The Perfect Gift for Giving Tuesday 2017

The world outside our walls is just as important to patient well-being as our facility itself.

If you could go anywhere on a community outing of your choice, where would you go?

For our patients, the answers are as individual as they are.

For Chris, whose passions include baseball and meeting new people, he would accept more shifts at his job as a vendor at TDBank Ballpark, home of the Somerset Patriots.

For Jessica, who enjoys shopping, she would engage in a bit of retail therapy at the Bridgewater Mall.

Melvin R

For Melvin, a foodie, he would savor a meal at one of the hot new restaurants on the local culinary scene.

At Matheny, our commitment to our patients goes beyond providing high quality medical care and education. We also seek to enrich lives through making recreational opportunities and community outings as accessible as possible. While group outings are the norm, rarely do patients get to choose and embark upon personal outings most important to them due to lack of individualized transportation options.

The addition of a wheel chair accessible van would change that. No longer would patients be limited to large vehicles operated by commercially licensed drivers. Patients and their Recreation Therapists could together plan more frequent, meaningful community trips specific to patients’ needs that would delight and empower them, increase their visibility and role within the community, perhaps even unlock their potential.

In a hospital that also serves as their home, many opportunities are available for group activities and trips into the community with fellow patients. But how often do patients get the opportunity to take an individualized trip?

“The reality is, that doesn’t happen very often,” says Sean Bielefeldt, Director of Recreation Therapy & Adult Day Health Services. “But the addition of a wheel chair accessible minivan would mean such opportunities, both recreational and practical, would flourish for our patients.”

Take Chris, for instance. It had long been Chris’s dream to work in or around baseball, and one of his greatest pleasures is his job at TD Bank Ballpark, home to the Somerset Patriots. For __ years he has worked as a vendor serving refreshments. Amidst sounds like the crack of the bat and roar of the crowd and the smell of freshly popped popcorn, Chris enjoys interacting with fans who share his abiding love of the game. Most of all, he relishes the freedom and inclusiveness of being an active member of his community, and the pride of earning a wage for an honest day’s work.

While his family can sometimes provide a ride to work, this is not a permanent solution. For him and others like him, the addition of a wheel chair accessible minivan would make a huge difference in the quality of their lives through increasing access to the community, which would create unprecedented opportunities for personal and therapeutic advancement.

For many patients at Matheny, residing there is not a life-long prospect. “The goal for our patients is to live in the community,” explains Sean. “How better to prepare those individuals than to work with them within the community itself to develop skills and independence such as navigating curb cut outs, crossing the streets, utilizing public transportation, or making a bank deposit?” In this way, a wheel chair accessible van is not just another vehicle, but an invaluable tool for therapists to create opportunities for patient development, growth, and eventual independence.

The world outside our walls is just as important to patient well-being as our facility itself.

Whether it’s the opportunity to see their favorite band in concert, take in a movie they’ve been anticipating, get to work at their dream job, or find their place within our community, a wheel chair accessible mini-van will open up a world of possibilities for our patients.

Please join us this #Giving Tuesday to make those possibilities a reality for those we serve. Click below to help us give the perfect gift:

2017 #GT Lock Up_0

Smart cookies

Brian Dragotto of Millstone, NJ, is a student at The College of New Jersey and a participant in Ortho Clinical Diagnostics’ Co-op Program. As a volunteer at Matheny, he helped resident Natalie Tomastyk, right, with the cookie mix project. At center is adult instructor Rose Sherman.

Students in Matheny’s Adult Services program are hard at work, creating decorative cookie mixes that will be displayed in mason jars. The filled mason jars will be sold at an internal fundraising event to support Matheny’s self-sustaining community garden.

The Matheny adults were assisted in this project recently by a group of college students who are currently part of the Co-op Program at Raritan, NJ-based Ortho Clinical Diagnostics, a division of Johnson & Johnson. The students spend approximately six months at the company, gaining practical business experience. Ortho serves the transfusion medicine community and laboratories around world as a provider of solutions for screening, diagnosing, monitoring and confirming diseases early, before they put lives at risk.

The cookie mix project is an example of activities in Matheny’s Adult Services program designed to instill a sense of self-respect and self-expression among  adult residents and adult day health services patients.

Ceramics in the park

Some of the ceramics pieces to be exhibited at Art in the Park.

Handmade glazed ceramic pieces made by students in Matheny’s adult services program will be on display and be offered for sale at Peapack-Gladstone’s Art in the Park event, being held from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, September 14, in Liberty Park on Main Street.

Some of the ceramic pieces, according to Matheny adult services instructor Jodi Miguel, were made by the adult students individually and others were made collaboratively. “They range from functional pottery works to abstract clay forms,” she says. The biggest collection being sold at Art in the Park, however, will be jewelry—clay pendants and strung beads.

Matheny’s adult education programs are designed to instill a sense of self-respect and provide an opportunity for self-expression for adult residents and adult day health services patients, and the ceramics program teaches them the fundamentals of working in clay, incorporating the elements of design and principles of art.

Art in the Park began in 2000. Sponsored by the P-G Recreation Commission, it is a showcase for a variety of fine art and crafts as well as an introduction to talented student artists. Besides the art, the event includes musical entertainment and refreshments.

Ceramics jewelry, the biggest category to be shown at Art in the Park.

Summer extravaganza

Walter Droz, Salvation Army of Morristown commanding officer, visited Matheny recently to pick up the donated items. With Droz, from left, are Rasheedah Mahali, Matheny adult resident, and Deanna Willard and Claire Torsiello, adult instructors.

Matheny’s Adult Services program hosted a Summer Extravaganza to collect items that the Salvation Army of Morristown, NJ, can use in its children’s daycare program. Intended for children from six months to four years old, the items included bubbles, sidewalk chalk, sunglasses, sunblock, flip-flops, beach towels, diapers and beach toys.

Nearly 30 million Americans receive assistance from The Salvation Army each year through a broad array of social services ranging from providing food for the hungry to helping underprivileged children. The Salvation Army of Morristown serves 17 communities in Morris County.

Adults in Matheny’s Adult Services program are encouraged to strive for life goals, continue their education and be better able to manage the challenge of community living.

Masks for Matheny

Chris Saglimbene behind his San Francisco 49ers mask.

Adult Services students at Matheny have gone all out to support the upcoming Mardi Gras-Carnivale celebration at the Verve restaurant in Somerville, NJ. Verve has once again selected Matheny as the beneficiary of its five-day celebration, and part of the proceeds come from a silent auction of masks, to be held on Fat Tuesday, Feb. 12.

The Adult Services students, working with their instructors, created more than a dozen masks from combinations of cardboard, construction paper, magazines, glitter, paint, ribbon and found objects. To learn more about the celebration, they also watched videos about the history of Mardi Gras and listened to jazz.

The Verve Mardi Gras Carnivale celebration will be held on Feb. 7-10, in addition to Fat Tuesday. According to owner Rick St. Pierre, it will feature “food and libations of Venice, Brazil and New Orleans, baubles, beads, gaudy decorations and cheap plastic trinkets.” To make a reservation, call (908) 707-8655 and be sure to mention Matheny.

Dion Alston working on his mask.