NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ – Executive Director Patricia Jacobs for “Our Community For All” attended the Monday, Sep. 21 Borough Council Zoom meeting to give an update on the ongoing projects.

“Our Community For All” is a newly formed non-profit organization which helps New Providence to become a lifelong community for residents. The organization received a Grotta grant to administer a fact-finding survey on older residents in town. However, the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown restrictions halted those efforts last spring. The organization was able to use some of the funds for virus mitigation efforts, Jacobs explained. During the pandemic the organization helped senior citizens with grocery shopping and dealing with isolation.

The organization initiated a community wide flag art project in the spring. The oral history project collected stories from senior citizens regarding their experiences in town as part of the town’s tricentennial celebration. The organization is currently working on a volunteer connection event enabling residents to join various organizations and committees as volunteers. The organization is also in the process of creating an outdoor space at Barabash Manor across the street from the borough hall. Jacobs noted that the building has beautiful gardens and grass, but not leveled space for residents to sit and socialize. The organization will be working with a high school senior completing his eagle scout project on this plan over the next six months.

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The organization is looking to launch its “big” project which entails a town-wide survey of New Providence adults and on their perceptions of living in town. The organization is gathering ideas of how to make New Providence a community where residents wish to stay after their children graduate from the school system and one in which they can be active, involved and able to contribute to the community.

The survey will be launched on Oct. 1 and it will be available both in paper form and online. The paper copy will be mailed to all registered voters over 70.  

Jacobs explained that the organization is working within its budget and it meets regularly with representatives of other nine North Jersey age-friendly towns.

Councilman Peter DeSarno, a member of “Our Community for All”, recognized Jacobs’ contribution to the organization. He also thanked board members Bill Hofling, Tom Matrone, and Councilwoman Michele Matsikoudis for their dedication as well as the many volunteers who have helped out.

With regard to other community event news, the council approved the request of the New Providence Diversity Committee to hold a virtual hour panel discussion themed “Hispanics: Be Proud of your Past and Embrace the Future” on Oct. 3, 2020 from 2:00 pm to 3:00 pm. The discussion will feature the following presenters: Zuleika Soler-Aragon, Miss Universe El Salvador 2019; Dr. Ivonne Diaz-Claisse, HISPA CEO/President (Hispanics Inspiring Students’ Performance and Achievement); Kerlyn Espinal, New Jersey Department of Education Deputy Assistant Commissioner of Cultural and Historic Commissions; Representative of Mexican Consulate; as well as Councilman Rob Munoz.