How sweet it was!

Adult patient Rasheedah Mahali with, from left, James O'Brien of Metuchen, NJ, Mike Berezny of Peapack, NJ, and Matheny social worker Kelly Haldaman of Bethelehem, PA.

Lelica Palecco, a vocalist with the B.D. Lenz All-Star Band, surveyed the room at The Skylands in Randolph, NJ, and proclaimed, “I’ve never seen a better looking group.” The occasion was The Matheny Prom. The stylish crowd was a mixture of Matheny students and adult patients, family members, volunteers from the community and staff members.

This eagerly anticipated event is but one example of how Matheny does everything possible to enhance the quality of life for its students and patients. The theme of this year’s prom was “A Sweet Escape,” and for four hours everyone did just that—forgetting about their disabilities and concentrating on having a good time.

The Prom was funded by a generous contribution from the Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation in East Hanover, NJ.

Matheny student (and Prom King) Yasin Reddick with Rachel, left, and Alyssa Scher of Red Bank.


Rock the house on December 11

Holiday Express, an all-volunteer band whose mission is to deliver music, food, gifts, financial support and friendship to those in need during the holiday season, will make its annual visit to Matheny on Sunday, December 11.

The Monmouth County-based organization is made up of about 1,300 volunteers including more than 80 professional musicians. Founded in 1993 by restaurateur and musician Tim McLoone, Holiday Express visits some 50 institutions every year between November and the end of December. The band also performs every May at the Matheny Prom, held at the Skylands in Randolph.

While most of the band members are from Monmouth County, there are some local participants: Byron Smith from Bedminster, Alan Grant from Bridgewater and Anthony Perruso from Rockaway. In addition, a Matheny parent, Jim Yedloutschnig of Cedar Grove, whose daughter Alicia, is an adult patient, often joins the band’s trumpet section.

Matheny students, patients and their families look forward to the Holiday Express event every year. Highlights include participation by the Matheny Choir, the signature HE song, “Nobody Ought to Be Alone on Christmas” and the group competition on “The Twelve Days of Christmas.”

The concert will be held from noon to 2 p.m. on Sunday, December 11, in the Robert Schonhorn Arts Center on the Matheny campus in Peapack.

Above:  Holiday Express band member Byron Smith with his daughters, Courtney, left, and Jordan.

Below: Matheny student Bryan Desatnick with the Holiday Express dancers.