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Alison Jaruzelski of Westfield Earns Girl Scout Gold for Work with Roots & Wings

Alison Jaruzelski, a junior at Westfield High School, recently earned her Girl Scout Gold Award. Her project consisted of gathering all the furnishings for and setting up the first apartment in Union County for Roots & Wings, an organization that provides housing for teens aging out of the foster care system.  

Alison Jaruzelski, a junior at Westfield High School, received her Girl Scout Gold Award at the Girl Scouts Heart of NJ recognition ceremony on May 3. The highest honor in Girl Scouts, the Gold Award requires a minimum of 80 hours of researching, planning and executing a project that fulfills a community or national need.

Jaruzelski completed her Gold Award project with Roots & Wings, a non-profit organization that provides housing and transitional support to teens aging out of the foster care system. Each year, more than 600 young adults age out of the foster care system in New Jersey and are left homeless and without the education or life skills needed to live independently. Roots & Wings provides safe housing and counseling to these teens, enabling them to complete their schooling and find employment on their way to self-sufficiency.

For her project, Jaruzelski was responsible for collecting donations for and setting up the first apartment leased by Roots & Wings in Union County. She hosted an apartment-warming shower for kitchen and bath accessories, bed linens and school supplies. Fifty people attended the event at First Congregational Church last fall, which also served to raise awareness of the organization.

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She was also charged with finding furniture for the two-bedroom apartment, including beds, desks, dressers, bookcases, lamps, kitchen table and chairs. She solicited donations of gently used furniture through online registries and social media.  Additionally, she wrote letters seeking donations of items that had to be in new condition, including mattresses and carpeting. Ron Shovlin of Shovlin Mattress Factory in Fanwood and Ben Slack of Major Mills in Clark were especially generous in contributing these key items.

After all the donations were gathered, the set-up of the apartment was accomplished in less than one week from the time the keys were received until the first resident moved in. Jaruzelski was responsible for coordinating all the volunteers to help move, unpack and assemble all the furnishings. The first two clients moved into the newly completed apartment last November.

As the final piece of her project, Jaruzelski compiled an apartment manual, including furnishing checklists, solicitation letters, photographs and a contact list of resources. The manual is now used by Roots & Wings as the template for setting up their future apartments.

“In spite of all the work, it was very gratifying for me to be able to help other teens in my own community who have not had the benefits of a secure family life that so many of us take for granted,” said Ms. Jaruzelski. “Everyone I contacted about this project was so enthusiastic and so generous with their time and donations. I am especially grateful to the members of Roots & Wings Union County who devoted so much effort to help me move in and set up the apartment over one very busy weekend.”

Jaruzelski has been a member of Girl Scout troop 40769 since kindergarten.Her mentor for the project was Wendy Masteller, a Roots & Wings board member and former science teacher at Roosevelt Intermediate School. For further information about Roots & Wings, contact

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NJ Flags to Fly at Half-Staff for Jerry Green May 7

April 24, 2018

TRENTON, NJ — Governor Phil Murphy issued an executive order on Monday for New Jersey flags to be flown at half-staff at all state buildings and facilities on the day of the upcoming General Assembly session, scheduled for May 7, in memory of Assemblyman Jerry Green, former chair of the Union County Democratic Committee, who died last week.

On Thursday, Governor Murphy had said, ...

Thank you, Mayor Brindle and Six Members of Town Council, for Approving 2018 Budget

April 25, 2018

Thank you, Mayor Brindle, and the six members of council, who voted to approve the 2018 budget last night and to Mr. Gildea, Councilwoman Habgood and the finance committee members who worked tirelessly to prepare it. Thank you for the lowest tax increase I can recall while producing a budget that provides for smart investment in our town. 

For most of my residency here, the same ...

Upcoming Events


Thu, April 26, 10:00 AM

Westfield Memorial Library, Westfield

Westfield Memorial Library Spring Book Sale

Arts & Entertainment


Fri, April 27, 10:00 AM

Westfield Memorial Library, Westfield

Westfield Memorial Library Spring Book Sale

Arts & Entertainment

Westfield Police Blotter: Two Reported Shopliftings & More

April 25, 2018

April 19, 2018 9:36 a.m.

Officer McCarthy arrested Paul S. Lee, age 36, of Ridgewood, NJ, at Westfield Police Department headquarters on the strength of an outstanding Westfield warrant in the amount of $89. Subject was processed and released after posting bail.


April 19, 2018 12:01 p.m.

A resident of Central Avenue reported being the victim of identity theft. Unknown actor(s) ...

Reduce Your Risk for Colorectal Cancer

April 25, 2018

Morristown Medical Center’s Carol G. Simon Cancer Center presents “Protecting Your Colorectal Health” on Tuesday, May 1 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Morristown Medical Center Health Pavilion, 333 Mount Hope Avenue in Rockaway. Admission is free.

This popular, educational program presents an opportunity to hear up-to-date presentations from leading ...

Ways to Increase Your Home's Equity

Sometimes you forget and don’t realize your home provides so much to your life. It brings along with it your dreams of the future, shelter to you and your family, a way to provide a better lifestyle, a better commute, a neighborhood, schools, community involvement and recreational facilities. But it also provides a way to save for the future. It does this by allowing you to build your ...

Westfield Public Schools Welcomes Community to Auditorium Open Houses

Two years ago, voters in Westfield approved a bond referendum to renovate the aging auditoriums in Edison and Roosevelt Intermediate Schools. Major aspects of the renovations include new seating and flooring, electrical and lighting upgrades, state-of-the-art sound systems, acoustical treatments and air conditioning.

On April 11 and 12, students, staff, families and other members of the ...

'The Sting' shimmers and shakes at Paper Mill

‘The Sting ‘slithers and shakes at Paper Mill Playhouse


MILLBURN, NJ – In a premiere production of “The Sting,” Harry Connick Jr. commands the Paper Mill Playhouse stage in Millburn.

Based on the sensational Paul Newman/Robert Redford film in 1973, the 1930s plot centers on a con game and gambling, sometimes on a train between New York and ...

Why We Keep Kosher

Why We Keep Kosher

This week's parshah, Shemini, introduces the Torah's dietary laws. Animals must chew their cud and have split hooves to be kosher, fish need fins and scales, and a list of forbidden fowl is enumerated.

To those of us in Jewish education, it is a continuing source of disappointment that so many Jews still believe the kosher laws to be outdated.

Hellenic Therapy Center

April 13, 2018

Dropping Off Our Kids At College – Learning How To Adjust

Hellenic Therapy Center


Whether your kid is a freshman entering college for the first time or returning back to college, there are so many emotions we experience as parents.  There are differences in a parent’s reaction to the departure of a first child, an only child or even the last child.  Feelings ...


Oct 21, 1944 - Apr 14, 2018
Kathleen A. Hertell passed away peacefully with family at her bedside on April 14, 2018. Loving ...
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‘A Sad Day for Paterson’ as Police Officer Loses Life in Car Crash

April 23, 2018

PATERSON, NJ — On what Paterson Superior Officers Association President Mason Maher called “a sad day for Paterson,” a city police officer lost his life on Sunday after he was involved in a motor vehicle collision while on duty.

Several sources familiar with Sunday’s tragic accident have identified the fallen officer as Tamby Yagan, a 13-year veteran of the ...