LIVINGSTON, NJ — Horizon School students were the guests of honor at the Livingston Area Chamber of Commerce (LACC) networking breakfast on March 10, hosted by Valley National Bank in Livingston. The monthly resource bank coincided with “Art at the Bank,” a gallery of student artwork by Horizon Elementary School students that is displayed at Valley National Bank each year.
Since Cerebral Palsy of North Jersey’s (CPNJ) Horizon School is a private special-needs facility, and therefore doesn’t have the same opportunities as Livingston Public Schools to display student art at the Livingston Mall and other public areas, the Livingston-based Valley National Bank presents CPNJ’s “Art at the Bank” annually at its S. Livingston Ave. location.
According to Carol Ammann, Public Information Officer for CPNJ, having the support of community members like those at Valley National Bank and other familiar faces like CareOne at Livingston Assisted Livingston and LACC Past President Michael McMann, who work frequently with CPNJ, is crucial to the Horizon School’s success.
“We try so hard to give our children everything that they need, but not just the physical therapy, it’s also about their quality of life,” said Ammann. “All of these programs—the dance programs and the arts programs and music and assemblies and all these volunteer activities—it just adds to their whole quality of life because a lot of these kids cannot get out. A lot of what they get is at school, so all of those social things are very important.”
Additional viewings of “Art at the Bank” will be held at Valley National Bank from 4 p.m. until 7 p.m. on Thursday, March 17 and Thursday, March 24.
Ammann said being a part of the Livingston Area Chamber of Commerce networking event on Thursday allowed CPNJ the opportunity to help more people in the community to understand what goes on at Livingston’s Horizon Schools and potentially inspire them to volunteer.
In fact, on March 2, nearly 50 community volunteers participated in Horizon Elementary School’s annual “Read Across America,” where they spent the morning reading to students in honor of Dr. Seuss’ birthday. For many years, the Horizon School has invited the community to participate and often sees corporations throughout Livingston that volunteer annually at the event.
“I think it’s an amazing experience for the children but almost more importantly for the people that come in,” said Ammann. “It’s a wonderful experience to read to children, but to read to special-needs children and see that they are with you that whole time. Even the most complex children can form that bond for that period of time.”
According to Ammann, civility awareness also opens opportunities for older Horizon School students and group homes to do volunteer work in the community. Ammann said the CPNJ young adults often volunteer in the community by doing landscaping for residents, setting tables at CareOne, handing out free samples at the mall, folding clothes at retail stores and more in order to gain work experience.
All photos were provided by Chris Stratton of CPNJ.
LACC President Monte Ehrenkranz took the opportunity to announce the dates for March Member Madness, which will be held on March 23 this year at SWS Architects on Eisenhower Pkwy, and the next LACC Breakfast at Livingston Bagel on April 14.
Ehrenkranz also announced for the first time publicly that Livingston Bagel will be the recipient of this year’s “Business of the Year” Award at the Annual LACC Award Dinner tentatively scheduled for May 11. According to Ehrenkranz, the recipient for Business Person of the Year, a new category this year, is LACC Past President Louis Urban and the Citizen Civic Leader of the Year recipient is Marie Bennett.