A Very Special Day

 

Zoey Mitzner, a student at Wiliam Annin Middle School in Basking Ridge, NJ, was always aware of Matheny, but, admittedly, “didn’t know much about it.” When she started thinking about a project for her bat mitzvah, she recalled that,“I wanted to help others and try to put a smile on as many faces as I could. I started researching, and Matheny looked like a perfect fit!” Mitzner met with Gail Cunningham, coordinator of volunteer activities, and David Curcio, volunteer assistant, and decided to create a “day of beauty” for some of the female students and patients.

“I then gathered my sister, Maddie, and two close friends, Adriana Giordano and Kathleen Finn,” she said. “Together we purchased all the supplies and extras to make this day as special as possible and, hopefully, unforgettable. We all can’t stop talking about our amazing experience at Matheny and our new friends. We only hope it was as meaningful for them as it was for us.”

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Zoey Mitzner and Matheny adult resident, Misty Hockenbury, during the ‘Day of Beauty’ event.

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From left, Maddie Mitzner, Adriana Giordano, Zoey Mitzner, and Kathleen Finn.

Mitzner’s bat mitzvah will be held August 15 at the Fiddler’s Elbow Country Club in Bedminster, NJ. “As part of my speech,” she said, “I plan on sharing our special day at Matheny and encouraging all of my friends to volunteer in the future. I will certainly be volunteering again at Matheny, with even more friends, possibly at Halloween and during the holidays. Trust me, this is only the beginning!”

Thanks, Home Depot!

This past April, a group of about 20 employees from the Home Depot stores in Bridgewater, NJ, visited Matheny to create planting gardens for a Matheny School science project and to do major makeovers for the nature trail and ball field. In addition to completing all this work, the Home Depot team toured Matheny, enthusiastically embracing our mission and showing genuine concern about the well-being of Matheny’s students and patients. Plans are in the works for more projects in the fall.

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From left, Sandy Josephson, Matheny director of public relations and development; Home Depot employees from the Bridgewater Promenade store, Morris Archer, Russ Bloss, John Pingitore (store manager), and Rich Aaron; Matheny trustee Larry Thornton.

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Home Depot employees from the Bridgewater Town Centre store, from left, Lorin Suplee, Tyana Bell, Jeff Pemberton (store manager), John Wells and John McCall.

In appreciation of Home Depot’s efforts, Matheny staff members and a member of the Board of Trustees visited both Bridgewater stores recently and presented special plaques thanking the Home Depot employees for their “dedication and commitment to our children and adults with special needs.”

Day of Caring

 

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Kristen O’Dowd of Colts Neck, NJ, right, and Cheryl Wieczorek of Middlesex, NJ, help Matheny student Megan Blaxill make her luau mask.

“I just want to make sure they are having a good time.” That comment typified the enthusiastic spirit of several Janssen Pharmaceuticals volunteers who recently helped  Matheny School students celebrate an end-of-the-year luau. The volunteers, from Janssen’s Raritan, NJ, offices, participated in several activities including mask making and adapted sports games.

The visit was part of a program called Days of Caring in which groups of Janssen employees work together to help further the missions of non-profits. The Days of Caring events, according to the Janssen website, “give employees the opportunity to give back to their communities and take part in rewarding volunteer experiences.”  Janssen, a pharmaceutical company of Johnson & Johnson, provides medicines for an array of health concerns in several therapeutic areas including attention deficit hyperactivity, general medicine and mental health.

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The Janssen volunteers gathered outside for a group photo at the end of the day.

Matheny’s Special Athletes

Matheny athletes took home nine Gold and six Silver medals at the 2015 New Jersey Special Olympics Summer Games held at the College of New Jersey. Misty Hockenbury, Lee Lubin and Shaleena Tomassini won two Gold Medals each: Hockenbury and Lubin won their Gold Medals  in the 25-meter motorized wheelchair obstacle race, and 50-meter motorized wheelchair slalom; Tomassini won for the 100-meter wheelchair race and the 200-meter wheelchair race. Other Gold Medal winners were Bari-Kim Goldrosen for power lifting; Jameir Warren-Treadwell for the wheelchair tennis ball throw; and Ellen Kane for the 25-meter motorized wheelchair obstacle race.

Silver medals were won by Yasin Reddick in the 30-meter wheelchair motorized slalom and the 50-meter motorized wheelchair slalom; Amanda Kochell and Jason Weiner for bocce mixed doubles; Warren-Treadwell for the 25-meter wheelchair race; and Kane for the 50-meter motorized wheelchair slalom.  Kochell and Weiner also won a Silver medal bocce unified, in which they teamed up with two Matheny staff members,  recreation therapists Shannon O’Brien and Meghan Walsh.

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Misty Hockenbury, left, and Ellen Kane celebrate their wins in the 50-meter motorized wheelchair slalom.

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The unified bocce team, from left, Shannon O’Brien, Jason Weiner, Meghan Walsh, and Amanda Kochell.

 

 

Competition in Special Olympics is part of Matheny’s recreation therapy program, which provides students and patients with a variety of recreational opportunities and resources to improve their physical, emotional, cognitive, and social well-being.

Team Goldman Sachs

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After the work was completed, the Goldman Sachs group gathered in the Matheny lobby for a group photo.

 

The rains came, and so did the Goldman Sachs volunteers.  As part of a global volunteer initiative called Community TeamWorks, several volunteers from Goldman Sachs offices in New Jersey and New York visited Matheny on June 5, completed major renovation projects on Matheny’s grounds and installed lots of new plants and flowers. The weather didn’t exactly cooperate, but, donning ponchos and other rain gear, the GS volunteers completed their outside tasks and still had time to tour Matheny and visit some of the classrooms.

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Goldman Sachs volunteers braved the elements to work in the garden outside the Matheny Center of Medicine and Dentistry.

Under the Community TeamWorks program, some 50 GS offices partner with more than 900 nonprofit community partners worldwide.

Learning about adapted sports

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Jackson Ketterson gets some pointers from Matheny student, Jameir Warren-Treadwell.

“It’s really fun! It’s a new style of playing.” That’s how Jackson Ketterson, a fourth grader at the Far Hills Country Day School (FHCDS) described the adapted versions of traditional sports demonstrated during a recent visit by students and staff at Matheny. The FHCDS students tried their skills in such activities as adapted basketball, wheelchair obstacle courses, and a special ball toss. “It’s really cool how they do things,” said Marissa Mikosh, and another student simply described the experience as “awesome.”

The visit had several objectives: to show the FHCDS students how their peers with disabilities can enjoy many of the same activities they do; to lessen unease about how to interact with people with disabilities; and to replace that unease with a sense of camaraderie as the two groups competed on a somewhat level playing field.

Far Hills Country Day is an independent, co-educational pre-kindergarten through grade eight school in Far Hills, NJ.

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Marissa Mikosh tries out a power wheelchair.

Daily Record Coverage of Miles for Matheny

Miles of volunteers

Jordan, left, and Courtney Smith of Bedminster handed out water bottles at Miles for Matheny 2014.

Jordan, left, and Courtney Smith of Bedminster handed out water bottles at Miles for Matheny 2014.

“Hi. I am interested in volunteering for the upcoming Miles for Matheny event. My family has recently relocated to Gladstone, and we’ve heard that this is a wonderful event and would like to help out in some way. Please let me know if you are in need of volunteers and in what capacity. Thank you.”

That email from new Gladstone, NJ, resident Kristen Huamani, is typical of the community support for the 18th annual Miles for Matheny, the fundraiser and community event being held this Sunday, May 31, at Liberty Park in downtown Peapack, NJ. All five members of the Huamani family will be volunteering that day along with more than 400 others who will be doing things like distributing t-shirts, processing registration, handing out water bottles, greeting Matheny students and patients as they arrive in the park, painting faces, walking with wheelchair participants, forming cheering sections along the wheelchair walk route, cleaning up and helping people park their cars at Pfizer.

Groups include the Junior Friends of Matheny (mainly high school students from Bernards and Ridge), members of the Peapack–Gladstone-based Lone Eagle Composite Squadron of the Civil Air Patrol, employees of Peapack–Gladstone Bank and several other school and church groups.

A new group, “PG Loves Matheny,” will be participating in the Fitness Walk. Says member Donna Brooten of Gladstone: “There are many Matheny supporters in Peapack–Gladstone, and a one-mile Fitness Walk is the perfect way to show your support. Join the ‘PG Loves Matheny’ team on May 31 at 12:15 at Liberty Park.”

Events at Miles for Matheny include the Lu Huggins Wheelchair Walk, the new Fitness Walk, a Kids Fun Run and five different Cycling rides. A “Breakfast of Champions” will be available, courtesy of The Friends of Matheny. All funds raised will support programs and services that enhance the lives of the children and adults at Matheny and provide services for people with disabilities in the community.

Premier sponsor is The Poses Family Foundation. Other major sponsors include the Golub Family, Mariner Wealth Advisors, Partlow Insurance, Peapack–Gladstone Bank, Porzio Bromberg & Newman P.C. Attorneys at Law and WCBS Newsradio 880. For more information, log onto www.milesformatheny.org or call (908) 234-0011, ext. 260.

Residents of Mendham Road in Gladstone formed their own cheering section last year for participants in the Lu Huggins Wheelchair Walk.

Residents of Mendham Road in Gladstone formed their own cheering section last year for participants in the Lu Huggins Wheelchair Walk.

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Participants in the Lu Huggins Wheelchair Walk last year.

The 18th annual Miles for Matheny, Matheny’s annual fundraiser and community event, will be held on Sunday, May 31, at Liberty Park in downtown Peapack. This year the event will include a new Fitness Walk in addition to the Lu Huggins Wheelchair Walk, five Cycling rides and a Kids Fun Run.

The signature event, of course, is the Wheelchair Walk, in which friends and families, along with Matheny staff, walk alongside more than 100 Matheny children and adults who “wheel” through the streets of downtown Peapack to the cheers of community members and other supporters.  The Cycling event offers a choice of 10-, 25-, 35- and 50-mile bike routes, plus the highly challenging “Hills of Attrition” endurance ride, all through the beautiful Somerset Hills countryside. The Kids Fun Run is open to children  ages 3–10, who are all winners—everyone receives a medal. The new one-mile Fitness Walk will precede the Wheelchair Walk, but all Fitness Walk participants are invited to join the wheelchair participants for a second mile around downtown Peapack. All participants and supporters will be able to indulge in The Friends of Matheny’s “Breakfast of Champions.”

Funds raised at Miles for Matheny will benefit programs and services that enhance the lives of the children and adults at Matheny and serve people with disabilities in the community. For more information, call (908) 234-0011, ext. 260, or email pcats@matheny.org. For sponsorship opportunities, call (908) 234-0011, ext. 315, or email jkriegman@matheny.org.

Peapack-Gladstone residents cheer the Wheelchair Walk participants as they roll past 23 Mendham Road.

Bulldog Bugle

The Bulldog Bugle is The Matheny School’s student newspaper. Every high school student in the school assists in preparation of the paper, assisted by faculty member and editor Felicia Querrey. According to Querrey, “From prewriting, all the way to peer editing, the students worked very hard to produce the third edition of the Bugle, which was completed in February.”

Among the highlights of the latest Bulldog Bugle:

• A story on Matheny’s Thanksgiving festival by Jessica, Kathryn and Savannah.

• A report on the holiday concert by the Matheny Choir, written by Savannah, Daniel and Shane.

• An alphabetical advice list written by graduate Raven, who also served as co-editor.

Click here to download and read the entire Bulldog Bugle.

Giving kids a smile

Mengchi Steven Yang, DDS, with a young dental patient.

As part of National Children’s Dental Health Month, the Matheny Center of Medicine and Dentistry (MCMD) will provide free preventive dental screenings and education and, if necessary, make referrals for continuing treatment for children ages 12 and under with special needs.  The one-day program, called Give Kids a Smile, will take place at Matheny on Tuesday, February 10. It’s part of the American Dental Association’s (ADA) annual push to bring attention to the No. 1 childhood disease—tooth decay.

“Giving back to the community is so important,” says Mengchi Steven Yang, DDS, the MCMD’s dentist. “This program, more than a decade old, will touch the lives of so many of New Jersey’s special needs children. I am proud to be a part of it.”

Children who come to the Matheny Center of Medicine and Dentistry on February 10 will receive a dental screening, oral health care instruction, fluoride treatments and free dental hygiene materials, including toothbrushes, floss and toothpaste. To make an appointment, parents should call 908.234.0011, ext. 785.

Last February, in New Jersey alone, more than 2,800 children visited 121 dental sites across the state. Give Kids a Smile is supported by Colgate, Henry Schein Dental, Delta Dental of New Jersey and private donations.

The Matheny Center of Medicine and Dentistry specializes in providing health care for people with mild to severe developmental and intellectual disabilities in an outpatient setting. Dental services and treatments include x-rays, cleanings, treatment of cavities, extractions, restorative dentistry, oral surgery and root canals. Services are provided in partnership with the Rutgers School of Dental Medicine.

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