WESTFIELD, NJ – The Westfield Neighborhood Council kicked off its 50th-anniversary celebrations with a festival Saturday. A section of Cacciola Place was closed for the event, one of many the council plans to host in the upcoming months.

“We wanted to definitely have something in the area where it all began, so we came up with the street festival,” said Ahisha Quallis, the council’s board president. “In October we’re going to have the gala, where we’re going to be honoring a certain amount of people who have definitely impacted the organization for the past few years and the community.”

In addition to the Gala, the council also organizes street fairs in June, August and October.

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“We do the street fair, which is our biggest fundraiser because right now, we don’t receive any private funding,” said Quallis, adding that the organization is primarily funded by donations.

The organization’s board consists of about 10 members. Quallis has been on the board for six years and president for about two years. Another board member, 3rd Ward Town Councilman Mark LoGrippo, also attended the event.

“The Neighborhood Council is a local community center,” LoGrippo said. “They do senior programs, [and] they do programs for the youth. It’s really just a local center for the community to run programs.”

Daisy Torralba, a Westfield High School junior, has volunteered with the Neighborhood Council for the past year and was present at the event. She is one of about twelve volunteers currently working with the organization, Quallis said.

The council’s free weekly homework assistance program serves students in grades K to 12 and is open to anyone. “It’s not limited to Westfield students,” Quallis said. “It’s open to anyone that needs help.”

The council also hosts a LEGOs club and weekly lunch meetings for senior citizens, Quallis said.

The council is currently looking for people who specialize in accounting and public relations, as well as a volunteer attorney to offer advice when needed, Quallis said.  

Those interested in volunteering with the council are encouraged to email wncheadquarters@gmail.com. More information about the Westfield Neighborhood Council, the 50th Anniversary Gala, and other programs can be found on the council’s website.