Giving Back

Family Intervention Services' Worker Turns 89, Still Going Strong

231edfa71c19037df2b2_3810b3dc23ad62316f04_Terry_Viera.jpg
Birthday girl Terry Viera at the Denville office of Family Intervention Services
231edfa71c19037df2b2_3810b3dc23ad62316f04_Terry_Viera.jpg

DENVILLE, NJ - When Family Intervention Services (FIS) started its Thanksgiving Turkey Drive in Morris County in the early 1990s, the organization struggled to find room to store the 25 turkeys people donated, recalled long-time FIS assistant Terry Viera.

By last year, the number of turkeys distributed by FIS’ Morris County office in Denville reached about 300, and if a family cannot access a turkey, it can receive a gift card instead, Viera said.

Viera last week celebrated her 89th birthday. She also celebrated the fact that she's been helping families for 17 years as an administrative assistant at FIS. She said the organization's growth is directly related to the increase in donor outreach she's seen take place over the yeaers.

Sign Up for E-News

“Our communities have changed and people are in greater need than ever,” said Viera. “Making sure we keep our finger on the pulse of the community is critical in addressing the needs of the families we serve,” she said.

Viera, a 50-year resident of Parsippany-Troy Hills, is part of the FIS team responsible for donor engagement and retention. She also connects FIS with local schools and libraries as a means of community outreach.

“The bottom line is that we’re only as good as our relationship with our communities and the families we serve,” said Jeanne Warnock, FIS President and CEO. “Having people like Terry not only on staff but serving as an advocate in our communities is essential to us fulfilling our mission,” she said.

Warnock credited Viera’s long-term standing in her community and with the FIS donor family as an “invaluable asset.

“Organizations like our cannot simply be dropped into a community with a well-meaning mission. We have to be part of the community. Terry exemplifies that ethos,” Warnock said.

For Viera, helping the growing needs of children in Morris County is front and center.

She pointed to FIS’ ‘Take a Book and Read’ program, a year-round program that solicits donations from local libraries—often brand new books—and redistributes them to families.

“This is near and dear to me because a lot of our families have children who are told to bring in their favorite book to school and read it with the class, but many of our families can’t afford $10 or $15 books to have at home, so this not only promotes literacy but also classroom engagement,” Viera said.

The springtime “Healthy Teeth Week” is another highlight. Through donations FIS is able to provide a “tooth kit” that has tooth space, tooth brush, dental floss, and a coloring book. “We distribute these in the schools, but we also leave them in our reception area as dental health and access to dental health care has become an increasing challenge for many families.”

When it comes to soliciting donations, Viera simply credits hard work and her deep roots throughout Morris County.

“I know a lot of people,” she quipped, but added that while an expansive network is an asset to donor engagement, the relationships she has built and maintained are essential to retention.

“I’ve only lost one donor in all my years here, and that’s because they weren’t from Morris County and had to redirect their philanthropy to their own community,” she said. “Who can complain about that?”

Both Viera and Warnock agreed that as family needs grow more and more urgent, so does the urgency of the FIS mission.

“We have kids going to school with flip-flops in December, so we have to act quickly and aggressively to address their needs,” Viera said. “Family needs have changed, but one thing remains constant, and that’s our love for the people we serve and our unwavering commitment to our community. It’s that simple,” she said.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Denville

Talking Baseball in Februrary; Roxbury Teen Keeps Swinging for Cancer Patients

February 23, 2018

ROXBURY, NJ - Major League pitchers and catchers reported for their first workouts last week, one sign that baseball season is on its way. Another: The beginning of Roxbury High School student Landon Monro's annual effort to register players and sponsors for his anti-cancer baseball tournament.

The 5th Annual Landon Monro Stand Up to Cancer tournament ...

Annual Health Fitness and Fun Fest March 24 To Include Collection For Randolph Animal Shelter

February 24, 2018

Randolph, NJ — Randolph Pain Relief and Wellness Center (PRWC) is hosting the fourth annual Health, Fitness and Fun Fest (previously Community Wellness Fest) on Saturday, March 24 from 12 pm - 3 pm at Randolph Middle School.

This year, Randolph PRWC will partner with the P.A.W.S. Club at RMS, advised by guidance counselor LuAnn Mizzoni, to hold a collection drive to ...

Upcoming Events

Carousel_image_96a04fccc3c32f4540b7_charlie-zahm-and-tad-marks_sm

Sat, March 10, 7:30 PM

Investors Bank Theater, Succasunna

Charlie Zahm

Arts & Entertainment

Sat, March 10, 7:30 PM

Chatham United Methodist Church, Chatham

Masterwork Chorus to Perform All-Bernstein Concert

Arts & Entertainment

Sun, March 11, 1:30 PM

Rockaway Lanes, Rockaway

Kiwanis Pins for Pets to benefit Randolph ...

Arts & Entertainment Home & Garden

'What Stays' exposes family secrets and lies

‘What Stays’ exposes family secrets, resentment and lies

By Liz Keill

SUMMIT, NJ – In an original play by Laura Ekstrand and Jason Szamreta, the Dreamcatcher Repertory Theatre has provided an enlightening, funny and heart-felt view of family foibles.

Ekstrand has said that the germ of the play came from conversations with the ensemble members of the troupe, based on ...

AtlantiCast

AtlantiCast: Episode 12

On this week’s episode of AtlantiCast, decade of excellence makes headlines, as Atlantic Health’s place on Fortune Magazine’s 100 Best Companies to Work For List leads off the newest episode of AtlantiCast. Also on this week’s show, check out the newest “hybrid” operating room at Morristown Medical Center and find out how Atlantic Health is helping local ...

Prayers the Devil Answers by Sharyn McCrumb

Prayers the Devil Answers by Sharyn McCrumb (Altria, 2015)

 

Years later, after the tragedy, someone remembered the Dumb Supper and what had happened there. That was the cause of it, they said, because the ritual wasn't a game after all. It really was magic, but magic has rules, and she broke them. Even when they call it a 'senseless tragedy,' people always try to find a ...

Super Carb Diet by Bob Harper

Super Carb Diet by Bob Harper with Danny Pellegrino (St. Martin's Press, 2017)

It's hard to go on a serious diet, one on which you expect to be successful and maintain a loss. Fortunately, in his new book Super Carb Diet, Bob Harper has given the weight watching world a sensible new diet plan to help achieve a healthy weight.

Harper, host of NBC's popular show The Biggest Loser, ...