Transamerica Volunteers at Twin Oaks

Posted on July 14, 2014

THANK YOU to our friends from Transamerica in Mt. Laurel! They donated their time last week to help beautify one of our group homes. The team spent hours weeding, planting, pruning and more. Check out some photos:

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If your group would like to do a similar project, please contact the Development Office at 609-267-5928.

- Rachael

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Independence Day for Aging-Out Foster Kids

Posted on July 3, 2014

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The Fourth of July: fireworks, the beach, picnics and parades. We celebrate our forefathers, our veterans and most of all, our freedom!

For some of our foster teens aging-out, the time has come for their personal independence. Aging out refers to children within the foster care system who leave the foster care system after graduating high school or reaching the age of 18 or 21. As with all youth, this is a pivotal transitional time from childhood to adulthood. It can be a confusing and stressful time and these teens still need effective guidance in order to be successfully and independently support themselves.

No child should have to face the challenges alone. Twin Oaks Foster Parents are key factors in positively shaping the lives of our youth who have reached the milestone of graduating high school this past June. Foster parents and Twin Oaks staff will continue to support our aging-out youth whether they are college-bound or entering the workforce. Unfortunately, there are still thousands of teens across the country who lose their support as they age-out many lack the self-sufficiency skills needed to thrive on their own. As a result, aging-out youth are becoming the fastest growing demographic contributing to homelessness in our country.

Our nation’s youth need you to help mold them before they reach adulthood. By becoming a foster parent you will help make our country a place where all children can celebrate independence!

Got Love? Become a Foster Parent 1-877-FosterYes or visit www.FosterYes.org

- Ivy

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R.I.T.E. Center Open House

Posted on June 26, 2014

Earlier today, the Twin Oaks R.I.T.E. Center hosted an Open House to raise awareness of the services provided through their peer-run, self help center. The R.I.T.E. (Realizing Independence Through Empowerment) Center focuses on complete wellness and recovery for individuals struggling with mental illness and/or addiction.

Don’t worry if you missed the event: The R.I.T.E. Center is open Tuesday – Saturday: 12 – 6 p.m. and walk-ins are welcome and you do not need an appointment! To be be eligible to attend you must be a Burlington County residents and be at least 18 years old.

Here are just a few shots from today’s events:

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- Rachael

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Become a Hunger Hero: Hunger Doesn’t Take A Vacation

Posted on June 24, 2014

PBJ Boy

The words ‘summer vacation’ often evoke images of fireworks, fireflies and flips flops. Unfortunately, for many families in our area, summer means a struggle to feed their children healthy, filling meals. An estimated 39,000 children in South Jersey are at risk of malnutrition during the summer months when schools’ federal breakfast and lunch programs are not available. For families living below the poverty level, school means more than just education; it also means a dependable source of food.

How YOU can make a difference!

1. Drop off donations. Monday-Friday, 9am to 5pm, at the following locations:
Twin Oaks Food Pantry
770 Woodlane Road, Suite 16
Mt. Holly, NJ 08060

Twin Oaks Berlin Food Pantry
128 Cross Keys Road
Berlin, NJ 08009

2. Hold a drive. Involve your friends, family or co-workers! You can make a difference by hosting a food drive to help replenish our supplies.

3. Make a monetary donation. Mail to Twin Oaks Community Services, Attn: Development Office, 770 Woodlane Road, Mt. Holly, NJ 08060 or donate online:
DonateOnlineToday (1)

Stock the Twin Oaks Food Pantries with Kid Friendly Items:

-Peanut Butter & Jelly
-Tuna
-Macaroni & Cheese
-Applesauce
-Canned Pasta
-Fruit Snacks
-Microwave Meals
-Fruit Juice (100%)
-Powdered/Canned Milk
-Breakfast Bars
-Hot/Cold Cereal
-Raisins
-Pop Tarts

Looking for more ways to get involved? Visit our Hunger Doesn’t Take A Vacation page!

Questions? Please call the Development Office at 609-267-5928 or email Keyanna Turner at keyanna.turner@twinoakscs.org.

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Mind Your Health

Posted on June 16, 2014

Today on the blog, we’re featuring an important article Twin Oaks CEO Bob Pekar recently wrote for our Spring Newsletter:

MHM 2014 Mind Your Health Logo

I’m often asked the question, “How do I keep up good mental health?” Although there is no one simple answer, the good news is there are many healthy choices and steps that people can adopt to promote and strengthen not just mental health, but overall well-being.

Overall health and wellness is not possible without taking care of both body and mind. Just as Americans have learned ways to reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer and other illnesses, we must also learn ways to cope with the stress of daily life and the challenges it brings. We can all take small steps to promote better mental health.

Check out these 5 tips from Twin Oaks for minding your health-

1. Reach out and engage someone every day. Relationships and social connections can ward off the effects of stress on depression, anxiety and other health problems. Listening to someone’s wants and needs can often shed a new light on your own challenges.

2. Work on letting go of blaming anyone but yourself for the way life treats you. Even when life is unfair, blaming others leaves you powerless to make positive, healthy and lasting changes in your life. Taking full responsibility allows you to reclaim the power over your own choices and improve opportunities for change.

3. Eat healthier today than yesterday. A heart healthy diet and exercise are key to not just physical, but mental health. The types of foods and drinks you consume determine the types of nutrients in your system and impact how well your mind and body are able to function.

4. Don’t kid yourself! Sleep is critical and lack of sleep makes everything difficult. Poor sleep is linked to significant problems including greater risk of depression and anxiety, increased risk of heart disease and impaired memory. Getting some shut-eye will make you more likely to succeed at your tasks and in turn enjoy greater well-being

5. Wake up and make changes today; yesterday is already in the past. It’s important to not let your past define you. Each day presents a new opportunity to start over, learn from our mistakes, choose a new attitude and move forward.

It is also essential to understand when to reach out to a mental health professional for help if you’re feeling overwhelmed or unable to cope. At Twin Oaks our role remains not just to provide mental health services but to bring awareness to the mental health issues that affect us all at some point in our lives. By gradually making positive changes and building on successes, achieving a healthy lifestyle is possible.

Respectfully,

Bob Pekar

Chief Executive Officer

 

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Mental Health in America Infographic

Posted on June 3, 2014

Debuting our new infographic highlighting the impact Twin Oaks has in our community!

infographic
- Rachael

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National Foster Care Month Recap

Posted on June 1, 2014

National Foster Care Month was officially signed into proclamation by President Barack Obama earlier this year. However, May has been celebrated as “National Foster Care Month” around the country for years.

The month shows appreciation for the 400,000 plus children and youth within the foster care system along with the many devoted professionals and foster families who enrich their lives. It is also a time to drive awareness that there is an urgent need to open more quality homes throughout the state of New Jersey.

Below is a recap of how our Twin Oaks Foster Home Program commemorated the month:

Honoring Foster Families
Our foster parents come from all over the state—from Central Jersey down to the South Jersey Shore. This past year, our program has served hundreds of children, some of whom were reunified with their biological families and others who were able to create new forever families. Forever families are made up of foster families who have chosen to adopt the child or children that they foster.
Every one of our dedicated foster parents received a token of our appreciation–beautiful and relaxing gift baskets. Each basket included a customized Twin Oaks Foster Home mug with spoon, coffee, assorted tea, candy, and biscotti varieties.

FC Basket

Chick-fil-A Kid’s Night
We teamed up with our wonderful friends at Chick-fil-A Marlton, and turned half of the restaurant into our own Got Love? haven for their weekly Kids’ Night. Kids were invited to make a Mother’s Day craft and card and parents received a hospitality bag packed with our very own Got Love? goodies. The Chick-fil-A Cow even stopped by to entertain the crowd!

FC Got Mom

Librarytales
Thanks to the Camden County Voorhees branch and the Burlington County main branch, we organized a library tour, meet and greet, and a hosting of a Preschool Craft Corner. Staff participated in story time and read The Family Book, by Todd Parr to a group of amazing children. The Family Book describes the many ways in which families are all different yet share one thing in common: a great love for one another.

FC Bird Nest

If you were unable to celebrate National Foster Care Month in May, you can get involved any day of the year by becoming a foster parent, mentor, or volunteer. Call 1-877-FosterYes or visit us on the web at www.FosterYes.org for more information.
- Ivy

 

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Caring for Your Mind and Body

Posted on May 21, 2014

We all know about the importance about taking care of our health— eating right, getting enough sleep, exercising. Healthy habits positively influence how a person feels and how their body functions.

But good health involves not only caring for our body, but also our mind.

The fact is our mental health is integral to our overall health. Far too many Americans fail to incorporate a principal component into their health choices. Yet overall health and wellness are not possible without it.

What is mental health? If you were to ask your office mate, spouse or neighbor, they may respond that it is a “state of mind,” “being content with life” or “feeling good about yourself.” Simply put, mental health is the ability to cope with daily life and the challenges it brings.

When a person has “good” mental health, they deal better with what comes their way. By contrast, “poor” mental health— such as feeling overwhelmed by stress — can make even day-to-day life difficult.

Poor mental health can also significantly harm a person’s physical health. For instance, research shows that stress is closely linked to high blood pressure, heart disease and obesity. It also shows that people who feel depressed or chronically stressed may have a greater risk of physical illnesses.

The good news is there are many healthy choices and steps that individuals can adopt to promote and strengthen mental health—and overall health and well-being.

A healthy lifestyle can help to prevent the onset or worsening of depression, anxiety and other mental health conditions, as well as heart disease, diabetes, obesity and other chronic health problems. It can also help people recover from these conditions.

This May is Mental Health Month, Twin Oaks is raising awareness of the role mental health plays in our lives and providing tips and resources so anyone can take steps to promote good mental health. These include building social support, eating with your mental health in mind, recognizing the signs of stress, and knowing when to reach out for help. Visit our Facebook and Twitter pages for these tips.

Just as Americans have learned there are things they can do to reduce their risk of heart disease and other illnesses, Twin Oaks wants to help people learn what they can do both to protect their mental health in tough times and also to improve their mental well-being throughout their lives.

We need to care for both our body and mind.

This blog is brought to you by our friends at Mental Health America.

- Rachael

 

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Project Dress Up Gives Out 340 Dresses!

Posted on May 20, 2014

Thank you to our generous donors and volunteers for helping us collect and hand out 340 prom dresses so teens in need can attend their prom in style!

Twin Oaks staff and volunteers used the dresses, jewelry, shoes and more to transform the office space donated by Whitesell into a chic shop. Girls visiting the “shop” were able to pick out the perfect ensemble for their Prom Night.

Here are some of our favorite photos and volunteer quotes from the event:

Project Dress Up organizers Lisa Lipka and Anne Greenwood pose with collected dresses.
“Thank you SO much for allowing me to be a part of this wonderful event. It was so rewarding being able to help these young girls and to see them smile. Every girl deserves to feel like a princess on the day of their prom!”

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“The whole day was amazing. The joyfulness the girls showed was and is indescribable. The looks on their faces said whatever wasn’t said. I heard the parents say they appreciated what was done for the young ladies, the dresses were beautiful and thanks to all who made it happen.”

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“It was such a pleasure to help with the “Project Dress Up”. It brings true joy to see others happiness with a random act of kindness.”
- Rachael

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