If you noticed a caped crusader running through the woods near Rowan College at Gloucester County on Saturday, June 11th, they weren’t filming a scene from an upcoming Marvel movie. Rather, local heroes joined the United Way of Gloucester County for their 4th annual 5K and 1 mile walk. This year’s theme, “LIVE HEROIC, LIVE UNITED” allowed runners to fight real life villains such as hunger, unemployment and illiteracy. While decked out in comic book related attire, these supermen and women were supporting over 25 Gloucester County programs and initiatives in the areas of education, health and financial stability. Our event SPONSORS are also superheroes! The sponsorships allow proceeds raised from runner registrations to support the community.
Please enjoy some PHOTOS of the event. For more information on upcoming events through the United Way of Gloucester County, please contact Leah Klem at 856-845-4303 ext. 12 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
"The need for this service was real, and our residents and employers are benefitting." Freeholder Director Robert M. Damminger is speaking about the Pureland East-West Community Shuttle, which is celebrating its one year anniversary on June 1. The shuttle, led by the United Way of Gloucester County and supported by the South Jersey Transportation Authority, Heart of South Jersey, the County of Gloucester, NJ Transit and Cross County Transportation Management Association, is funded by a grant from the Pascale Sykes Foundation after a Gloucester County study identified transportation as a roadblock to success for residents.
To celebrate the one year anniversary, all riders will receive one free trip on June 1. Those riders will also receive a free one-way coupon to give to a friend so loyal riders can share the experience with others. Michael Gower, Executive Director of the United Way of Gloucester County, is hoping to show even more residents the value of the shuttle. "Since the launch in June 2015, our ridership continues to grow exponentially. Every chance we get to share this service with Gloucester County residents is a chance to highlight the power of the partnerships United Way makes in the community, and the value we bring to residents. We are so grateful to our partners for making this initiative such a success."
Fran Sykes of the Pascale Sykes Foundation thinks the first year of the shuttle has been a great achievement, stating, "The Pascale Sykes Foundation is proud to partner on the Pureland East-West Shuttle. The shuttle provides transportation for anyone and everyone. It runs from the Avondale Park and Ride through Rowan University to Pureland, making it convenient for anyone going to work, to school, medical appointments, to visit relatives or just to ride and enjoy the scenery." She is proud of the literature provided on the shuttles for riders, containing everything from recipes to information about community services. It's also only one dollar per ride, making it affordable for all. "Try the shuttle. It's a great experience."
Other shuttle partners shared their positive thoughts on the success of the initiative.
Stephen F. Dougherty, Executive Director of the South Jersey Transportation Authority said, "We're happy to announce that as we approach our one-year anniversary, the Pureland East-West Community Shuttle continues to grow, with ridership tripling from our first month of operation in June 2015 to more than 2,100 riders in April 2016."
Paul Blackstock of The Heart of South Jersey makes it a point to find out how the shuttle is impacting the community. "As a member of the collaboration, I make an effort to ride the shuttle on a regular basis to speak with the riders that utilize the service. Those that I spoke with had high praise for the service and the drivers. Many simply use the service to get to their place of employment which several have stated that they would not be able to do without the shuttle."
Warren Strumpfer, a community volunteer and frequent rider of the shuttle, can't speak highly enough of the service, and particularly of the care of the drivers. "The South Jersey Transportation Authority shuttle management and drivers truly fulfill the slogan "Excellence in Transportation" that's on the side of their vehicles. It's apparent that the drivers frequently communicate with management to continue to improve the quality of service. These drivers really add value to the riders. It's truly a great service."
About Pureland East-West Shuttle: The Pureland East-West Shuttle launched in June 2015. The route takes riders from the Avondale Park and Ride in Sicklerville to the Pureland Complex in Logan Township, with stops in Williamstown, Glassboro, Mullica Hill and Swedesboro.
As part of this initiative an internal shuttle is available for those who are traveling into the Pureland Industrial Complex for work. This circulator bridges the gap from the end of the run to the local businesses.
The Pureland East-West Shuttle operates Monday thru Friday from 5:00 am to 7:30 pm and connects with 11 NJ Transit Bus Routes to provide more than 125 possible connections. The shuttle’s low fare, $1.00 per trip, and reciprocal transfer agreement with NJ Transit, makes the Pureland East-West Community Shuttle an economical and easy way to travel throughout Gloucester County and southern New Jersey.
For more information, visit http://www.driveless.com/PurelandEastWestShuttle.html
The United Way of Gloucester County is pleased to announce that Heather Simmons will be the 2016 Campaign Chair.
Heather Simmons has lived in Gloucester County since 1994. She holds a bachelor's degree in international relations and politics from Saint Joseph's University, where she was Valedictorian of the Class of 1991. She also holds a master's degree in public relations from Rowan University and completed several courses toward a Ph.D. in education at Capella University (Minneapolis, MN). Heather is Associate Director of the Rowan University Fossil Park and previously owned her own communications firm.
Heather was named one of South Jersey Biz Magazine’s “Women to Watch” for 2012. In 2011, she was named Business Advocate of the Year by the National Association of Women Business Owners-South Jersey Chapter, and was recognized by South Jersey Magazine as a local “Superwoman.” In 2001, she was named Woman of the Year, Women in Communications, by the Gloucester County Commission on Women. She served on the Marketing Committee for the United Way of Gloucester County and on the Board of the Greater Glassboro Chamber of Commerce. She is a member of the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO), Gloucester County Chamber of Commerce and previously served as a Commissioner with the Gloucester County Library System.
As Freeholder, Heather is Liaison to the Department of Economic Development and Public Works, including oversight of Tourism, Community and Economic Development (Business Retention and Attraction, Gloucester County Chamber of Commerce), Engineering, Planning, Roads, Highways, Fleet Management, Mosquito Control and the Solid Waste Advisory Council. She also serves as First Vice President for the NJ Association of Counties. Her main focus is on the integral tie between education and job creation, and helped to forge a groundbreaking dual enrollment agreement between Gloucester County College and Rowan University that will save local students about $20,000 in pursuit of a bachelor’s degree in Gloucester County.
With Heather’s many skills and her deep passion for Gloucester County, we are thrilled to have her on board to lead the charge for the upcoming campaign season.
Thank you so much to our outgoing 2015 Campaign Chair, Scott Kintzing. We are grateful for your strong leadership and support.
Our theme this year was "Cinco de Mayo", and attendees numbering nearly 200 enjoyed the Mariachi music, colorful decorations, selfie station, and the Wine & Whiskey Pull while munching on tacos and appreciating each other's camaraderie. The event was declared a great success by all!
At the event, we honored our Spirit Winners...Jim Broomall and Amber Burruezo, our Women's Leadership Council Award Winner...Rachael Massing, and our most prestigious award, the Volunteer Leadership Award, this year given to longtime United Way volunteer and supporter Mike Drager of Axeon Specialty Products. Congratulations to all the winners!!
In Auletto's wine cellar at our Volunteer Leadership Event are, left to right, 2013 Campaign Chair and Glo. Co. Deputy Freeholder Director Joe Chila, incoming Campaign Chair for 2016 and Glo. Co. Freeholder Heather Simmons, and 2015 Campaign Chair and United Way Board member Scott Kintzing.
Please click here to see more pictures from this event!
Clarifi – Financial Smarts – Financial Literacy Workshops
The Financial Smarts initiative includes educational workshops targeted to adults who are seeking a stronger understanding of the basics of personal finance. The program covers a wide range of topics, including budgeting and money management; credit and credit report; banking basics; debt and consumer protections; and keys to homeownership.
Emmanuel Cancer Foundation – Pediatric Cancer Family Services Program
The Family Services Program is offered free-of-charge to children with cancer and their families. The program includes some or all of the following services: in-home counseling by a professional caseworker; advocacy with outside agencies; when needed, provisions of material goods such as food, clothing, household items, and toys; emergency financial aid. The children and families are helped with their day-to-day needs at home where they might be isolated and missing support.
Gloucester County Habitat for Humanity – Veteran Build Home
Habitat for Humanity partners with a family, volunteers and others to build homes for low-to-moderate income families. This home is being built for a Veteran and his family in Clayton. There are financial responsibilities to become a partner family, such as they pay for the down payment, closing costs and require 6 months proof of steady employment. The family contributes 350 “sweat equity” hours in the building of their home.
Greater Woodbury Cooperative Ministries – Summer Lunch Box Program
The GWCM recognizes that the summer months place an extra burden on families when school-aged children, who normally receive free/reduced breakfasts and lunches at school, are at home during the summer break. For the past ten years, the organization has conducted a Summer Lunchbox Program for qualifying children. Each week, the family is provided with five nutritionally complete “boxes” of food per child. Each box contains shelf-stable milk, low-sugar breakfast cereal, a box of 100% juice, a microwavable lunch item, a snack and a piece of fresh fruit. Also provided is a new or gently used donated book for each child once per week and donated age-appropriate school supplies for when they return to school.
Kings Things – Laptop and software for clients’ use
The agency assists local families to a path to financial stability, fostering life skills that will promote personal responsibility and increase financial stability, which leads to greater independence from formal support services and utilize personal assets. The use of the computer, and purchased software, will help in resume writing, job searches, budget development, services and in other areas. Utilizing the computer at the agency, with the assistance of staff and volunteers, will give the client privacy, confidentiality, assistance, build confidence and with more time than is available at local libraries.
SHADOW Equestrian – Special saddles and equipment for children with disabilities
The agency provides recreational therapeutic riding instruction to disabled children and their instructors are certified through the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International. The children have physical disabilities, such as Cerebral Palsy and other muscular diagnoses, focusing on balance, stability, core strength and stamina. Also served are children on the Autism spectrum, focusing on accepting new environments and situations, and those with Down Syndrome, where the focus is on core strength, weight control and behavior issues. The agency has eight different horses and ponies, based on personality, body type, gait movement and ability to work in unusual situations with disabled children. The saddles and tack need to be modified to fit a variety of needs of the riders. The funding will be used for a special saddle and equipment which would stay more balanced, making it easier for the rider to stay centered, especially when turning the horse around poles and cones.
For the breakdown of funding for each of the above programs, please click here.