Monthly Archives: March 2015

Concert for Pass It Along

Despite the snow on the first day of Spring, the annual Concert fundraiser held on Fri., March 20 was a great success!  Lake Mohawk Country Club did a beautiful job setting the stage for our musical event.  Several musicians joined Patrick Fitzsimmons in entertaining a full house of guests with a variety of acoustic performances.  Thanks to Patrick and singer songwriters:  Luke Liddy, Alice Leon, Geoff Doubleday, Jack Tannehill, Denny Tilton, Bobby Syvarth and Tom Askin.  Thanks to sponsors of this year’s event:  Lake Mohawk Country Club, Eastern Propane, SpartaOne, Cabot Cheese Cooperative, Dobbs Creative Group, and Mount Freedom Printing.  To check out photos of the Concert, please visit our Facebook page.

AmeriCorps Week!

AmeriCorps John Merklinger  painting a mural during MLK day

It is the annual AmeriCorps week!
On March 9th-13th, AmeriCorps and alumni will be recognized for their commitment to service and the extraordinary impact they have made on individuals and communities across the nation.

AmeriCorps Jacky Albert at our Merriam Mentors program

During this week, AmeriCorps across the nation will share their stories and experiences with the rest of the world. Pass It along would like to personally thank our current AmeriCorps, alumni, and AmeriCorps community partners for all their hard work and contribution. You have helped make Pass It Along’s mission a success while also impacting the world.  Thank you

Valentine's Day At Knoll View

On February 14th, 2015, Pass It Along volunteers joined together to help spread the love this Valentine’s Day at Knoll View Assisted Living Facility in Sparta, NJ.
Volunteer youth leaders Courtney McKenna, Alex Curran, and Rhett Curran, planned a Valentine’s Day themed party filled with love and cheer. Over 20 Seniors in attendance enjoyed homemade treats and fun activities including iconic movie trivia and creating decorative Valentine wreaths, all the while classic songs had everyone swaying down memory lane. Guests also received Valentine’s Day cards from local middle school students involved in the Pass It Along Altitude program.

2015 Vision and Goals Committee

2015 Vision and Goals Committee

With the demand for Pass It Along programs ever increasing, on January 29th, Thorlabs hosted an information filled evening teeming with inspirational presentations from several speakers who spoke about Pass It Along’s goals and vision for 2015. This increasing demand presents Pass It Along with a tremendous opportunity for growth, which will not only benefit local teens but the community as a whole.   Plans for Pass It Along’s growth and expansion were outlined and discussed. The 60 people in attendance were then encouraged and invited to sign up for a committee to help Pass It Along facilitate this growth.
Fueling this growth is Pass It Along’s signature program, Discovering Your Passion and Purpose which is currently being delivered in local high schools, is touching teenagers lives in a very direct and meaningful way with measurable and amazing results. “As the program title indicates, we work to help teens gain a positive sense of self so they can unleash their phenomenal potential. They learn that they really can change the World,” said Dale Thatcher, Chairman of Pass It Along and Chief Financial Officer of Selective Insurance Group.
Jim Furgeson, Pass It Along Board member and Director of Community Relations and Donations for Newton Medical Center Foundation added, “Pass It Along is a vital organization in our community and a key partner to Newton Medical Center. Together we are empowering our teens to be the healthiest in the nation. Pass It Along has specifically designed the elements of its program to meet the needs of the teens in our community and has created a model that can grow and expand beyond the borders of Sussex County to schools and communities who have a great need for social and emotional learning.”
“Our vision for Pass It Along is stronger than ever and our program has never been in greater demand than at this very moment “ said Pass It Along CEO and President, Diane Taylor. “We are seeking community support in raising the dollars needed to run this phenomenal program. We are so thankful for the ongoing support of our transformational sponsors, Orthopedic Institute of NJ, Specialty Surgical Center and Newton Medical Center, and also the continued support from Selective Insurance and the leadership and direction that Thorlabs has recently provided. As we embark on this next phase and in order to achieve the goals we have set for 2015, we are reaching out to the community for their support and assistance as well. We need everyone’s help to grow Pass It Along so we can deliver the life changing programs that we offer.”
If you were unable to attend the meeting and want to be involved, Pass It Along is currently seeking additional volunteers to help with our fundraising events, grant applications, individual donations, and corporate relations/ sponsor ships. Please call Kelly Bonventre at 973-726-9777 or send an email to

Christmas In The City

What an out pouring of love that was demonstrated in this year’s Christmas in the City program!!  Thanks to all the hard work and commitment of some seriously dedicated Pass It Along volunteers over 1,500 children in Newark Public Schools received gifts for the holidays!!
The joy and laughter that these volunteers brought to each and every classroom they entered was truly contagious.  Many, many thanks to PIA volunteers Leslie Plifka, Aileen Parsons, Mary Bernat, Peggy Fischer and Sue Earl for the countless hours they devote to chairing this program and to all those who volunteered their time and donated toys.
 We would like to acknowledge the following donors 

 who have contributed in a major way in support of this program; International Playthings, Nicholas Pascarella & Co., Robert Half International and Storis Inc.


Season of Hope Holiday Toy Shoppe

Season of Hope Holiday Toy Shoppe
This year’s Season of Hope Holiday Toy Shoppe served 891 families, providing toys and gifts to over 1,800 children!!  On behalf of all the families that were served and Project Self Sufficiency, we thank all of you who donated toys and your time to make this incredible event happen.
Each family also received a dozen home baked cookies to enjoy for the holidays.  Again, all of you, our many amazing volunteers helped to make this happen.  Many thanks to those of you who took the time to bake and for sharing your holiday spirit with our neighbors in need.
A special thank you to Pizza Bistro for baking 2,400

 cookies and to Courtney Hyland’s Life Skills class at Sparta High School for also baking thousands of cookies, yes that’s right, thousands of cookies!!  This program would not be possible without the help of so many people. To those who participated in any way, please know you truly helped to brighten the holidays for so many children and families.

Note In a Coat

A heartfelt thanks to everyone who collected and donated coats that helped to make this year’s program our BEST ever.  Thanks to your generosity we were able to distribute 1,591 coats to people who truly needed them.  A special thanks to the following schools who participated and helped to collect several hundred coats; Mohawk Ave School, Lenape Valley High School, Newton High School, Sparta High School, Wallkill Valley High School, Sussex Technical High School. Thanks also to the following businesses who served as collection sites; First Hope Bank in Sparta, Vernon Plaza Cleaners, Betty Brite Cleaners, Center Dry Cleaners, E&A Cleaner and Star Cleaners. A special thank you to Sutherland Packaging for providing a truck and driver for transporting coats

Families Come together to serve their Community

Families Come together to serve their Community

Thank you to all our volunteers who attended Pass It Along’s annual Family Volunteer Day! On November 22nd, families of all kinds, girl scouts, sports teams, students from both Helen Morgan School and Sparta Middle school, and families across Sussex

County came together to feed over 60 families in need during theThanksgiving holiday. Participants adoptedfamilies, providingthem with a frozen turkey and all of the non-perishable food items needed to make a complete Thanksgiving meal. Throughout the day, participants decorated  boxes that their meals were placed in, created centerpieces, recipe books, placemats, Thanksgiving cards, and baked cookies. Not only was it a fun-filled day, but our volunteers and their families made it possible for other families ton share a meal and carry on their Thanksgiving traditions