New Year, New Ways to Get Involved

Posted on January 7, 2015

Make a difference in YOUR community this year! Check out all these YOU can get involved with Twin Oaks:

1. Make a donation online or mail to:
Twin Oaks Community Services
770 Woodlane Road
Attn: Development
Mt. Holly, NJ 08060

2. Hold a food drive for our Food Pantries in Mt. Holly and Berlin.

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3. Become a volunteer at Twin Oaks.

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4. Attend a special event like the upcoming Haddonfield Progressive Dinner.

April 25, 2014 / Twin Oaks Progressive Dinner / Haddonfield, NJ

5. Drop off gently used clothing and household items to the Twin Oaks Thrift Shop.

6. Donate to the upcoming Diaper Derby or Project Dress Up.

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7. Stay Connected Online – find us on Facebook, Twitter and Flickr.

Questions? Contact our Development Department at 609-267-5928.

-Rachael

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2014 Year In Review

Posted on December 31, 2014

In 2014, you helped us collect over 18,500 diapers, 650 backpacks, 340 prom dresses, 900 Thanksgiving meals, 9,000 holiday gifts, and MUCH more for vulnerable children, adults and families in Twin Oaks programs.

Thank you – our generous donors, volunteers, partners and advocates – for your continued support along the way. We truly look forward to working with you again in 2015!

Here are just a few of our favorite photos from 2014:

Project Dress Up organizers Lisa Lipka and Anne Greenwood pose with collected dresses.

Project Dress Up organizers Lisa Lipka and Anne Greenwood pose with collected dresses.

 

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Twin Oaks Food Pantries receive donation from Bottom Dollar.

 

April 25, 2014 / Twin Oaks Progressive Dinner / Haddonfield, NJ

2014 Haddonfield Progressive Dinner Hosts

 

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Staff from Hoeganaes Corporation pose with their Diaper Derby donation.

 

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Collage from our Third Annual Touch A Truck.

 

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2014 Moorestown Progressive Dinner Hosts.

 

Princeton House

Princeton House staff pose with a small portion of their Turkey Drive Donation.

 

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Our littlest donor poses with Turkey Drive donations at the Goddard School of Delran.

 

Holiday Toy Drive 2014 - Twin Oaks

Liberty Bell Bank shows all the items they collected for our Holiday Giving Drive.

 

– Rachael

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Twin Oaks Receives Over 9,000 Holiday Gifts

Posted on December 24, 2014

THANK YOU to all of our generous community partners who donated over 9,000 gifts to brighten the holiday season! All of our donors, volunteers and staff made this drive a success and contributed to another record breaking year!

Check out some of the photos we captured from this year’s Holiday Giving Drive:

Holiday Toy Drive 2014 - Twin Oaks

Federal Credit Union IMG_4025 US Air Force The Learning Experience Drive LouisGodbold ReMax Drive

 

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GM Vehicle Helps Our Holiday Giving Drive

Posted on December 23, 2014

THANK YOU GM for loaning us a beautiful Chevy Traverse to help with multiple pick-ups and drop-offs for the Holiday Giving Drive.
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We received over 9,000 gifts this year and many of them were transported in the loaner from GM!

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The sunroof was great for the sunny and unseasonable warm weather we had.IMG_4034

With the warmer weather, it certainly did feel like the holidays, the holiday music we were playing through the Bose Sound System helped put us in the spirit!IMG_4040

The back up camera was a big help!

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And we loved the heated seats!

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Thanks GM for making our holiday season a little brighter!

- Rachael

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Spread the Warmth

Posted on December 10, 2014

The Medford Lakes Women’s Club recently hosted an event to collect new coats, hats, gloves and scarves to help kids in Twin Oaks programs stay warm this winter. All together, they collected 30 coats, 60 hats, 85 gloves and 15 scarves!
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Thank you to everyone who supported this drive! These items are desperately needed during the cold winter months and will help children in our communities this season.

– Rachael

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Spread Holiday Cheer This Year: Jessica, Charles & Ben

Posted on December 8, 2014

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We invite YOU to spread holiday cheer this year. You can make an impact by giving a monetary contribution, providing holiday gifts or sponsoring a family in need. Just imagine the joy and holiday memories your donation will bring to those who need it the most…

Jessica and Charles didn’t know where to turn. They struggled for many years to find the best treatment for their thirteen-year-old son Benjamin who has autism, cerebral palsy and is blind. Just as they were losing all hope, they decided to try our Bridging Family Support program, which provides intensive in-home support for children with developmental disabilities.

When we first met Ben, he was non-verbal and had no communication skills. He refused to get on the bus and experienced social difficulties at school. By developing his love of music, our therapeutic team worked with Ben to expand his vocabulary and he now uses thirty words! The family now focuses on positive behaviors and forming coping skills to deal with frustrations. Jessica and Charles are ecstatic that Ben now gets excited every morning to ride the bus to school with new friends.

Although Ben’s quality of life is improving, the family continues to struggle financially because of skyrocketing medical bills. To make matters worse, Charles was laid off from his job in the construction field earlier this year. When Jessica isn’t dedicating time to Ben, she works part time while he is in school. The family visits the Twin Oaks Food Pantry monthly so they have enough food to put on the table.

Looking forward to 2015, the family hopes to stay in their home and get their finances back on track. Jessica shares, “There is absolutely nothing worse than the feelings of complete hopelessness I felt at this point last year. I cannot believe the progress we have made as a family. Tomorrow no longer seems so overwhelming.”

Visit our Holiday Giving Drive page to learn how you can make a difference this holiday season!

– Rachael

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What are you thankful for?

Posted on November 27, 2014

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

During the holiday season, more than ever, my thoughts turn gratefully to everyone who supports our mission. We can’t thank you enough for sharing the warmth and joy of your heart with those served by our organization. As our organization grows, so has your generosity.

In 2014 we served over 11,000 people and opened several new programs to help meet the ever-growing need for services in our community. It is not enough for us to simply offer services to community members who come to us struggling with mental illness. Our job is to provide a consistent, compassionate support system to help individuals stay engaged through the life struggles they face and move on to lead full, productive lives.

So far this year, you helped us collect over 18,500 diapers, 340 prom dresses, 650 stuffed backpacks, and MUCH more for vulnerable children, adults and families in Twin Oaks programs. Your donations make an incredible impact on the lives of individuals and families in our programs. Families like the Coopers…

The Cooper family turned to Twin Oaks earlier this year after mom Janine faced life threatening complications following a surgery that put tremendous financial and emotional stress on the family of six. Janine was forced to leave her job and the family was left to deal with mounting medical bills on dad Matthew’s salary.

Over the past nine months the Coopers have received family therapy and counseling at our Family Preservation Services program (FPS). The family learned behavior management skills and new healthy ways to cope with the mental and physical stressors in their lives. Janine said it best, “I no longer feel guilt and shame and understand that we have the power to make positive changes.”

Although Janine’s health has improved and she looks forward to beginning work again in the new year, the family will struggle to make ends meet this holiday season. You can help us spread joy and happiness to all of our consumers during the holidays by giving the gift of a child’s toy, a warm winter coat or a bag of groceries. Each simple act of kindness will mean so much to someone vulnerable, suffering or alone.

As we move forward into 2015, your generosity is critical now more than ever. Whether you help by volunteering, making a donation or simply advocating on our behalf, we can’t thank you enough for your continued support.

Best wishes for the holiday season,

Bob Pekar
Chief Executive Officer


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Twin Oaks Receives Over 900 Turkeys

Posted on November 26, 2014

A big THANK YOU to our generous community partners who donated
over 900 turkeys with all the trimmings for Thanksgiving this year! All of our donors, volunteers and staff made this drive a success
and contributed to another record breaking year!

Check out some of the photos we captured from this year’s drive:

Princeton HouseDonors from Princeton House Behavioral Health

mooseWomen of the Moose of Mt. Holly

Westampton Middle School Sign Westampton Middle School FoodWestampton Middle School’s drive packed our vehicles!

Stewart Business SystemsCheck out the artwork on the Stewart Business Systems donation box

remaxReMax of Cherry Hill brought us so many items

Save A Lot Turkeys 2Turkeys from our Save-A-Lot donation

Goddard School Delran 1 Goddard School Delran 4Goddard School’s donation and the cutest little turkey!

Medford Middle SchoolOur jam packed car from Milton H. Allen Elementary School

CourtneyCourtney hosted a food drive for us

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The Burlington County Bridge Commission brought us a truckload of donations

brandonandallisaVolunteers busy at work!

AdminPartnersADMIN Partners and their donations

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

-Rachael

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Spread Holiday Cheer This Year

Posted on November 24, 2014

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Do you want to help others in your community this holiday season?

Twin Oaks invites you to create holiday magic by taking part in our Holiday Giving Drive! For many of us, the festive holiday season is full of laughter, gifts and memories with loved ones. Unfortunately, for families struggling to make ends meet the holidays can be an especially challenging time of year.

Share YOUR Holiday Spirit:

1. Hold a Gift Drive. Twin Oaks will provide you with the necessary tools to run your own gift drive from your home, school or office. Invite friends, family and co-workers to help!

2. Sponsor a family or group home. Twin Oaks will provide you with a wishlist for a family in need or a group home. This will help ensure every Twin Oaks consumer receives a gift this holiday season.

3. Make a Monetary Donation. No time to shop? We’ll do it for you! Donate online or mail monetary contributions to Twin Oaks Community Services, Attn: Development Office, 770 Woodlane Road, Mt. Holly, NJ 08060

Donation Ideas:
Please keep in mind gifts for teens and adults!

CHILDREN
Board Games, Puzzles
Books
Arts and Crafts
Educational Toys
Musical Toys
Basketballs, Footballs, Soccer Balls
Sleds
Skateboards
Warm Clothing, Pajamas
Coats, Gloves, Hats, Scarves

TEENS AND ADULTS
Journals
Warm Blankets
Jewelry
Board Games, Puzzles
Hand-held Electronics, MP3 Players
Personal Care Items
Warm Clothing, Sports Jerseys
Pajamas
Coats, Gloves
Scarves, Hats
Purses

Drop off new, unwrapped gifts through Wednesday, December 17 at one of the following locations:

Twin Oaks Community Services
770 Woodlane Road, Suite 16
Mount Holly, NJ 08060

Twin Oaks Community Services
499 Cooper Landing Road
Cherry Hill, NJ 08002

For more information or to sponsor a family or group home call 609-267-5928.

– Rachael

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Healing Through Art Therapy

Posted on November 17, 2014

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Crayons, construction paper, newspaper, water color paints, chalk… believe it or not, such simple tools can help children heal emotionally, psychologically and behaviorally.

The use of Creative Art Therapy continues to grow as a way to promote healing in our Children’s Residential Programs. Sadly, poor relationships and low self-esteem is often learned through difficult childhood experiences. The therapy model uses art as the ‘vehicle’ that allows us to transport children to emotional safety.

When children enter the group home, an Art Therapist helps with the initial assessment in order to develop an effective treatment plan. The therapist alternates structured educational sessions with “Open Studio” sessions which empower children to create their own art in a positive, safe environment. Individual and group sessions give children a creative outlet to communicate their feelings and discover underlying thoughts which might be difficult to express in words.

For example, when children enter the group home they create a picture of a sea creature that represents themselves. The picture is added to a fishbowl which represents the group home. When children leave the home, their sea creature is placed outside of the bowl in the ocean area. The project becomes a rite of passage during a critical transition period as well as a source of inspiration.

The therapy model positively impacts many children in Twin Oaks residential programs including 10-yearold Cameron. Cameron came from an abusive home and the trauma he endured made him feel worthless. At first, he did not even want to try Art Therapy fearing he’d be bad at it. After the therapist explained that there is no right or wrong way to be an artist, he let his creativity shine through!

Cameron created birdhouses with sticks he gathered in the yard and developed an interest in mosaic art. When he completed his first mosaic painting from small scraps of cardboard, his confidence soared. Painting allowed him to express his negative feelings without making him feel weak. Introducing art into Cameron’s life gave a child who once thought he would never be successful at anything, something to be proud of.

Whether it’s a rainy day to display a sad memory, a heart to show a good day or a dark scribble to express frustration, each child in our group homes can use their imagination to tell their story. As you can see from the drawings surrounding this article, art has become more than just an activity. It is the catalyst for healing and the pathway to a brighter future.

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