#BeTheChange Blog

Pass It Along Alumni Shares Passions with New York Youth
Sparta native shares her passion and skills in uprising non-profit organization in Harlem, New York.
By: Zachary Anderson

SPARTA (NJ) - Christie Taylor, a local Sparta native, is taking her passions to the next level. This time, at a much larger scale, in the biggest city on Earth.

After teaching hip-hop dance for six years, Taylor decided to turn her passion for the arts and community service into one, establishing Center Stage for Change. The organization is located in Harlem, New York, and gives youth in New York City the opportunity to audiate and express their talents in performing arts, all while working to raise funds and awareness to social issues and causes they are passionate about.
Taylor’s inspiration sparked from an internship she took at the Boys and Girls Club of Scranton, P.A., where she took notice to the student’s various talents, seeking a need to have their talents celebrated and expressed. The program offers affordable hip-hop dance classes to all individuals between the ages of 5 and 13.

Taylor also saw a need for a community-based program in the Harlem area, similar to Pass It Along, and wanted individuals to recognize their true potential as leaders. All classes taught by Taylor work to prepare for collaborative show, which aim to raise funds towards a cause chosen by the dance students. This ranges from projects, such as creating a playground in their local neighborhood, to donating funds towards educational purposes or other non-profit organizations within their community.

“Center Stage for Change not only allows youth to express themselves through dance, but gives them an opportunity to advocate for the change they want to see in their own communities,” says Taylor, “The kids love to dance, and of course this is such a wonderful outlet for all of them.”
During these courses, Taylor administers goLEAD, a youth-based program that works to develop critical leadership skills that prepare individuals to face and solve issues within their community. Throughout the goLEAD curriculum, participants will become strong leaders who are aware of their own potential, have the capability to communicate and express themselves well, and know a vast variety of leadership styles.

This Thursday, August 15, 2019, St. Moritz Grill and Bar, located on White Deer Plaza in Lake Mohawk, will be hosting Robert Ambrosino at 8:00pm. The event will be held in the Beer Garden. All proceeds raised during the event will go towards Christie Taylor and Center Stage for Change. All are encouraged to join Taylor for a wonderful evening, filled with great music, great people and for a great cause. For more information on the uprising organization, please visit www.centerstageforchange.org.
Pass It Along Saddles Up With Rivers Edge Horse Rescue and Sanctuary
Local non-profit organization establishes partnership with local horse rescue, expanding various volunteer opportunities.
By: Zachary Anderson

LAFAYETTE (NJ) - Pass It Along, a local non-profit organization based in Lafayette, New Jersey, has recently partnered with Rivers Edge Horse Rescue and Sanctuary, based in Newton, New Jersey. The facility was established in 2010 by Diane Romano-Potocki, who currently still owns and manages the property and the sanctuary. Her mission is to rescue abandoned, unwanted and slaughter-bound horses, and provide them with the proper living conditions to carry out a healthy, peaceful life.

“Taking on this mission has certainly been a labor of love for her and we are happy to be part of such a passionate service,” says Karen Baldini, Programs Manager for Pass It Along,  “Her values are consistent with our program’s mission including helping those who cannot help themselves.”

Since it’s inception in 2001, Pass It Along has documented 265,155 total volunteer hours, engaging thousands of volunteers in ongoing and annual service projects centered on literacy, neighborhood revitalization, homelessness, hunger, poverty and disaster relief.

Rivers Edge Horse Rescue and Sanctuary offers a variety of volunteer opportunities, open to all individuals of any age. Teenagers under the age of 15 are required to be accompanied by a parent or guardian when visiting at the horse rescue, however, those between the ages of 15 and 18 are required to get permission from a parent or guardian. Participants are required to dress appropriately and wear closed-toed shoes.

Volunteer opportunities include cleaning stalls, feeding the horses and assisting with the rehabilitation of the sanctuary horses. Assistance is also needed with administrative and clerical work, as well as fundraising and photography.

“I think its going to help us grow our volunteer-based programs, help the animals and help the rescue grow,” says Romano-Potocki, “It has been great so far having Pass It Along work with us, and we eagerly await more positive things in the future.”

Romano-Potocki opens her volunteer opportunities to all members of the community, and is currently developing specialized services to specific demographics, including veterans. 

“We want to help veterans, not only just male veterans, but also a specialized program for females. There is not much out there available for women; just as much as men are beneficial, so are women.”

Rivers Edge Horse Rescue and Sanctuary is holding an open house on Sunday,  July 14, 2019 from 12:00pm-5:00pm. The event is free, and open to the public, offering the chance to meet the horses, as well as enjoy food, music and crafts.

To learn more about volunteering at the horse rescue, or learn more about the organization, please visit www.riversedgehorserescue.org. To sign up through Pass It Along, please visit www.passitalong.org and click, “Volunteer Now!” For more information on this volunteer opportunity, please contact Karen Baldini at karen@passitalong.org, or (973)-726-9777.
10th Annual Pass It Along Triathlon Scheduled for July 27, 2019
Athletes throughout Northern New Jersey head to Lake Mohawk, in Sparta, to participate in the annual event.

LAFAYETTE (NJ) - Pass It Along is set to hold the 10th Annual Pass It Along Triathlon, located at Lake Mohawk Country Club, in Sparta, New Jersey. Each year, this event brings together over one-thousand members of the local community to watch hundreds of participants bike, swim and run the streets of Sparta, Andover and Byram. For the past nine years, Pass It Along has gathered 350 participants for the event, capping off the maximum number of participants. This year, the presenting sponsors of the event are Newton Medical Center and Atlantic Sports Health. Gold sponsors include The Orthopedic Institute of New Jersey, Lakeland Bank and Brazill Brothers and Associates, Inc..

The two course offerings for the event include sprint and olympic courses. The Sprint course consists of a 400-meter swim, 10.8 mile bike and a 3.1 mile run. The Olympic course consists of a 1,500 meter swim, 21.6 mile bike and a 6.2 mile run.

Both courses are open to individuals and relay teams of two or three members. Awards will be given to 1st, 2nd & 3rd place overall male & female per course, relay teams and various age group categories.

The price for registration begins at $104.00, and is currently open to the public. Participants that register before June 7, 2019 receive a $19.00 discount, using the code: passitalong upon checkout. Sussex Bike & Sport Shop of Sussex is raffling off several prizes for all registrants. Registration before June 7, 2019 gives participants five raffle tickets towards the prizes. All registrants past June 7th up until the event provide one raffle ticket. Participants also receive a free t-shirt.

For more information about the Pass It Along Triathlon, including information about the event and registration, please visit www.passitalong.org/events. Registration for the event can be found at https://runsignup.com/Race/NJ/Sparta/ PassItAlong. Any questions can be sent to Zachary Anderson at zachary@passitalong.org, or (973) 726-9777 ext. 233.
#BeTheChange This Summer with Pass It Along
Pass It Along offers a variety of volunteer and leadership opportunities to all members of the local community.

LAFAYETTE (NJ) - As the temperatures get warmer and local schools end session, Pass It Along, a local non-profit based in Lafayette, New Jersey, gets ready to get summer started on a high note. Each summer, Pass It Along offers a variety of volunteer and leadership opportunities to the local community, offering activities and workshops to accommodate a variety of interests.

Throughout the year, Pass It Along is home to several signature leadership programs, as well as weekly volunteer opportunities throughout Sussex County. These programs specifically target middle and high school level teenagers in building confidence, compassion and resilience through self-discovery, leadership and volunteerism. This summer, the non-profit organization has geared up with several new opportunities, as well as re-introduced and continued several current leadership programs. Three leadership programs held throughout the summer include So...Life, Pride in Action and Pass Art Along.

So...Life is an eight-week dynamic program focused on developing a positive sense of self in order to enhance, build, and restore one’s confidence and strength to fulfill and reach one’s full potential. This program includes four weeks of workshops centered around self-discovery, self-assessment and worth, goal- setting, feeling comfortable in your own skin, celebrating strengths and identifying weakness. The final four weeks include; guest speakers, embracing nature, and volunteer work and/or service projects.

Pride in Action brings together & educates LGBTQ+ and allied youth in an inclusive space for self-discovery, support, and action. Pride in Action is open to all individuals. Each week will be a different format, which will rotate, including open self-discovery, discussion, guest speakers, quarterly movies, leadership skills, volunteer opportunity planning and discussions on history, current events, and the LGBTQ+ movement.

Pass Art Along is an immersive and expressive group aimed at serving our passions, community, and individual paths through the arts. Musicians, singers, writers, poets, comedians, actors, painters, and artists of any kind are invited to join Pass Art Along. We will showcase our art on a weekly basis and plan a service project to benefit the well-being of the community. Each meeting will be focused on a different subject related to self-discovery through the arts.

“Our summer opportunities help to maintain structure, responsibility, socialization and experience, says Jennifer Poquette, Manager of Leadership and School-Based Programs for Pass It Along, “It allows teenagers to have something to be a part of, and to belong to. In turn, we hope for them to find passions, while still reinforcing the feeling of purpose.”

Several volunteer opportunities will also be available to all members of the community. Opportunities include Knit and Crochet for a Cause and Ryan’s Cases for Smiles. Knit and Crochet for a Cause volunteers will help to craft hats, scarves, and more for those in need. Volunteers for Ryan’s Cases for Smiles sew pillowcases for children who are terminally ill. Donations will be made to local hospitals to bring some light to the life of a child.

Pass It Along also hosts Tilly’s Kids, a summer based program that match volunteers with a buddy and spend the day participating in activities like swimming, trampoline, sports games, Swartswood Lake trips, and so much more.

Pass It Along recently began offering volunteer opportunities through River’s Edge Horse Rescue and Sanctuary, based in Newton, New Jersey. River's Edge Horse Rescue and Sanctuary is dedicated to rescuing abused, abandoned, unwanted and slaughter-bound horses and providing them with a sanctuary where they can live out the remainder of their lives with dignity and peace at a loving and caring facility. Volunteer opportunities include cleaning stalls, feeding horses, helping with the rehabilitation of the sanctuary horses, and administrative and clerical work.

For more information on each volunteer and leadership opportunity, and to register, please visit www.passitalong.org, and click “Volunteer Now,” on themain page of the website. For further questions, please contact Michael Misukonis, Manager of Programs, at michael@passitalong.org, or (973)-726-9777.