Paying it forward

Melanie Glick-Santiago, left, and Lisa Conturso visit with Matheny adult patient Paul Santo at Matheny’s Adult Learning Center in Hillsborough.

Although Lisa Conturso of Belle Mead, NJ, and Melanie Glick-Santiago of Freehold, NJ, had worked for the same company—Hillsborough, NJ-based nutritional ingredient producer Stryka Botanics—for several years, they only became good friends about 1 1⁄2 years ago. That’s how Glick-Santiago learned about Conturso’s daughter, Dina, who is a residential student at Matheny.

“When Melanie found out about my daughter,” Conturso recalls, “she decided to create a webpage for Miles for Matheny in order to get people to contribute money and participate in the event.”

As of April 5, Melanie’s webpage, “Pay it Forward” had raised $685 online. “I consider the kids at Matheny my children,” she says, explaining that he team name, Pay it Forward, means, “Do something kind for somebody.”   All funds raised at Miles for Matheny help support the Matheny Center of Medicine and Dentistry, which provides medical, dental and therapy care to Matheny’s inpatients and people with disabilities in the community.

Miles for Matheny is an annual fundraiser and community event being held Sunday, April 22, in downtown Peapack. Activities include a 5K Race, five Cycling Courses and a Kids Fun Run. But the signature event is the Lu Huggins Wheelchair Walk in which more than 100 wheelchair participants, with walking partners, travel 1.5 miles around town. Lisa and Melanie will be there along with other friends and supporters.

Major Miles for Matheny sponsors are: The Poses Family Foundation, Affinity Federal Credit Union Foundation, Archer & Greiner, P.C., BP Fueling Communities, WCBS-TV and WCBS Newsradio 880, Partlow Insurance Agency, Peapack-Gladstone Bank and Porzio Bromberg & Newman, P.C.

For more information or to register, log onto; to support Pay it Forward, click on Search for Participant and type in the team name.

Dina Conturso uses a switch to activate a sewing machine, assisted by her teacher Gwen McCormack.