• Nutley’s Friendly Neighbor-to-Neighbor Program Takes Shape

    In June, we announced that Nutley Family Service Bureau (NFSB) had been awarded a $25,000 grant from State Farm Neighborhood Assist, thanks in large part to a 10-day surge in voting from the Nutley community. Those funds are being used to create Nutley’s Friendly Neighbor-to-Neighbor Program, which will match youth volunteers with seniors for regular visits.

    Molly Clark, MSW (Master of Social Work), Case Management Coordinator at NFSB, is leading this initiative.

    “At this point, we’re focusing on developing a comprehensive volunteer training program, recruiting volunteers, and connecting with senior clients who will participate in the program,” Molly said. “Volunteers will provide an additional line of support when they spend time with clients, so we’re going through an extensive process of interviewing, accepting, and training volunteers.”

    Volunteers will be trained in a variety of areas, such as establishing trust, home safety and general safety, communication with diverse populations, identifying signs of physical and mental health challenges, and role-playing.

    Moving Closer to Launch

    Nutley’s Friendly Neighbor-to-Neighbor Program is off to a terrific start as we build a foundation for success. Here are a few recent developments:

    • We’ve onboarded Siri Bhat as an intern for this program. Siri is a high school student who has volunteered for several years at NFSB and previously worked with Molly to develop the Friendly Visitors program. Siri’s energy and experience will be huge assets to the new initiative!
    • We’ve created a timeline for the development and implementation of the program, with key milestones as on the road to launch.
    • We are actively engaging with community entities to secure the use of their facilities for safe, common spaces where youth volunteers can spend time with senior clients.
    • We have met with a charitable foundation to secure additional grant funding to support Nutley’s Friendly Neighbor-to-Neighbor Program.

    How You Can Help

    We’re looking for youth volunteers! If you would enjoy spending time with seniors who have a lifetime of stories and experiences to share, we want to hear from you! This is also a great opportunity for teens looking to accumulate service hours for school organizations, church groups, and college applications.

    We’re also looking for seniors who would like to participate in Nutley’s Friendly Neighbor-to-Neighbor Program! We’ll match senior clients with youth volunteers so each visit is rewarding for all involved.

    To become a youth volunteer or senior client, call Molly Clark at 973-667-1884 extension 5 or email mclark@nutleyfamily.org!

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