Community Announcements

Warren Librarian Catherine DeBerry Recognized for Special Needs Programming

6942a2e46d83d3e1a60b_0AFCF601-94D5-4CF6-B85C-95149D0A23D8.jpeg
Warren Librarian Catherine DeBerry Recognized for Special Needs Programming
6942a2e46d83d3e1a60b_0AFCF601-94D5-4CF6-B85C-95149D0A23D8.jpeg

WARREN, NJ - Catherine DeBerry was given a Proclamation by Mayor Carolann Garafola at last night's Warren Township Library Advisory Board meeting in recognition of the programs she has organized for people with special needs in our community.  

SCLSNJ’s Warren Township Library branch began offering programs for adults with developmental disabilities in September 2016. The Library has offered over half a dozen programs thus far, and plans to expand the initiative in the future. The participants have enjoyed bingo, yoga, jewelry making, music, dancing, gardening, and more. 

“I am delighted that SCLSNJ offers various recreational and developmental programs for adults in our community with developmental disabilities. These programs offer a chance for adults with developmental disabilities to socialize and to learn the necessary skills that will help them lead full, fulfilling lives. Too often in our communities, these adults lose our support as they age out of our schools and the essential programs that are offered to them while in school. It is imperative that we continue to support these populations and I thank the Warren Township Library branch for taking the initiative and making a direct, positive impact in their immediate community,” said U.S. Congressman Leonard Lance (NJ-07).

Sign Up for E-News

Planned and executed by Adult Services Librarian Catherine DeBerry to encourage socialization, these programs provide the opportunity to meet new people, discover the library, get to know their local library staff, experience new activities, and, most importantly, have fun. 

Acting as an ad hoc center for individuals with special needs, Warren Township of New Jersey, is an inclusive community with a number of organizations and institutions that support children and adults with developmental disabilities, including: a private residential facility, a day program, several group homes, ​a regional collaborative public school district that offers services to children with autism, and an autism medical assessment and treatment center. ​

During initial research, DeBerry learned that as students with disabilities age out of school systems in New Jersey, they and their families often find themselves without recreational activities or other types of programming, and what is available to them is rarely free. 

These adults face numerous challenges as they transition out of school, and as a result, struggle with confidence, motivation, and, at times, depression. Because adults with disabilities are living longer than ever before, there are additional needs for planning and providing for their futures. Recognizing a need, DeBerry realized that the Warren Township branch was perfectly poised to introduce a new service to Somerset County’s adult population with developmental disabilities.   

One of the most successful programs to date – with its largest attendance and most challenging activity – was presented by ​Registered Horticultural Therapist Laura DePrado, president of Final Touch Plantscaping, LLC.​ Each participant learned how to pot and care for two springtime flowers. 

The activity was challenging, as it involved complex tasks such as following directions and increased socialization and sensory stimulation. However, what was most interesting, as well as inspiring, was how the participants helped each other. They have become friends, in part because of these library programs. They have begun to develop their own social circle – a circle where they can support and care for each other.  

DeBerry decided to host a horticulture program with DePrado because research-based evidence supported the physical, psychological, social, and cognitive benefits of horticultural therapy under the direction of a horticultural therapist, who is trained and skilled at creating customized activities and/or garden spaces that accommodate people with a wide range of abilities. 

Horticultural therapists are trained to use plants and the cycles of nature to teach life skills and explain and implement social and psychological concepts like nurturing, responsibility, the importance of strong “roots,” as well as the value of rejuvenation.​ 

According to DePrado, “Horticultural therapy brings dignity and enhanced skills through vocational, social, and therapeutic programs, and successfully enables and empowers individuals to achieve their maximum independence. Horticulture programs focus on plants and growing success, on people using seasonally-related plant material to connect and engage in the process of purposeful and meaningful activities that bring benefits to the participants. The plant and the material is secondary.” 

New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Douglas H. Fisher said, “Growing a garden and working with plants has been shown to produce many benefits to people, such as physical activity, focusing on a task and a sense of accomplishment. The Department fully recognizes and supports this practice.”  

“Horticultural Therapy is a great program that enables all individuals to take part and experience the wonderful aspects of working with plants and leaving with a sense of fulfillment. It allows all of us to release the day to day tension that engulfs us and to take the time to enjoy life,” said Senator Christopher “Kip” Bateman. 

The American Horticultural Therapy Association (AHTA) is the only U.S. organization committed to promoting and developing the practice of horticultural therapy as a unique and dynamic human service modality. A 501(c)(3) nonprofit, AHTA was formed in 1973 to promote and develop the horticultural therapy profession. 

New Jersey is the first state in the nation to designate the third week of March “Horticultural Therapy Week,” to raise awareness about the viability and value. The law was sponsored by Senator Christopher “Kip” Bateman and co-sponsored by Senator Joseph Vitale and championed by DePrado. 

DeBerry believes providing specialized program for adults with special needs is the most meaningful and important work she has completed at the library in her nine years of employment. Patrons are excited to visit each month; their enthusiasm is palpable when they walk in the door. Caregivers, parents, and guardians are encouraged to stay and often do–having formed their own informal support group. 

Future programs are already planned at SCLSNJ for April, May, and June 2018. The planned program series, focusing on nature – exploring butterfly plants through demonstration and a craft, exploring honeybees and other pollinators, and a nature scavenger hunt – will allow participants to experience the rewards of nature while also learning about the responsibility they have as stewards of nature as they continue to discover the natural world around them.

It is DeBerry’s hope that programming of this kind will be integrated into libraries more widely. With little investment of time, money, or other resources, DeBerry, in partnership with the Library System, knows she is making a difference in her patron’s lives – but more importantly these wonderful individuals are making a lasting impact on hers.  

About Catherine DeBerry
As a librarian for 15 years, Somerset County Library System of New Jersey’s Catherine DeBerry has stepped into the role of being one of the “go to” business authorities in the library system. DeBerry is now branching out and fostering programming for another important community group – Somerset County adults with special needs. For more information, visit SCLSNJ.org.

About Laura DePrado
Laura DePrado holds a Bachelor of Science from the University of Northern Texas, Horticultural Therapy Certificate from Rutgers University, is a Registered Horticultural Therapist American Horticultural Therapy Association and President, Final Touch Plantscaping, LLC., specializing in connecting people and plants through customized activities and programs for children, young adults through seniors using plants year round in Adult Day, sub acute, long term, rehabilitative and in-home care for groups and individuals to impact social, physical, and psychological well-being. She is a columnist/freelance writer for Gannett media outlets. Laura penned legislation designating the third week of March as “Horticultural Therapy Week,” The first in the nation.  Laura was just named by Leading Women Entrepreneurs in Business & Enterprise as Leading Woman Entrepreneur to be featured in NJ Monthly Magazine October 2017. She is the recipient of The Chairman’s Award 2017 from NJ Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee, the American Horticultural Therapy Association  Alice Burlingame Humanitarian Award, the New Jersey Nursery and Landscape Association 2015 Distinguished Service Award, and nominated NJ Hero by Mary Pat Christie. Explore the practical side of horticultural therapy.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

Sign Up for E-News

North Plainfield/Green Brook/Watchung

Holy Savior Academy Cheer Competition

February 14, 2018

SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ - Holy Savior Academy’s cheerleading squad is on winning streak.  Competing at the Biddy Level in the CCCANJ League, the girls took 1st place in the first two competitions of this cheer season. The 12 girl squad competed in the Immaculate Conception and the St. Mary’s competitions and came out on top beating fellow Catholic Schools, Immaculate ...

EarthCam Shares Live Webcam Views of Seaside Heights Polar Bear Plunge

February 23, 2018

If you saw our article, you know about the Polar Bear Plunge this Saturday to support the Special Olympics.  If you cannot be there, but want to see the festivities, this press release tells you how you can.

WHAT: February 24 from 9am-1pm ET, thousands of people will make a mad dash into the cold waters of the Atlantic Ocean just off the coast of Seaside Heights, NJ…and ...

Travels Idea - You Feel Like Freezing Your Beachballs Off this Saturday? - It’s a Polar Bear Plunge Benefiting the Special Olympics New Jersey

SEASIDE HEIGHTS, NJ - On Saturday, Feb 24, an anticipated 7,000 people will brave the chilly waters of the Atlantic Ocean, participating in the annual Polar Bear Plunge in Seaside Heights, all to raise funds and awareness for Special Olympics New Jersey. This Plunge is especially noteworthy because it is the 25th anniversary.

Two ...

From the New York Toy Fair - Travels Reveals the Toys That Will Make You the Star of Your Child’s Life - the Oscars of the Toy World - the TOTY Awards

 As you know, we are here to encourage you to travel.  Unfortunately, the New York Toy Fair is one place virtually none of you can go.  So, unless you have been tirelessly been searching the internet, you are not up to date on what toys your children will be wanting soon.

Fortunately, with Press Correspondent credentials, we were able to go in your place.

Our ...

Coast Guard Ends Search for Fishermen Lost at Sea, Fund Established to Help Family

The U.S. Coast Guard has officially ended its search for the two crew members of the fishing boat that went missing off the coast of Barnegat Light during the early morning hours of February 8.  

“We would like to extend our condolences to the families and the fishing community affected by this tragic incident,” said Capt. Scott Anderson, commander of the Coast Guard's ...

Looking for Something to Do? Weekend Events in Somerset County

Things to do in Somerset County

A weekend celebrating Warmer Days!

1. Winter Market, Duke Farms

2. The Mountaintop, Theatre at RVCC - Friday featuring the Peking Acrobats.

3. State Theatre New Jersey - nothing scheduled this weekend - next show Feb 22 

4. Heritage Trail Association - Five Generals House Bus Tour - ...

Travels’ Pick 2 For 1 Valentine’s Day Special on Comedy and Music Tickets at the Wellmont

TAPintoTravels - We seldom post these deals last minute, but it seems to good to miss.  It’s even better that a number of great events are at the Wellmont in Montclair.

Here are our picks to take your significant other out for a night on the town:

The Muscial Box - a Genesis tribute band is performing decades worth of the band’s vast repertoire.  They ...

Guest Column: The Great "Wait" of the College Process

February 14, 2018

"The Great Wait" of the College Application Process

For all the high school seniors and their parents, we are in the stressful "waiting period".  We've just finished or are finishing applications to all the schools we might possibly want to attend next year and now sit and wait our fate after the $60-$80 non-refundable application fees to at least 8-13 schools and ...

Travels Idea - You Feel Like Freezing Your Beachballs Off this Saturday? - It’s a Polar Bear Plunge Benefiting the Special Olympics New Jersey

February 22, 2018

SEASIDE HEIGHTS, NJ - On Saturday, Feb 24, an anticipated 7,000 people will brave the chilly waters of the Atlantic Ocean, participating in the annual Polar Bear Plunge in Seaside Heights, all to raise funds and awareness for Special Olympics New Jersey. This Plunge is especially noteworthy because it is the 25th anniversary.

Two ...

Coast Guard Ends Search for Fishermen Lost at Sea, Fund Established to Help Family

The U.S. Coast Guard has officially ended its search for the two crew members of the fishing boat that went missing off the coast of Barnegat Light during the early morning hours of February 8.  

“We would like to extend our condolences to the families and the fishing community affected by this tragic incident,” said Capt. Scott Anderson, commander of the Coast Guard's ...

Third Annual Long Beach Island Job Fair Set for Saturday, March 31

SURF CITY, NJ - Need a job this summer? Look no further. Shore Fire Grille again has teamed up with local businesses in the area for a special summer 2018 Job Fair event. 

The Third Annual LBI Job Fair will take place Saturday, March 31.  Employers will be looking to hire help for the summer season on busy Long Beach Island.  The event will be held at the Surf City Yacht ...

Parkland Strong and Proud

February 22, 2018

I want to share some thoughts with you.

I have not been posting on social media, although I have been constantly reading your posts so that I can represent you through this sad time. What our community has been saying is inspirational and has helped me cope through these “more than” trying times.

Special thanks to my fellow Parkland, Coral Springs, Broward Commissioners and ...

Obituaries

North Plainfield – Gail A. Kaufman – Cain, 62, passed away peacefully on Saturday ...
Read more

Upcoming Events

Carousel_image_2ff71a88602c34c5bdd9_157bf5c4-d2e4-4c85-9231-84be219a13ed

Sun, February 25, 4:00 PM

North Plainfield

A Celebration of Black History- Honoring the ...

Government

Carousel_image_3d7e35618f05795eb00f_omstbydesignnew_jpeg

Tue, February 27, 7:00 PM

Cranford Community Center, Cranford

“Olmsted By Design!” Free First-Person, Dramatic ...

Arts & Entertainment Green Home & Garden

Carousel_image_248cea245b872fb9c722_resolve_house

Fri, March 2, 12:00 PM

Resolve, Scotch Plains

Free Teen Anxiety Group (Ages 14-17) at Resolve

Mon, March 5, 7:00 PM

BRHS Auditorium, Bridgewater

Dangers of Fentanyl

Education Health & Wellness

Mon, March 5, 7:00 PM

BRHS Auditorium, Bridgewater

Dangers of Fentanyl

Education Health & Wellness

Carousel_image_248cea245b872fb9c722_resolve_house

Fri, March 9, 12:00 PM

Resolve, Scotch Plains

Free Teen Anxiety Group (Ages 14-17) at Resolve

Tue, March 13, 9:30 AM

Congregation Beth Israel , Scotch Plains

Crisis listening line volunteer listening and ...

Education Giving Back Health & Wellness

Carousel_image_248cea245b872fb9c722_resolve_house

Fri, March 16, 12:00 PM

Resolve, Scotch Plains

Free Teen Anxiety Group (Ages 14-17) at Resolve

Carousel_image_ad6c3c447b5accf3e1a1_3ef0aae34bda175becfa_ptp_save_the_date_-_p1

Fri, March 16, 7:00 PM

The Grove, Cedar Grove

Susan G. Komen North Jersey

Giving Back Other

Carousel_image_248cea245b872fb9c722_resolve_house

Fri, March 23, 12:00 PM

Resolve, Scotch Plains

Free Teen Anxiety Group (Ages 14-17) at Resolve

Watchung Hills and North Plainfield Wrestlers Advance to NJSIAA Region 4 Semis Saturday

February 24, 2018

UNION, NJ - Seven Watchung Hills grapplers qualified to wrestle in the quarter-finals of the NJSIAA Region 4 Tournament on Friday night, and six will move on to the semi-finals Saturday morning at 9 a.m. Blake Bahna, Danny Miller, Nick Ciraulo, Jacob Stasil, Rob Saum, Vince Mattaliano, and Justin Hayward all wrestled Friday night and all but Bahna move ...

Wrestling: 11 Warriors and Three Canucks Advance to Regions, Watchung Hills Wins NJSIAA District 16

MILLBURN, NJ - The Watchung Hills Regional High School wrestling team won its first District title on Saturday and 11 Warriors placed in the top three of their weight classes to advance to regions. North Plainfield came in ninth in District 14 and three wrestlers advance to regions.

”Congratulations to Coach Smith, his staff, and all of our Warrior wrestlers on winning their first ...

Green Brook, North Plainfield and Watchung Students Compete in County Spelling Bee

SOMERVILLE, NJ - Students from more than 30 schools in Somerset County, including Green Brook, North Plainfield and Watchung, will compete in the 3rd annual Spelling Bee Spectacular sponsored by the Somerset County Library System of New Jersey.

Participation is limited to those students up to the eighth grade.

The contest, which is a preliminary to the 2018 Scripps National Spelling ...

Wellness at WHRHS: On Stress, Wellness and Integrity at Watchung Hills

WARREN, NJ - A letter was sent to all parents of Watchung Hills Regional High School students (WHRHS) on Jan.19 addressing the school’s efforts to promote student wellness and reduce student stress. The letter also encouraged parents to review the academic integrity guidelines and have conversations with their children about health, wellness, and ethical ...

WHRHS Girls Basketball: Watchung Hills Tops East Orange, 44-40

EAST ORANGE, NJ - Julia Cunningham recorded a double-double for Watchung Hills with 21 points, 16 rebounds, two assists, two steals and one block to lead the Watchung Hills girls basketball team over East Orange on Monday, 44-40. 

Jayden Baltuch finished with seven points, four assists and one rebound. 

Watchung Hills is now 19-1 on the season and next plays at Newark ...

Workshop Examines Sexual Harassment in the Workplace

February 22, 2018

BEDMINSTER, NJ – The Somerset County Business Partnership and The Center for Contemporary Art will host a “Business Builders Breakfast” and workshop focused on sexual harassment in the workplace on Tuesday, Feb. 27 beginning at 8 a.m. at The Center for Contemporary Art, 2020 Burnt Mills Road.

The 90-minute event, “Sexual Harassment & Rules of the Modern ...

Watchung Appoints New Council Member

WATCHUNG, NJ - The Watchung Borough Town Council appointed Maria Alberto to fill the unexpired portion of Debra Joren’s term at the last meeting. The term expires at the end of 2018.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T2ReYfGuwPE

Joren retired earlier this year and due to the Public Employees' Retirement System (PERS) was required to resign from any public office within six ...