Giving Back

Jazz House Kids and Community Volunteers Take Time Out to Pamper Exceptional Children from Newark


MONTCLAIR, NJ - On Monday, Jazz House Kids, the Bravitas/Silver Family Foundation and a group of community partners, pampered 50 Students, parents and caregivers from the John F. Kennedy School, an ungraded special education district-wide program, in Newark. 

Located at the Vault, at 491 Bloomfield Ave., community volunteer partners came together to pamper students and their families with haircuts, manicures, music and food.

Nancy Klein, Communication Specialist for Jazz House Kids, said, "This day, now in its fourth year, came about through the partnership of Jazz House Kids and the John F. Kennedy school's longstanding relationship in providing music education in instrumental and vocal/choir programing and jazz techniques.

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Phil Bingham, a teacher at Jazz House Kids and also the Director of the JFK district-wide choir, had planted the seed for this to begin. He noticed that on some occasions that the children he taught and worked with needed attention to their dress and grooming not only during concerts but as standard practice. He addressed this concern with Director of Jazz House Kids, Melissa Walker.

It was after a concert at NJPAC, that makeup maven and Montclair resident, Bobbi Brown signed on to make the annual 'Something Wonderful' event, into a wonderful cause for these students and families.

"These children in particular, need a day like this. You've got to understand that many of these children would never get to experience a day like this because of where they live. These children have the same desires and aspirations to achieve and be accepted and loved like all children all over the world. This is so important," said Bingham.

Now in its fourth year, Walker, founder of Jazz House Kids, Bob Silver of the Bravitas/Silver Family Foundation, and community sponsors, continue each year to make this event a fun filled interactive memorable day for the children their families and caretakers.

The day began with a welcoming address from the teaching staff of Jazz House Kids and sponsors followed by hands-on activities that included making maracas with Lori Wood-Montague and Jazz House Kids staff; creating their own bath salts with Dawn Fitch of Pooka and lunch catered by events by Joni that included a southern spread of lemonade, tossed green salad, baked macaroni and cheese, chicken and assorted deserts.

Lunch was followed by pampering from the staff of Hair 491 and haircuts by Mahir's Unisex barbershop. Musicians serenaded the group throughout the visit: Ian Kenselaar (bass) and Ed Palermo (saxophone) as guests moved between Crazy Mocha and adjoining Hair 491.

Walker stated,  "This is a group of children that are often not seen but TODAY we want to make sure not only are they seen, but they are seen for the beauty that they have."

Silver added, "Its done out of love and its so important to get involved and to volunteer."

According to the smiles on the faces of the participants, the day was a success and most assuredly a memorable one that will last a lifetime and make an impact on the lives of the children, families and caretakers that participated.

Community partners volunteering their time and talents to create a very special day of feel good services: were:

Hair, Nails + Make-up by Hair 491

Haircuts by Mahir's Unisex Barber

Bath Salt Workshop by Pooka, Inc.

Food provided by the Silver Family Foundation; catered by Events by Joni

Crazy Mocha

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