Union County, NJ Roots & Wings Union County (RWUC) raised more than $6,000 at a successful fundraiser on October 15 at the Mulberry House in Westfield. The full amount will go directly to help the first two youths from Union County accepted into the program which helps young adults who have aged out of the foster care system.

RWUC Leadership Council member Joe Masterson announced during the evening that an apartment has been secured and the first client will move in before month’s end.

“This milestone is the culmination of the efforts of many individuals and organizations during the past year,” Masterson said. He thanked everyone for donating their time, talent and financial support.

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Special acknowledgements went to the Westfield Tennis Club for hosting the first fundraiser; Alison Jaruzelski, a Westfield girl scout working toward her Gold Award by being responsible for furnishing the apartment; CR Bard employee Lauren Doyle who raised donations through her employer’s quarterly “Denim Day”; the Robert and Marion Schamann Brozowski Foundation for their generous grant; and the Westfield Foundation for being the first seed investor in RWUC with a $40,000 grant.

Children raised in foster care face significant challenges when they age out of the system at 18. Many have no place to live, insufficient education, few employable skills, no financial resources and no dependable adult relationships. The Roots & Wings model has been extremely successful in helping these youth since its inception in 1999 in Morris County. RWUC was formed early in 2014 as an expansion of the original program. To learn more, visit rootsandwingsnj.org or call Joe Masterson at 908-403-8621.