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Alternatives Inc. to Celebrate Volunteers at “Havana Nights” Dignity Gala

Janssen Pharmaceutical Credits: Alternatives, Inc.
Morgan Stanley employees Credits: Alternatives, Inc.
Ivette Michel Credits: Alternatives, Inc.
Paul Lavenhar and the GoodWorks Band Credits: Alternatives, Inc.

RARITAN, NJ – Alternatives, Inc., a Raritan-based services provider for people and families with special needs in New Jersey, will celebrate volunteerism at its annual gala event themed “Havana Nights” March 24 at the Imperia, in Somerset.

The agency will honor distinguished volunteers Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Morgan Stanley, PL Communications and Raritan, Inc.

Alternatives reports more volunteers in recent years, despite a downward trend in volunteerism across the country. According to the most recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, volunteerism peaked at 28.8 percent of the population in 2005 and declined to 24.9 percent in 2015.

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The state of New Jersey ranks 46th in volunteerism, with only 21.8 percent of residents volunteering.   

“Alternatives relies heavily on volunteers to help us support our client’s needs.  This will be especially important once many services are not billable under the new fee-based funding system for Medicaid services,” said Nancy Good, president of Alternatives, Inc. “Volunteers often suggest projects that incorporate their talents and bring benefits to our clients that we would never have anticipated.”

Volunteer Honorees

Volunteer projects for Alternatives vary from gardening and painting to less common services like marketing and promotion. This year’s honorees include: 

  • Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc. – a steady corporate volunteer and agency donor for many years. Completed projects include painting, deck repairs, and planting at Alternatives’ Somerset County properties.
  • Morgan Stanley – Trustee Mohan Tummalapalli brought Alternatives to their attention in 2015. Since then they have completed seven volunteer projects to improve Alternatives homes. The largest project involved reclaiming a very large garden. One volunteer, a master gardener, plans to introduce Alternatives to the Franklin Gardening Club to teach clients how to grow their own food.
  • PL Communications – CEO Paul Lavenhar has provided pro-bono graphic design and marketing services, and performances by his rock band GoodWorks at fundraising events. In 2017, he wrote the original song “One Community” for the agency, performed by GoodWorks and sung by the Alternatives Client Chorus, Uncommon Notes. He produced a video featuring the song, the band and chorus to promote the agency.
  • Raritan, Inc. – Ivette Michel, of Raritan, Inc.  joined the Alternatives Board of Trustees in 2017. Since then she has involved their employees in several projects, including landscaping a new group home in Franklin, N.J., and a hats and gloves collection to create a “warming tree” for the Franklin House program during the holidays. One staff member involved in those projects plans to teach couponing and computer skills to Alternatives clients and staff.

The Alternatives “Havana Nights” Dignity Gala is from 6:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. at the Imperia, 1714 Easton Avenue in Somerset. The event will begin with a 90-minute cocktail reception followed by dinner with an open bar, live band, silent auction and cash raffle.

Tickets for the cash raffle will be sold before and during the event.

Attire for the evening is black tie optional.

Event tickets start at $200, with sponsorship opportunities from $500 to $7,500, and can be purchased online at For additional information, please contact Anita Feiner at 908-685-1444 ext. 226. 

Since 1998, Alternatives, Inc. has provided comprehensive services to individuals and families with special needs to enable them to reach their highest level of independence and integration into the community. Alternatives has a person-centered philosophy that is dedicated to providing each person served with the support they need to assist them in achieving their goals. Alternatives is committed to being the social service agency of choice in providing residential and support services to people in the Greater Central New Jersey community. For more information visit

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