Giving Back

Press Releases

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.

Sign Up for E-News

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

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News


Dear Susan: Beauty Tips from a Beauty Expert, Spring Edition

SUSAN BARBAGLIA, owner of Skin Deep Salon and Spa in New Providence, offers a wealth of knowledge and expertise as a leader in the beauty industry. With over thirty years experience in skin care, Susan can answer your most challenging beauty questions. Email your ...

Upcoming Events

Sat, March 24, 10:00 AM

Burent Middle School , Union

Union County Wide - March for Our Lives

Government Law & Justice


Sat, March 24, 12:00 PM

Mountainside Rescue Squad, Mountainside

Mountainside Volunteer Rescue Squad Hosts Easter ...

Arts & Entertainment

Sat, March 24, 8:00 PM

Burgdorff Center for the Performing Arts, Maplewood

Strollers Present John Patrick Shanley's "Doubt"

Arts & Entertainment


Sun, March 25, 8:00 AM

Scotch Hills Country Club, Scotch Plains

Fanwood-Scotch Plains Rotary Club Pancake ...

Food & Drink Giving Back

Sun, March 25, 8:00 AM

Trinity Episcopal Church,, Cranford

Palm/Passion Sunday Mass at Trinity Cranford

Religions And Spirituality


Sun, March 25, 11:00 AM

Shackamaxon Country Club, Scotch Plains

Hear Our Voices: MemoryCare Plays

Health & Wellness

Springfield Fire Department Delivers Baby on West I-78

March 22, 2018

SPRINGFIELD, NJ - On March 20, 2018 at 8:14 a.m. the Springfield Fire Department was dispatched to Route 78 Westbound near milepost 50.2 for a report of a woman in labor on the side of the road.  

Captain Mastroeni (Unit 2) & Chief Palumbo (Unit 1) were the first units to arrive on scene, and quickly recognized that the woman would be unable to make it to the hospital in time for ...

Somerset County Freeholders Endorse Armed Security in all Somerset County Schools

March 23, 2018

SOMERVILLE, NJ – Following the Parkland, Fla school shooting last month in which 17 students and staff were killed, Somerset County Freeholder Director Patrick Scaglione and Freeholder Mark Caliguire Thursday announced that the freeholder board will fund a second armed school resource officer at the county Vocational & Technical High School in Bridgewater, and urged every school ...

Theater Project Presents: 'Leap of Faith'

March 24, 2018

The Theater Project will present a staged, script-in-hand reading of “Leap of Faith,” a new play by Stephanie Griffin, on Saturday, April 7, 2018, at 2:00 p.m. in the Cranford Community Center (220 Walnut Ave.) "Leap of Faith" challenges the definition of motherhood as two sisters fight over custody of an eight-year old child. Ms. Griffin, a member of the Theater ...

The Role of Meal Replacements in Weight Loss

March 20, 2018

Obesity is at epidemic proportions in the United States and in other developed and developing countries. The prevalence of obesity is increasing not only in adults, but also in children and adolescents. We all know that obesity is a significant risk factor for various chronic illnesses, most importantly heart disease and diabetes, but also cancer and osteoarthritis, liver and kidney disease, ...

You Want a Check for How Much!

 My first admissions gig was working for a small liberal arts college with a pretty hefty price tag.  Picture me at a college fair: name tag in place, pile of brochures ready to go.  An eager family would walk up and we’d start a conversation.  One of the first questions I’d get from parents was about cost and the moment that $50,000-plus figure left my mouth I ...