Posted on October 20, 2014
Visit our Flickr page to see all the fabulous photos from our tenth annual Moorestown Progressive Dinner!
Thank you to all the hosts, chefs, guests and local businesses that made this event so successful!
Posted on October 8, 2014
October 5th through the 11th is Mental Illness Awareness Week (MIAW). It is an important opportunity to learn the symptoms of major depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and other conditions.
It also is an opportunity for conversations about mental health care, helping to end the silence that often exists.
One in four adults experiences a mental health problem ever year.
One in five children and teens also experience serious emotional disorders.
1/2 of cases of chronic mental illness begin by the age of 14 and 3/4 by age 24.
Unfortunately, there are long delays−sometimes decades−between the time symptoms first appear and when people get help.
Early identification and treatment can make a big difference for successful management of an illness and; recovery. Yet only1/3 of adults and less than 1/2 of children with mental illness receive treatment. One reason is that symptoms may not be immediately recognized. Another is that stigma and silence surrounding mental illness that discourages many people from seeking help. Still another is lack of access to mental health care.
During MIAW, everyone should learn the symptoms of mental illness. Information about specific diagnoses and treatment options is available from the National Alliance on Mental Illness at www.nami.org or from its HelpLine at 1-800-950-6264.
No one should have to confront mental illness alone. Know where to find help in case it is ever needed. MIAW is a time to learn and to help make a difference.
Find help today. Contact Twin Oaks Community Services at 1-800-963-3377.
This blog post was brought to you by our friends at NAMI.
Posted on October 6, 2014
Our Moorestown Progressive Dinner is less than two weeks away! We’re busy working on the exclusive cookbook which shares a recipe from each of the amazing chefs participating. Here’s a sneak peek of a recipe from Chef Todd Fuller of Farm & Fisherman Tavern & Market:
Double-Stuffed Butternut Squash
2 butternut squash (1½ – 2 pounds each)
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
Freshly grated nutmeg
1 pound bacon
2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, divided
1 cup Parmesan cheese, divided
1 cup ricotta cheese
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
2 teaspoons fresh sage
Thinly sliced scallions
Preheat oven to 425°F. Halve each butternut squash lengthwise and remove the seeds. Place cut side up on a foil-lined baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, then season with salt, pepper and freshly grated nutmeg. Roast just until tender, about 35-40 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly.
Decrease oven temperature to 375°F. Cut the bacon into small pieces, and then cook in a skillet until browned. Remove with a slotted spoon to a paper-towel lined plate.
When the squash is cool enough to handle, carefully scoop out the flesh, leaving about 1/4” around the edges to keep the squash intact. Mash the squash flesh with 1½ cups of the cheddar, 1/2 cup of the Parmesan, and all of the ricotta, sage, and thyme. Add in half of the bacon and stir to combine. Stuff the squash shells with the mashed squash.
Top with the remaining cheddar and Parmesan. Bake until heated through and the cheese on top has melted, about 20 minutes. Garnish with the scallions and the remaining bacon.
Posted on September 30, 2014
Posted on September 16, 2014
Registration is now open for our Moorestown Progressive Dinner!
Begin the evening with a cocktails and hors d’oeuvres reception at the beautiful home of Edward and Barbara Omert. From there, move on to share an intimate dinner with friends prepared by a talented area chef in a Moorestown home.
Proceeds benefit the Twin Oaks Food Pantries.
For more information on tickets, sponsorships and more, visit our Moorestown Progressive Dinner page.
Posted on September 4, 2014
In honor of World Suicide Prevention Day, the Twin Oaks R.I.T.E. Center invites you to Hands Across The World: Suicide Anonymous Meeting and Gathering on September 10th from 6:00pm – 9:00pm. The meeting will be held at the R.I.T.E. Center at 693 Main Street, Bldg. C, Lumberton, NJ 08048. We are having a pot luck dinner around 8:00pm.
If you can’t make it to the meeting but would still like to participate, you can call in via Skype or phone. In fact, by giving us your Skype Name, you can participate in this gathering from anywhere in the world. In the Continental U.S., you can give us your phone number and we will call you from our Skype phone (661-748-0241 for those of you with caller I.D.). Please send your information to: email@example.com. Please RSVP as soon as possible for Skype and phone participants.
For more information, please call Janet at 856-266-0709 or Phil at 856-220-0032 or visit www.suicideanonymous.net.
Posted on September 2, 2014
THANK YOU to everyone who supported Twin Oaks Operation Fill-A-Backpack drive! With all of the community support, we handed out over 650 backpacks to children in need. YOU gave a child the chance to start the school year with the tools and confidence needed to succeed!
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: www.gofundme.com/care-package-project
Visit the CarePackage for CareGivers Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/CarePackageforCareGivers
Posted on August 17, 2014
After serving our country, many veterans face difficulties when they return to civilian life. Without structure and support, many of these men and women feel lost and may face hardships such as homelessness, unemployment, hunger, addiction or mental illness.
Since 2008, Twin Oaks Community Services has partnered with the New Jersey Department of Military and Veterans Affairs to provide services for homeless or at risk veterans through the Veterans Haven program. The program provides transitional housing for veterans and emphasizes sobriety, employment and reintegration into the community. The Treatment Team, comprised of Addiction Specialists, Social Workers, RNs and Vocational Counselors, offers group therapy, job readiness, relapse prevention, health and wellness programs, life strategies, anger management, computer training and a Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) group.
In 2013, The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey awarded Twin Oaks a $24,000 grant to expand the Veterans Haven program to include administration of the Beck Depression Inventory for all residents. These funds will allow us to implement more targeted services designed to address clinical depression efforts and ultimately reach our goal of reintegrating retired military personnel into their communities.
During our 5 years with Veterans Haven, the number of residents has increased from 55 to 95. While there is still work to be done, Twin Oaks is dedicated to serving those who served our country by ensuring all veterans in our area have a roof over their heads and receive essential services.
Ben spent 8 years in the United States Air Force honorably serving our country. After returning home, he found work as a car salesman and although he did not find the work fulfilling, it helped make ends meet. It wasn’t long however, before Ben lost his home through divorce proceedings and he soon found himself depressed, homeless, struggling with addiction and out of work.
Ben entered Veterans Haven in May of 2013 determined to build a more stable life. In addition to the staff support provided through his treatment plan, Ben shares, “The staff at Vets Haven truly care about us. They listen to us, give us advice and help us leave as a better person.”
In fact, last year Ben had to have a bi-lateral hip replacement. Ben’s brother suffered many complications after having his own bi-lateral hip replacement, so, understandably, Ben had many fears about his upcoming surgery. He reached out to a Twin Oaks staff member who was able to guide him through the surgery process and ease his anxieties.
While Ben continues to work through his addiction issues, he maximizes his time, diligently working on his certification in A+, Cisco and Juniper network engineering programs. In his own words, Ben explains “My time spent at Vets Haven gave me a great opportunity to restructure my life. I now have the tools to be successful.”
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.”