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 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.

Creepy creativity

Adult resident Rasheedah Mahali and her mother Geri Brewer at last year’s Halloween parade.

Halloween is a big day at Matheny. It begins in the morning with a haunted house, designed and built by members of Matheny’s therapy staffs, helped out by Matheny School faculty members and instructors in our Adult Services Department. This year, additional assistance will be provided by members of the Junior Friends of Matheny, who are students at Bernards High School in Bernardsville, NJ, and Ridge High School in Basking Ridge, NJ.

In the afternoon, Matheny students and patients take part in the annual Halloween parade. The costumes every year are amazing, thanks to the creativity of all Matheny staff members. The holiday also provides a great opportunity for visits by family members, many of whom are also in costume. After the parade, costume winners are announced and refreshments are provided by The Friends of Matheny.

The Halloween festivities are coordinated by Matheny’s Recreation Therapy Department, which provides a variety of recreation opportunities and resources throughout the year to improve students’ and patients’ physical, emotional, cognitive and social well-being. Members of the community are welcome to join us.

Friends of Matheny president Liz Geraghty serving up refreshments.

‘Fire and Ice’

Morris Hills student Jill Gonzalez and Matheny student Yasin Reddick. Gonzalez was one of many volunteers from the Trinity Lutheran Church Youth Group in Dover, NJ.

The theme of this year’s Matheny Prom was “Fire and Ice,” but the fire quickly melted the ice as students, adult patients, staff members, families and friends from the community took to the dance floor at The Skylands in Randolph, NJ.  Tim McLoone, leader of Holiday Express, the all-volunteer band that plays at the prom every year, invited three members of the Matheny Choir to join in the singing early on, and no one stopped dancing until it was time for dessert.

Student volunteers from the Junior Friends of Matheny (Bernards High in Bernardsville, NJ), Morris Hills High in Rockaway, NJ, and the Trinity United Church Youth Group in Dover, NJ, contributed to the spirit and enthusiasm of the evening, which included a special ice sculpture and the crowning of this year’s prom king and queen, Jamie Formisano and Dina Conturso.

Adult patient Taty Manousakis and recreation therapist Meghan Walsh.


WANTED: volunteers

Since most Matheny students and patients are full-time residents, we need volunteers to serve as recreation assistants, classroom aides, tutors and friendly visitors. Our volunteer office tries to place people in positions that meet both their interests and availability. In addition, we invite volunteer groups to host parties for residents or participate in other special projects, including fundraising activities.

Matheny students and patients have medically complex developmental disabilities. Practically everyone is in a wheelchair and many are non-verbal. Yet, underneath their physical difficulties, they like the same music, games, sports and movies as everyone else. For those willing to discover each person’s personality, the rewards are great.

If you’re interested in more information, contact the volunteer services office at (908) 234-0011, ext. 282, or email

Above: Centenary College students share a laugh with a Matheny student.

Below: Junior Friends of Matheny help Matheny patients enjoy Valentines Day.  The JFOM volunteers are students at Bernards High School in Bernardsville and Ridge High School in Basking Ridge.