NJ Early Intervention Week

Mid Jersey CARES REIC

Early Intervention Week 2015

New Jersey’s Early Intervention Week 2015 was a wonderful week with fun free family events. Many hands contributed to making the week a huge success including our community partners and agencies, early intervention practitioners and members of the Mid-Jersey CARES REIC staff.

The week kicked off on Tuesday, May 12h at a Pajama Party at the Toms River Public Library. The event began with Colleen Affrime reading books at the Toms River location of the Ocean County Library system. The children also enjoyed an arts & craft activity, music and dancing. Practitioners from Children’s Specialized Hospital, Ocean Service Coordination Unit & Mid-Jersey CARES staff participated. Each child received a book and a goodie bag filled with bubbles, book marker, safety lollipop, sunglasses, a juice box, and graham crackers. Parents received a packet of materials which included early literacy materials, CARES Council recruitment flyers, Family Matters website and a form to join the family email distribution list.

Wednesday, May 13th was another fun day with two events taking place. Families were invited to spend the afternoon at My Gym of Manalapan hosted by owners Huong & Tien Nguyen. Staff from Mid-Jersey CARES REIC joined in the fun. Later that evening, families gathered at JW Tumbles in Clinton. Staff of Hunterdon Service Coordination Unit and Mid-Jersey CARES joined in by helping the children to play, jump, & dance. Each child received a book and a goodie bag filled with bubbles, book marker, safety lollipop, sunglasses, a juice box, and graham crackers. Parents received a packet of materials which included early literacy materials, CARES Council recruitment flyers, Family Matters website and a form to join the family email distribution list.

On Thursday, May 14th families gathered in the evening for a Pajama Party at the New Brunswick Free Public Library. Approximately 25 children were present, which included children currently receiving early intervention services, parents, siblings and other family members. Live music and song was provided by Jon Martinez of Dylan and Co. and his wife (SPOE staff) Children’s librarian, Tamara Richman, read books (also interpreted in Spanish). The arts & craft activity consisted of each child decorating two faces with emotional expressions to indicate their feelings. Volunteers who assisted with the event included Anne Clarke of The Children’s Center and CARES Council member and Mid-Jersey CARES REIC staff. Each registered child received a pair of new pajamas (supported by the PJ Program grant) a book and a goodie bag filled with bubbles, book marker, safety lollipop, sunglasses, a juice box, and graham crackers. Parents received a packet of materials which included early literacy materials, CARES Council recruitment flyers, Family Matters website and a form to join the family email distribution list.

Friday, May 15th families gathered at FunSense Gym located in Kingston. Children and their families rolled, tumbled and climbed with the assistance of practitioners from Children’s Specialized Hospital, Mercer County Service Coordination Unit manager and Mid-Jersey CARES. Each child received a book and a goodie bag filled with bubbles, book marker, safety lollipop, sunglasses, a juice box, and graham crackers. Parents received a packet of materials which included early literacy materials, CARES Council recruitment flyers, Family Matters website and a form to join the family email distribution list.

Early Intervention Week concluded with the Children’s Specialized Hospital’s Walk n’Roll on May 16th at Johnson Park in Piscataway. Approximately 1,000 people attended the event. The New Jersey Early Intervention team had a fun tent offered face painting, sand art, tattoos, an herb garden and seed planting in a take home planter, and reading materials on child development & early literacy. Staff from Mid-Jersey CARES REIC, Mercer Service Coordination Unit manager and children of Mid-Jersey CARES staff volunteered for this event.

Finally, we would like to thank all the organizations who provided contributions to support our events throughout the week. The State Inter Coordinating Council (SICC) provided funds for goodie bags which were provided to children at all events, CARES Council provided gift cards for winners of the regional Early Intervention “Tell Us Your Story” Contest, a grant from Reading is Fundamental (RIF) made it possible to distribute early reading books at many events throughout the week, the PJ Program provided pajamas (grant specific for families residing in New Brunswick & Perth Amboy) and a donated gift card from Home Depot in Milltown. Last, but not least, special thanks to our families who attended the events, shared their stories with us, and remind us why early intervention is such an important program.