABILITY Exhibit at Morris Museum for the third time. Work from 15 talented Matheny artists was shown alongside work from Center for Enhancing Abilities in a pop-up exhibit at the museum. This ended up being the only in-person event for the Arts Access program in 2020, making it all the more meaningful.
  4. At the beginning of March, our Adults Services program got a visit from the NJ Division of Developmental Disabilities. We were honored to receive a proclamation from the Governor in honor of Developmental Disabilities Awareness month!
  5. Throughout the most difficult months of spring and summer, we learned just how supportive and enthusiastic our community members can be. Led by the Friends of Matheny, our local community (including neighborhood police and firefighters) organized multiple “hero salutes” where they would circle Matheny’s driveway in their cars, honking horns and waving homemade signs with encouraging and uplifting messages. These were true moments of unity and happiness during a difficult time for our staff.
  6. When we needed them most, our community of supporters was there for us! We were gifted numerous donations of food and personal protective equipment (PPE) from individuals, families, and business in the wider community. We can’t thank them enough!
  7. We are always blown away by the talent of our Arts Access artists, and they didn’t let quarantine or social distancing disrupt their creativity! During late spring, Arts Access was able to adapt the facilitation process in order to continue serving artists from the comfort and safety of their own homes.
  8. We successfully launched a Virtual Miles for Matheny! While staff and participants did a Wheelchair Walk and posed for photos on the Peapack campus, supporters participated and raised money from a distance, riding their bikes or running near their homes and at their own convenience. While we missed seeing one another in person, we proved that nothing can stop us from celebrating the abilities of Matheny’s students and residents!
  9. Arts Access participated in the highly-anticipated Annual NJMS Collaborative ARTS Exhibit – the 10th anniversary of this special collaboration. With hard work, imagination, and flexibility, the Arts Access program found ways to adapt the exhibition for a virtual space. Over the summer, they showcased the redesigned virtual exhibit and held a virtual artists reception over Zoom. Our talented artists were thrilled to show off their creativity!
  10. August 2020 marked the start of an exciting new collaboration between Matheny and Children’s Specialized Hospital! This strategic partnership will allow two organizations with shared missions and values to expand their expertise, experience, and resources in order to provide the highest possible quality clinical care and education for individuals with disabilities throughout the state.
  11. On Tuesday, August 11th, Matheny was visited by the wonderful folks at Cut Red Tape 4 Heroes, who distributed 6,500 pieces of free personal protective equipment to Matheny’s hardworking employees. CRT4H distributes essential equipment directly to NYC organizations, communities, and individuals most in need – hospital, homeless shelter and nursing home workers, veterans, and public housing residents. At that point, Matheny was the second hospital in NJ to benefit from their generosity.
  12. In early October, we were able to host our annual Golf Outing for the Matheny School! Our golfers adapted to additional safety measures, including masks and distancing, and generously contributed over $25,000 to benefit our wonderful students!
  13. After several months of closure, our Adult Day Program in Hillsborough reopened in October – and the event was made all the better by a visit from John Elliot of CBS 2 NY! John interviewed several Matheny patients and staff, all of whom were thrilled to be back. What a great way to return!
  14. We have spent the last several months in awe of the compassion, determination of professionalism of our frontline healthcare heroes. Matheny’s doctors, nurses, therapists, personal care and community resident assistants, and all other clinical staff are simply the best. We’re so lucky to have them on our team and cannot thank them enough.

And finally, we ask everyone to take a moment to remember the precious lives we lost this year.  Matheny’s residents, students, and employees who are now resting in peace – their memories will remain alive in our hearts and minds forever.

In the end, we learned to cherish and appreciate family, friends, colleagues, and neighbors more. We are grateful for the experiences had and the lessons learned. We look forward to a happier and healthier 2021.

Charles “Chuck” Matheny – Model of Possibility

Charles H. Matheny, age 76, died on December 14, 2017 – three years ago today. A native of Minnesota, he lived most of his life in his home on the campus of the Matheny Medical and Educational Center in Peapack, NJ.

“Chuck,” who was born in 1941 with cerebral palsy, became the inspiration and the motivating force behind the founding of the Matheny School in 1946, and its decades-long development into a highly sophisticated and renowned specialized school and hospital. The Center currently educates and provides a wide spectrum of services for children and adults with cerebral palsy and other medically complex developmental disabilities.

Chuck was the older child of Marguerite and Walter Matheny, educators who left their home in the Midwest when Chuck was very young.  They moved around the country due to Walter’s position as an Air Force Civilian Consultant and to search for the kind of therapeutic and educational programs that would support the development of their son. They settled in New Jersey when Walter became the manager of a newly established school in the state. Just a few months later, Walter left that job when he and Marguerite decided to establish their own school–for Chuck and for all children with cerebral palsy.

While the first years of the school were fraught with significant financial and operational challenges, the determination of Chuck’s parents drove them to fashion their vision into reality. From its start as the Burnt Mills School for Paralysis Correction with just three students and a $3,000 operating budget provided through a GI loan, the school took a major step forward when it moved in 1949 into larger quarters in Far Hills. The need for a school like this was huge, and students and families came from across the country and the world to access its services. In 1954, the school moved again, this time to its current location, where it has grown and flourished. The Center is currently comprised of a hospital; a school for students ages 3 to 21, providing academics as well as training in functional life skills; specialized outpatient clinics for individuals with all kinds of disabilities; a notable fine arts program; adult day services, and five adult group homes.

Chuck was a pivotal force in the development of the Center that bears the Matheny name. Not only was he well educated there, and supported to reach his full potential, but he helped to create the “personality” of this compassionate and cohesive community that has served so many so well.

Chuck grew up to be a warm, kind, positive person, a “storyteller,” a man with a wonderful sense of humor, someone who greatly valued friendship and whose friendship was greatly valued, a person who loved life and loved his particular life, according to those who knew him. He became “the face” of Matheny, but beyond that he became the model of possibility for all those growing up, or newly afflicted, with limitations. He graduated from high school, learned to drive, mowed the lawns of Matheny’s main campus, and actively participated in all of Matheny’s events and fundraisers.

Chuck Matheny is remembered as the catalyst for the founding of the Matheny Medical and Educational Center, and as a beacon of achievement and a caring friend to so many. His “story” and that of the Center that bears his name are positively and permanently entwined in New Jersey’s educational landscape and history.

About Matheny

Matheny’s mission is to provide exceptional care and an optimal quality of life for children and adults with special needs and medically complex developmental disabilities. Matheny is a 501c3 not-for-profit organization and is headquartered in Somerset County. It was founded in 1946 after Walter and Marguerite Matheny’s son, Chuck, was born with cerebral palsy (CP) into a world ill-equipped to care for children with special needs. Matheny patients have a diverse range of medical conditions such as Cerebral Palsy, Spina Bifida, Lesch-Nyhan Disease (LND) and a wide range of rare diseases including Rett syndrome, Angelman syndrome, Cornelia De Lange syndrome, Wolf-Hirshorn syndrome and 4Q Deletion syndrome. To learn more about Matheny, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram: @mathenymedical.

A Statement from Matheny’s President and CEO

Dear Matheny Community:

These troubling times have underscored the racial, economic, and health injustices that people of color face in the US and around the world.  We fully support the #BlackLivesMatter movement and condemn injustices and discrimination on the basis of color, sex, or ability.  We also stand with the peaceful protestors who are exercising their rights thanks to the freedoms we enjoy in this country.

Having lived through the civil rights movement and having served poor black families as a pediatrician, I am especially affected by current events. Systemic racism in healthcare exists and causes health disparities that are rampant in the black community.  Systemic racism also adversely affects black families when it comes to housing, food security and education.  Now is the time to stand up against all types of discrimination and try to lift each other up.

Over 74 years ago, Matheny was founded on the basis that there were very few educational opportunities for people with disabilities.  Today, Matheny is a comprehensive non-profit hospital and school where people of all races, economic status, and abilities are cared for with the love and respect they deserve.  We are proud of the diversity of our staff and we are committed to continue our efforts to combat racism on all levels. Matheny stands in solidarity with our black brothers and sisters and we are hopeful that this is the beginning of the end of systemic racism.

Dr

Kendell R. Sprott, MD, JD

President and CEO

A Very Special Miles for Matheny: June 13 – 20

Spring is a usually a busy and wonderful season at Matheny. The weather is warm and welcoming. Our campus is green and full of flowers. Fun activities take place outside.

photo credit - Linda E. Horton

We all know that this spring has been different – and difficult. Although we are confident that there will be light at the end of this tunnel, a great deal of work still needs to be done before that time, and the health and safety of our patients and staff remain our top priorities. With this in mind, we will not be holding an in-person gathering for Miles for Matheny 2020. We’re very disappointed – this annual gathering with families, friends, and neighbors is one of the highlights of our year. We will sorely miss seeing you in person, but hope you will join us for a  new and special Virtual Miles for Matheny 2020!

The fundamentals of the event have not changed. We will still come together as a community to celebrate the incredible work done at Matheny. You can still run or cycle (while social distancing!) for us, if you wish. And, as usual, every dollar raised will go directly to our programs and services – medical care, education, physical therapy, music therapy, adult day care, recreational therapy, fine arts, and much more. You can learn more at our Miles for Matheny website, and look out for further updates by email and social media!

Even in these past few challenging weeks, we have seen plenty of things that are worth celebrating. Each and every day, our frontline staff – our healthcare heroes – give us reason for immense hope and gratitude, even amid our fear and anxiety. Matheny would not be Matheny without them. And we hope you’ll join us in celebrating them, even if it has to be from afar.

      To our devoted frontline employees and precious patients we lost – this Miles is for you.

State of Diversity: In Pursuit of Good Health for All New Jerseyans

On April 3rd, 2020, New Jersey Business Magazine discussed the challenges of meeting the healthcare needs of diverse populations. Thanks to the NJ Hospital Association, the piece highlighted the inclusion efforts of several health organizations around the state, including Matheny:

“Inclusion is also the goal for other populations, including those living with disabilities. The Matheny Medical and Educational Center in Peapack promotes diversity and inclusion by providing people with disabilities opportunities to engage in their communities through initiatives like its Miles for Matheny Wheelchair Walk and its Brave Bag partnerships with several police departments.”

Click here to read the full article. 

Coronavirus Letter to the Matheny Community

Matheny’s Memorable Moments of 2019

Happy New Year! 2019 was a very good year—with way more than 10 memorable events and achievements. It was a tough choice, but these Top 10 picks are high on the list of Matheny’s most notable happenings. (Numbering does not signify importance.)

1. Matheny’s exceptionally safe, high-quality care for all patients was officially recognized when its specialized hospital passed The Joint Commission Accreditation Survey with flying colors. The compassion, respect, and empathy shown by employees were noted by the survey team.

2. February 9th marked the opening of a professionally curated Sotheby’s exhibit of 56 works by 5 prolific Matheny artists, all long-time participants in Matheny’s Arts Access Program. The Manhattan exhibit garnered widespread media coverage, and 17 exhibited works of art were purchased.

3. Matheny School teacher Darlene Tammara was recognized as Educator of the Year by ASAH, the association of private special education schools and agencies in NJ. A teacher at the Matheny School since 1990, she has introduced innovative skills-teaching activities for Matheny’s Transition classes. Matheny School

4. Music lovers rejoiced when New Jersey Symphony Orchestra members presented a series of performances on Matheny’s campus and in the adult day center in Hillsborough for residents, students, families, and friends in April, May and June, underwritten by Delta Dental of New Jersey.

5. For the third year in a row, Matheny welcomed Rutgers Biomedical Engineering student-interns—the largest class yet, numbering 23—to its Peapack campus to learn about, and help solve, daily challenges faced by Matheny’s residents.

6. A powerful video entitled, “Matheny Arts Access: 25 Years of Art Without Boundaries,” won 2 first place awards and Best in Show at the 51st Annual Jersey Awards, sponsored by the NJ Ad Club.

7. Five members of the Matheny choir, led by Matheny’s Music Therapy Department, performed at the induction of Tim McCloone, restaurateur, musician, and long-time Matheny friend and volunteer, into the New Jersey Hall of Fame in October.

8. The Friends of Matheny, a dedicated group of volunteers, once again raised more than $100,000 through their Second Chance Thrift Shop in Gladstone. These super-fundraisers have donated more than $3 million to support programs and activities at Matheny.

9. Miles for Matheny, which moved in June 2019 to the Far Hills Fairgrounds, drew a large crowd of participants and topped last year’s high with donations exceeding $130,000.

10. Matheny emphasizes activities that help integrate clients back into the community by working on skills to maximize independence. In 2019, the Recreation Therapy Department averaged 40 trips each month, which is almost unheard of in similar programs.

 

We look back at 2019 with heartfelt gratitude for all of our blessings. Your love and support is the fuel that will keep us going after 74 years of serving the special needs community. Thank you!

In 2020, we look forward to creating new memories!

Matheny School Teacher Named Educator of the Year

News Release

Matheny School

Darlene Tammara, Matheny School Teacher

January 15, 2020, Peapack, NJ – ASAH, an organization supporting the special education community, recently recognized Matheny School teacher, Darlene Tammara as Educator of the Year at their annual conference.

Darlene began teaching at the Matheny School in 1990 and has had multiple roles during her tenure. In her current role as the teacher of the Transition classes, Darlene has created and managed numerous authentic transition tasks for Matheny’s high school students and programs that include the “Tea Time Café”, a student-run food and beverage operation; an opportunity for students to sell snacks called “Tea Time on Wheels”; and the “Tea Time Boutique” where merchandise produced by the students is offered for sale to staff.   Darlene has developed and fostered long term community connections for the students through a job sampling program at several locations in the community.  In addition, the students enjoy frequenting stores in the surrounding communities to purchase supplies for the café.

Darlene holds a Master’s in Education degree and certification as Teacher of the Blind and Visually Impaired. She works with the Commission for the Blind on functional vision assessments for Matheny students. Darlene created and modified a tactile approach to language-based activities for her visually impaired and multisensory students which incorporated concepts from the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired tactile shape library and the Fitzgerald color codes. During this past summer, she worked with classroom staff and taught a lesson based upon this approach to an elementary and middle school class at Matheny.

Under Darlene’s direction, students from the Transition classes have been recognized for their quality work. In what will become an annual event, a group of students made picture frames during their transition class that were used at the Bridgewater library’s awards dinner.  In the new year she will be working with Matheny staff to create a multi-sensory space within Matheny for students.

Darlene has presented the Matheny Transition Program to various organizations, including Community Based Instruction teachers and therapists at The Learning Resource Center in Morris Plains, a Community Based Instruction showcase and as a part of the DCDT (Division on Career Development and Transition) International Conference in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

President and CEO of Matheny and Executive Director of the Matheny School, Kendell R. Sprott, MD, JD said, “Many of the classes and programs facilitated by Darlene are extraordinary in any educational setting especially when teaching children with medically complex disabilities. Darlene’s unwavering dedication to her students is sincere. We are lucky to have Darlene as a teacher and we congratulate her on this well-deserved accomplishment.”

ASAH is a not-for-profit organization of private schools and agencies in New Jersey which provide highly specialized services to more than 11,000 infants, children and young adults with disabilities. Founded in 1974, ASAH now serves more than 145 schools and agencies throughout the state.  For more information about ASAH, go to www.asah.org.

The Matheny School, the special education school located on the Matheny campus in Peapack, has been helping students achieve their greatest level of learning and independence through a collaborative approach, integrating traditional academics with therapeutic intervention and pre-vocational skills development. School staff includes special education teachers and aides, licensed therapists in the areas of speech/language pathology, occupational therapy, and physical therapy, as well as nurses, social workers and psychologists. The entire team works closely with students’ families and local school districts to design a service plan that is uniquely tailored to each student’s specific needs.  For more information about Matheny, please visit www.matheny.org.

 

OPEN INTERVIEW DAY – 11/16/19

Matheny is looking for great people like you! If you are looking for a rewarding career with great pay and benefits, Matheny is the place to be. Join us on Saturday, November 16, 2019 for our Open Interview Day.  If you are interested, please send your resume with subject line, “Open Interview Day” to: jobs@matheny.org.

Miles for Matheny – June 9, 2019

10 Things To Know Before You Go…

  1. Online Registration closes at midnight Friday, June 7th … but you can also register on Sunday at the Fairgrounds starting at 11:30 am
  2. Activities begin at noon but be sure to give yourself plenty of time for arrival and parking.
  3. Parking is available onsite. Just follow the signs and parking attendants will direct you to the parking
  4. Cyclists, please remember to wear your helmets!
  5. Download your ride here: Hills of Attrition        50 Mile Ride        35 Mile Ride         25 Mile Ride        12.5 Mile Ride 
  6. You can also pick up your cue sheet at registration check-in. Be safe!
  7. Miles will take place rain or shine but the weather forecast looks great! See for yourself: Weather.com     Accuweather.com
  8. The 5K starts at 1:00 pm. Click here to see the beautiful route we have planned for you!
  9. Directions to the Far Hills Fairgrounds can be found here
  10. Here is the schedule of events for the day 2019 Schedule of events

We can’t wait to see you on Sunday at Miles for Matheny!

 

Rutgers Engineering Students Partner With Matheny For Senior Projects

Rutgers Biomedical Engineering has developed a special partnership with Matheny Medical and Educational Center – creating medical devices to assist Matheny residents with disabilities. Check out how Rutgers seniors are taking their skills out of the classroom and into the real world to help others.

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