NEWTON, NJ - Last Friday, eighty students from Blair Academy joined professionals from the community for a Day of Service at Project Self-Sufficiency’s Newton campus, the second year in a row that the private school has teamed up with adult volunteers to plant and cultivate community gardens at the non-profit organization.

The students assisted community members with planting vegetables, assembled and stained picnic tables, potted flowers, spread mulch on the daycare center’s playgrounds, and worked on other maintenance projects. 

By the end of the day, 30 raised beds graced the four community gardens, and over 200 pots of tomato plants and flowers were distributed around the campus.  The gardens will provide fresh vegetables to the agency’s low-income clientele well into the autumn.

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The Day of Service initiative was spearheaded by Blair Academy’s Head of School Christopher Fortunato, who noted, “This year, Blair’s Day of Service will give our students, teachers and staff the opportunity to learn about and actively participate in the important work of 19 non-profit agencies in our region, including Project Self Sufficiency.  Blair has a longstanding commitment to serving others, and we are very glad to lend a hand for a day and assist our neighbors through a wide variety of projects.  In addition, we hope this hands-on, person-to-person experience of helping others will raise our students’ awareness of the needs that exist in our community and in the world, and inspire them to continue to serve, knowing that their actions make a difference."

“We are humbled by the efforts of the student volunteers from Blair Academy and our friends in the community who have come together today to help to address Project Self-Sufficiency’s needs in a meaningful, long-lasting way,” remarked Deborah Berry-Toon, Executive Director of Project Self-Sufficiency.   “They have provided support to local families and demonstrated the true meaning of community service.”


Project Self-Sufficiency is a private non-profit community-based organization dedicated to improving the lives of low-income families residing in northwestern New Jersey.  The agency’s mission is to provide a broad spectrum of holistic, respectful, and comprehensive services enabling low-income single parents, teen parents, two-parent families, and displaced homemakers to improve their lives and the lives of their children through the achievement of personal and economic self-sufficiency and family stability.  Since 1986 Project Self-Sufficiency has served more than 20,000 families, including over 30,000 children.  Project Self-Sufficiency is located at 127 Mill Street in Newton.  To volunteer, or to find out more about the programs and services offered by Project Self-Sufficiency, call 973-940-3500 or visit