Giving Back

West Orange Rotary Club Holds Community Awards Luncheon at Mayfair Farms

Front, L-R: Sangeeta Badlani of the Nikhil Badlani Foundation; Rotarian Gladys Harris; Rotarian; Mary Lou Bruno, West Orange Community House; Yolanda Sheffield-Williams, Camp Merry Heart; Renee Wells, Hazel Avenue School Rainbow Program. Middle, L-R: Lisa Renwick, Nikhil Badlani Foundation; Rick Gorab, West Essex YMCA; Ssteve Margeotes, Main Street Counseling Center; Bill Cofone, West Orange Arts Council; Rotarian Cynthia Hadley-Bailey; Craig Vanderhoof, West Orange Police Athletic League; Rotarian Joe Vena; Former Mayor Joe Spina. Rear, L-R: Chris Cohrs, West Orange Scholarship Fund; Rotarian Tekeste Gebremichael; Rotarian Jeffrey Dunst; Howard Hall, West Orange African American Heritage Organization; Rotarian Mike Karu; Hap Bojsza, Friends of Edison; Rotarian John Wise. Credits: Cynthia Cumming

WEST ORANGE, NJ - The West Orange Rotary Club presented Community Service Awards to 15 organizations in the West Orange Community at a luncheon held on June 21 at Mayfair Farms.

 The West Orange Rotary raises monies each year with the annual "Taste of the World;" a Super 50:50 Raffle and Super Golf Raffle, and runs concession stands during the town's Fourth of July  and Halloween events.

The organization supports the Holy Trinity-West Orange Food Pantry by running three to four food drives each year, helping to fill the shelves, and by helping the pantry to purchase needed food at Shoprite with cash donations converted into Shoprite gift cards.

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Local organizations receiving monetary awards to further their efforts were:

Hazel Avenue School Rainbow Program - The Rainbow Support group helps children in the West Orange Elementary schools dealing with loss, either through death, divorce or other difficult transitions.  Begun at Hazel, the group has been able to expand its efforts into Washington School, Redwood School, and Gregory School, thanks to the help of the West Orange Rotary.

Camp Merry Heart  - The Rotary sponsors "Joe and Emil's Place" and the "Arts and Crafts Pavilion" at Camp Merry Heart in Hackettstown.  Camp Merry Heart is run by Easter Seals and provides camping experiences for individuals with disabilities, both young and adult. They created laundry facilities at the camp with the award monies donated by  WOR.

Nikhil Badlani Foundation - The Nikhil Badlani Foundation provides programs and scholarships in music instruction, supports academic excellence, provides scholarships for West Orange High School students, and supports initiatives to promote traffic safety awareness.  Sangeeta Badlani shared that with help from the NBF, West Orange High School would be receiving a driving simulator in the fall.

Friends of Edison National Historic Site  - The Friends of Edison have helped to raise nearly $1,000,000.00 since its inception, to help renovate The Thomas Edison National Historical Park sites on Main Street and Glenmont in Llewelyn Park.

West Orange Animal Welfare League - The West Orange Animal Welfare League assists in finding homes for abandoned animals and is always in need of donations to cover the cost of care and food.

Metro YMCAs of the Oranges - The YMCA has provided nearly $20,000.00 in free services to 200 West Orange children and many of the 2,000 West Orange residents that belong to the Metro YMCA.  They offer before and after school programs, athletic, health and wellness program, and camping opportunities.

Main Street Counseling Center - The center has provided mental health services to residents in the West Orange community since 1980, and currently sees 325 clients per week, 82 of whom are seniors.  

West Orange Police Athletic League (P.A.L) - Pal serves the youth of West Orange ages 5-14 through baseball, football, kickball and cheerleading.  The award from the West Orange Rotary will go towards the purchase of new equipment.

Turtle Back Zoo South American Animals Exhibit - The West Orange Rotary sponsors the South American Animals Exhibit at Turtleback Zoo, and continues to provide funding for it.

West Orange African Heritage Organization - The West Orange Heritage Organization provides tutoring in five West Orange Elementary schools, runs food drives and toy drives, and provides scholarships to graduating West Orange High School seniors.

West Orange Scholarship Fund - In May the WOSF provided 68 graduating students at West Orange High School with $46,000 in scholarships.  The WOR participates in the WOSF and the awards will be used for scholarships.

Mayor's Program for Individuals with Disablilies - As part of the Recreation Department for the town, the Mayor's Program for Individuals with Disablilites and Footsteps for the Exceptional Child has been in operation since 1989.  It provides parties, trips, camps, and events for individuals with special needs.  Former Mayor Sam Spina, who also created the program,  received the award.

West Orange Arts Council - The WOAC strives to enrich residents through the arts via education, arts programs, and events, including art exhibitions and programs at the West Orange Public Library.  In 2011 they created A Day In the Life of West Orange, a photo event capturing the township and its residents over a 24 hour period.

West Orange First Aid Squad - WOFAS has long been first responders in the West Orange community.  The award will continue to provide WOFAS with what they need to continue operation.

West Orange Community House - Providing early childhood and youth programs, after school enrichment at Edison Middle School, and more, the Award will go offset scholarships for needy families.

In addition to the local awards, the West Orange Rotary also supports international initiatives.  They will be providing monies to Polio Plus, which seeks to eradicate polio across the world.  Currently polio still exists in three countries.  Rotoplast provides free surgery, training and resources to reconstruct cleft palates in young children.  The Rotary has so far provided the services in South America, Vietnam, and China.  Change A Life is an organization that provides clean drinking water to a school in Uganda.  Help the Children Hear donates hearing aids to needy children.

Rotarians live by a code of ethics known as the Four-Way Test: " is it the truth, is it fair to all concerned, will it build good will and better friendships and will it be beneficial to all concerned?" By the end of the Awards Luncheon, it was apparent that the West Orange Rotary had indeed applied that test to their efforts.

For more information on the West Orange Rotary or to become a member, go to

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