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Free Back-to-School Fair at Project Self-Sufficiency

Christine Parauda, Michelle St. Andre and Kate Munning of Local Share at a recent Project Self-Sufficiency Back-to-School Fair.

Parents and children are invited to Project Self-Sufficiency’s 14th annual Back-to-School Fair on Thursday, August 17th, from 4:00 – 7:00 p.m.  The event is designed to prepare the entire family for a successful academic year.  Workshops will give parents tips about communication, dealing with anger, nutrition and healthy relationships.  Meanwhile, children can get free haircuts, play games and receive back packs brimming with free school supplies.  Representatives from local social service organizations will be on hand to discuss topics ranging from healthcare to household safety to literacy.  Agency staff members and volunteers will distribute free school supplies, play games, organize crafts, and provide refreshments.  Attendees will be also be eligible to receive a $250 Shop Rite gift card.  The event will be co-sponsored by Connect for Community, a program designed to bring together volunteers from all ages and backgrounds to provide food and toiletries to food pantries, soup kitchens and social service agencies.  Participating families must register by Wednesday, August 16th, in order to gain admittance.  Project Self-Sufficiency is located at 127 Mill Street in Newton.


“Project Self-Sufficiency is proud to offer the Back-to-School Fair to our participants again this year,” commented Deborah Berry-Toon, Executive Director at Project Self-Sufficiency.  “The helpful information and services available to families at this event prepare both children and their parents for a successful school year.  We are grateful to all of the social service agencies, businesses and volunteers who have taken the time to lend a helping hand to local families in need.”


The Back to School Fair will feature informative, break-out sessions for parents.  Project Sussex Kids Program Coordinator Haley McCracken will discuss the broad range of personality types exhibited by children and offer tips on maximizing communication for optimal behavior.  Licensed clinical social worker Kris Imbrie will introduce the Anger Kit, a tool designed to help parents deal with temper tantrums and angry outbursts by children of all ages.  Registered dietician Natalie Barbaro, Shop Rite, will educate parents about easy, nutritional food options for kid-friendly meals and snacks.  DASI staff members will also be on hand to address the formation of healthy relationships.

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Participating social service organizations, health care agencies and emergency responders will include the American Red Cross; Care Plus NJ; Caring Partners, CMO; Comfort Partners; DASI; DAWN Center for Independent Living; New Jersey Department of Child Protection & Permanency; Family Connections; Family Intervention Services; Family Partners of Morris and Sussex; Family Promise; League of Women Voters of Sussex Highlands; Legal Services of Northwest Jersey; Local Share; Garden volunteers at Project Self-Sufficiency; Morris Sussex Youth Advocate Program; NAMI; Newton Medical Center; New Jersey Cancer Education & Early Detection Program (NJ CEED); NORWECAP Child & Family Resources; Partnership for Maternal and Child Health; Planned Parenthood; Project Self-Sufficiency; SCARC; Shop Rite of Newton; Sussex County Children’s Advocacy Center; Sussex County Community College; Sussex County Division of Health; Sussex County Division of Social Services; Sussex County Library; Sussex County Public Health Nursing; Sussex County Special Child Services; Sussex County YMCA; Statewide Parent Advocacy Network; Zufall Health Center; United Way of Northern New Jersey; and others.


Professional stylists from several area salons will volunteer their time to offer free haircuts to students.  Participating salons will include Becky’s; Country Classic Haircutters; John’s Barber Shop; Salon Fig; Scissor Joint; The Village Mane; and others“The stylists who volunteer to cut hair at the Back-to-School fair each year are to be commended for their graciousness, patience and enthusiasm,” noted Berry-Toon.  “The children look beautiful, and the parents are delighted because the service is free and available to their families each year at the fair.”


Non-profit agency Project Self-Sufficiency is celebrating its 30th year of service to families 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 achieve personal and economic self-sufficiency, family stability, and to improve their lives and the lives of their children.  The agency offers a supportive family-centered environment where life issues are addressed through a combination of individual counseling, peer support groups, case management services, parenting skills training, life skills management training, home visits, childcare and early childhood education, family activities and health education.  For information about any of the services provided at Project Self-Sufficiency, call 973-940-3500 or 844-807-3500, or visit

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