Posted on August 29, 2014
Frances is looking to give back to the Twin Oaks community in a BIG way! She’s currently seeking monetary and in-kind donations to create 100 care packages for caregivers. Each care package will include resources and gifts to cater to a caregiver’s physical, mental and spiritual needs.
Last year, Frances learned what it was like to be the primary caregiver for an adult living with a mental illness. After her mother suffered a brain aneurysm, Frances became the primary caregiver for her father who lives with an aggressive form of Bipolar Disorder. Managing his doctor’s appointments, medication schedule and mood swings along with her mother’s new health issues began to overwhelm her.
Frances reached out to the Twin Oaks Intensive Family Support Services (IFSS) program. IFSS’s goal is to improve the quality of life of people caring for an adult with a serious mental illness. IFSS provided a case manager to Frances and her father who helped coordinate her dad’s care. They also helped provide assistance in taking him to his many appointments.
In her own words, Frances shared what it meant to her to be a part of our IFSS program, “It’s a place of understanding and support for people who might feel isolated and alone otherwise.”
Frances’ own situation has fueled her to spearhead this CarePackages for CareGivers program. Being a caregiver can be very challenging and stressful but it can also be a very loving and beautiful experience. She wants to provide caregivers access to products,services and resources that help them take care of themselves so that they can be better able to care for their loved one!
To support Frances, visit her Kickstarter page: http://www.gofundme.com/d1ju3c
Visit the CarePackage for CareGivers Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/CarePackageforCareGivers
Posted on August 12, 2014
Today on the blog, we’re featuring an important article regarding housing Twin Oaks CEO Bob Pekar recently wrote for our Summer Newsletter:
Everyone deserves a decent affordable home to live in, raise a family, build a life and enjoy a future. Unfortunately, the words “affordable” and “housing” often do not fit together, especially for those with special needs. On the night of January 28, 2014, 13,900 homeless men, women and children were counted across the state of New Jersey during a “point in time” count which gives a snapshot of the homeless population. This was an overall increase of 1,898 persons, or 15.8%, compared to the 2013 count.
Forty percent reported some type of disability, with more reporting mental health issues (20.4%) than any other type of disability. Many individuals affected by mental illness fall well below the minimum income level required to obtain adequate housing but often don’t know where to turn for help. Inadequate housing can lead not just to homelessness, but also lengthy hospitalizations, frequent visits to psychiatric screening centers and ERs, and involvement in the criminal justice system. Without a home to live in dignity, it is nearly impossible to move toward wellness and recovery.
We understand the critical need to provide housing that is not only safe, permanent and affordable but also accessible to community resources and transportation. Twin Oaks currently houses and provides essential behavioral health services to 448 people in 114 supportive housing residences and 47 group homes in 46 communities throughout New Jersey. In addition, our PATH (Projects for Assistance in Transitioning from Homelessness) program in Camden County places adults with a serious mental illness who are homeless or at risk of homelessness in appropriate housing and links them to formal mental health treatment.
New Jersey is one of the costliest places to live in the country, and we owe it to the most vulnerable members of our community to put affordable housing within reach. Treatment and housing services can mean the difference between a person lost and a full meaningful productive life. By working together, we can help everyone attain the simple dream of “having a place to call home.”
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:
If your group would like to do a similar project, please contact the Development Office at 609-267-5928.
Posted on July 3, 2014
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
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:
Posted on June 24, 2014
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.
Stock the Twin Oaks Food Pantries with Kid Friendly Items:
-Peanut Butter & Jelly
-Macaroni & Cheese
-Fruit Juice (100%)
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 email@example.com.
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:
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.
Chief Executive Officer
Posted on June 13, 2014
Nancy Shugar, the Program Developer for Twin Oaks’ Foster Home Program recently chatted with a Foster Dad, Henry. Henry and his wife have fostered many children over the years after raising their biological children.
Nancy: How do you plan to spend this Father’s Day?
Henry: I’m going fishing. It is something my cousin and I get together and do on Father’s Day for the last few years now.
Nancy: What encouraged you and your wife to become foster parents?
Henry: I had the experience of being a foster child myself and I knew that I wanted to give back some day.
Nancy: What would you tell another man that is considering becoming a Foster Dad?
Henry: I would say that the most important thing you can do for them is give them your time and your attention. That really matters the most.
Nancy: How do you engage children to give them that time and attention?
Henry: It is important to stay on top of their interests, find things for them to experience and get involved with them. I will never forget taking girls to see the Broadway show “Lion King” a few years back. Before we even got to the play, it was great to see how amazed they were to just be riding a train for the first time and to look up at how tall the buildings were in the city. Last night, we went to Friendly’s for ice cream with another foster family to celebrate a birthday and those types of things really matter as well.
You can also involve them in your interests and learn things from you, show them what you think about and like to do, it may be simple everyday things. However, I would also say it is important to have some time for yourself and let a child have his or her time as well.
Nancy: Like taking some time to fish on Father’s Day if that is what you enjoy?
Henry: Yes, like fishing on Father’s Day!
Happy Father’s Day, Henry!
GOT LOVE? BECOME A FOSTER PARENT! 887-Fosteryes or visit us on the web at www.fosteryes.org.
Posted on June 3, 2014
Debuting our new infographic highlighting the impact Twin Oaks has in our community!