Woodland Park's Stigma Free Task Force Plans First Event


WOODLAND PARK, NJ -  Join the Stigma Free Task Force in its "Coming Out Party/Fundraiser" on Friday, June 16 from 6 to 9 p.m. There will be a free concert in the park at Dowling Gardens featuring The Bucket List. The Passaic Valley High School Choir will also perform.

There be food trucks - including Cone-Appetit, Sip n’ Swirl Ice Cream and Grizzly Bob’s Vintage Hot Dog Cart -  and vendors for your dining and shopping enjoyment. Make it a no cook Friday! Come have some fun, bring the family and find out all about what "Stigma Free" is all about. There will be a bounce house for the kids and arts and crafts will also be available from Arts and Creations Pottery Studio.

Founded last fall, The Woodland Park Task Force for Mental Health Awareness is comprised of various residents, health care providers, educators, business owners, elected officials, clergy, law enforcement, fire and first aid volunteers, library staff, and others working together to bring awareness to the conditions of mental health. The group aims to also provide education, information and assistance to those who suffer with mental illness.

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Last year following a number of suicides in the borough, Mayor Keith Kazmark reached out to Linda Hoffman, director of the Alfred Baumann Public Library, to discuss how to get information out to residents in order to raise awareness about mental illness. The task force formed following her research and connection with the Mental Health Association of Passaic County.

Leading the task force are local residents Tracy Amato and Jacyn Luker. Amato is an emergency room nurse trained in crisis intervention, and both are involved with the Board of Health.

"The task force exists to promote community awareness surrounding mental health and seeks to offer education and information, assistance and support to those who are living with or suffering from mental illness," Amato said about the group at a council meeting last fall.

Rain date for the event is TBD.

For more information about the group, visit https://www.facebook.com/wpstigmafree/.

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