Local Equestrian Turns Her Passion Into Profession

 By Cheryl Conway

This May will mark a year since one local woman took the reins in running her own business as a dressage rider and trainer.

There is something about horses that took Mallory Chambers of Flanders by her breeches and motivated her to start Chambers Equine Performance in Califon. The 23 year-old professional equestrian launched her business in May 2018.

Riding horses since she was seven, and working at the same horse farm since she was 12, Chambers galloped at the chance to become an entrepreneur in a field she was most passionate about.

“I was kind of born with it,” says Chambers. “I loved horses for as long as I can remember. When we lived in Michigan, I never touched a horse…but I was like horses, horse horses. I think it’s ingrained in me; it’s just there. Nobody in my family rides, I was never near a farm.”

Born in Kalamazoo, Mich., Chambers was raised in Flanders when her family moved up to Mt. Olive in 2003 so her father would be close to his work in Peapack, she explains.

One day her mother surprised her and said “let’s go for a bike ride to look at horses,” she says. They rode to a farm on Tinc Rd. so she could touch the horses over the fence. “So I knocked on the door and asked if I could work there.”

Says Chambers, “I just loved horses; I found my niche there,” at the horse farm. Instead of paying her for any chores that she did at the farm, the owners gave her free riding lessons.

Strapped by her love for horses, Chambers got her first horse a few months later when “they shipped in a couple of babies,” she explains. “I fell in love with one of the babies and I convinced my father to let me have one of the babies; so we bought her and trained her.”

An Appaloosa American horse breed, Chestnut in color, Chambers named her Bella Max. She kept her at the Tinc farm, down the road from her home, and then moved her to Drakestown Equestrian in Long Valley. In March 2014, however, when the horse was only 11 years old, Chambers had to put her down, because of colic.

Work At The Farm

Home-schooled, Chambers would find the time to visit the Tinc farm for two years, from the time she was eight years old to ten years old, to help clean stalls, give horses water and hay and take an hour riding lesson, she explains.

A natural at the saddle, Chambers was introduced to dressage at the age of 12 when she became a working student in 2007 at a second farm, Flying Change Farm in Califon, under the guidance of Heather Mason.

Chambers got linked to Mason through the church she was attending at the time. When her parents were members of Clinton Church of the Nazarene in Clinton, Chambers’ mom befriended Mason’s mom, Phyllis, when she learned that “Heather rides!” says Chambers, and “asked if I could work there,” she explains.

Mason became Chambers’ trainer.

Chambers would work at the farm as much as she could to feed the horses, help get them ready for riders, “turn them out” by taking them out to their pens, and get them ready for their workout for the day.

In September 2014, a few months after Chambers’ lost her first horse, she got her second horse - a nine year old male Hanoverian, she named Gallant. He is now 14 years old and she keeps him at Flying Change Farm, one of the farms she uses as her home base for her business.

Her other home base farm for her business is at Finderne Horse Farm in Oldwick.

“Mallory enjoys bringing out the best in horse and rider, while watching each progress towards individualized goals,” she states on her website.

With a bachelor’s in Equine Studies with a concentration in Equine Science from Centenary University in Hackettstown, that she earned in 2018, Chambers has both the experience and knowledge to provide the best in equestrian services to both horse and clients, with years of training, “watching and observing; by being a sponge,” she says.

She provides a customized training program to suit the needs of the horse and the goals of the rider. Her current clientele consists of 12 client horses, ranging in age from three to 21; and eight student riders, between the ages of 26 and 63.

For those who seek training services, Chambers focuses on rider position, correct use of aids, fitness for both horse and rider and accuracy.

“Mallory has extensive experience with many different breeds and levels of riders, as well as starting young horses and rehabilitation of horses coming off injury, illness, or prolonged time off regular work,” as it states on her website.

One of her services includes training rides in which “I will ride clients’ horses and train them.

She also provides rehabilitation rides. If a horse is coming off an injury, it needs to be brought back slowly so she provides a personalized rehab schedule.

In addition, Chambers provides riding lessons; sales and purchases; clinics in which she teaches riders all day long; catch riding; test riding in which she will show a horse if a rider is not able to; coaching at shows; show braids in which she braids a horse’s mane; and body clipping.

Expert In Dressage

What is dressage? “It’s dancing with your horse,” explains Chambers. At competitions, riders and their horses are judged at different levels as they perform a variety of movements.

“Every movement we get judged one to 10,” explains Chambers, who has won hundreds of ribbons and awards since she began competing “with a couple of shows here and there” at the age of nine.

In 2014, Chambers stepped up her game by competing in even more dressage shows.

She travels “pretty far,” during show season between April and November, to various horse competitions such as those in Ohio, Illinois, Kentucky, Virginia, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, North Carolina and Colorado.

“You walk into my house and they are everywhere,” she says about her ribbons, all for dressage.

Her greatest accomplishment was in July 2016 at the Fei North American Young Riders Championship in Colorado when she won Team Gold, with gold medals for the team, in dressage. This competition was for riders aged 16-21.

Chambers most recent accomplishment was recognized this past Feb. 24 at the 2018 year-end awards dinner and banquet held at Copper Hill Country Club in Ringoes, to celebrate all the year-end award winners from N.J. At the event sponsored by ESDCTA, Eastern States Dressage and Combined Training Association, she and her horse Gallant were recognized as champion and reserved champion, achieving both first and second place.

Chambers shares some of the finer skills needed in dressage: Accuracy when it comes to geometry with figures and set patterns; posture of the horse and rider; and fluency. “You want to be fluid and graceful,” says Chambers.

Competition In The Ring

Besides facing competition as a professional rider, Chambers also competes with other equestrian businesses.

“There’s a lot of competition going around in the Northern N.J. area,” says Chambers. “I do my best to set myself apart; to go out of my way to make my clients and horse happy. I usually let my riding do the talking.”

She also makes herself available when needed.

“I do my best to accommodate everybody,” says Chambers, working after hours if needed. Hours are flexible, six days a week, Monday through Saturday.

Chambers also goes the extra mile to make sure her horses are the best they can be.

“I go out of my way to make sure my horses are fit,” says Chambers. “I make sure they are happy, if they are fit and doing the work correctly.”

Personality counts too.

“I guess I’m personable,” she says.

Working at a job that one loves, and providing the best service possible, instead of horsing around, makes all the difference.

“Training in general is what I enjoy,” says Chambers, and “the horses.” Most rewarding is seeing the “trading process with dressage. It’s fun to start at the

bottom and work your way to the top…. You can look back and see how far you’ve come.”

Her ultimate goal is to own her own farm “where I have horses in training, instead of going barn to barn to barn to barn,” she says.

For pricing and more information, go to chambersequineperformance.com; or email chambers.malloryf@gmail.com.

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Welcome readers to the 11th issue of Mt. Olive Online. Get MO news online today! Advertise with us!

MO Online Features Local Women In Month of March

Help share her success story

The month of March is known for quite a few things such as the start of spring, March Madness for college basketball fans, Daylight Savings, St. Patrick’s Day and Purim. At a national level, March has been recognized in so many various ways such as National Craft Month, National Kidney Month, Red Cross Month, Music in Our Schools Month, National Nutrition Month, National Puppy Day, National Peanut Month, International Waffle Month, to name a few.

While puppies, and peanut butter, music and basketball are loved by many, women are also recognized in the month of March- both nationally and internationally with National Women’s History Month and International Women's Day, celebrated annually on March 8 as a focal point in the movement for women’s rights and women's achievements.

Each year centers around a different theme such as Time is Now: Rural and urban activists transforming women’s lives in 2018; Women in the Changing World of Work: Planet 50-50 by 2030 in 2017; Equality for Women is Progress for All in 2014; and Empower Rural Women, End Poverty and Hunger in 2012.

For this year, the International Women's Day 2019 campaign theme is #BalanceforBetter, which is a call-to-action for driving gender balance across the world, according to the International Women’s Day website.

Although International Women's Day is celebrated annually on March 8, the global campaign theme continues all year long to encourage action.

According to Wikipedia, International Women’s Day dates back to Feb. 28, 1909, when the Socialist Party of America organized a Women's Day in New York; the 1910 International Socialist Woman's Conference suggested a Women's Day be held annually. March 8 then became a national holiday in Soviet Russia in 1917, after women gained suffrage there, and then grew internationally in 1975 when the United Nations adopted the day.

Today, International Women's Day is a public holiday recognized in some countries. Some plans protests that day, others celebrate womanhood.

To celebrate National Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day, Mt. Olive Online would like to recognize local women and their achievements, whether small or great. Throughout the month of March, this publication will be featuring women from Flanders and Budd Lake who have made some kind of impact or change, or have gone above and beyond in making a difference.

Give a shout out to any women in town who have earned respect or admiration by submitting a brief description/write up about this woman and how she is a standout. Photos accepted too. Email editor@mtoliveonline.today.

Local women shine

What Can’t Watson Do? Aspiring Woman Shares Her Story

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By Gloria Andrich

International Women’s Day is a day to reflect on the change that has been established over time to celebrate the power of women and to take a moment to rejoice in the progress woman will make. Since the celebration began in 1911, people from all around the world now celebrate and appreciate women. This day marks the first day of National Women’s History Month where everyone comes together to commemorate the contributions of women from around the globe.

In honor, Mt. Olive Online would like to remark on an incredibly inspiring woman from Mt. Olive: Angie Watson.

Watson grew up in Newark where she attended University High School. She attended Centenary University in Hackettstown where she got her bachelor’s degree in business administration and master’s degree in marketing. She is also a certified HR professional through the SHRM organization and has functioned as a certified Court Advocate for victims of domestic violence.

Her career began at Verizon, then Bell Atlantic Mobile as an 800-line customer service Rep. Just five years later she was promoted to a HR manager. 

Watson says, “I love to learn, so I built relationships and successfully used my networking skills to transition into the marketing department as the program manager for Employee Engagement.” She then made her way into the Verizon Foundation as the program manager for Employee Awareness for the Verizon Innovative Learning Schools Programs. After 25 years on the job, she could take advantage of the early retirement package.

In her retirement, Watson enjoys being a Weight Watchers Coach and says, “in this role, I facilitate the Wellness Workshop discussions ensuring all members of the WW community feel included, involved and invited to participate.”

In addition, she recently earned her certification to teach Zumba and acts as a fitness instructor which furthers her passion for health and wellness. When asked “How did you reinvent yourself at 50 to be concerned with women’s issues such as health and wellness?” she responds, “At this point in my life, I want to be happy, healthy, and whole with no drama! At 50, I am the best version of myself because I know who I am and know what I want. Although Weight Watchers and Zumba are open to both men and women, I love being an inspiration to other women. As women, we have the gift of being able to successfully juggle and multi-task work, school, children, etc. I want to encourage and support these efforts. My focus is on developing strategies that promote a culture where women feel empowered and motivated to deliver on professional, health/wellness, and personal goals.” 

She comments on what she enjoys about being a woman.

“My favorite thing about being a woman is our strength,” Watson says. “We have the gift of being able to successfully multitask...we know how to get things done!  We get frustrated but we always push through. Above all, my favorite thing about being a woman is being a mom to my only child, my son Erin-Marquise Watson. I love being able to influence and develop someone that will be a positive influence on future society.”

Since Watson knows of the significant strides women have made over the years, she comments, “Unfortunately our next generation of women will continue to face some of the same current challenges which have become hashtags:  #metoo, #seeher, etc.  Until we stand together and support one another, it won’t change. Real queens straighten each other’s crown without letting her know it was crooked.”

In response to “If you could meet anyone, who would you want to meet? Angie replies, “has to be Michelle Obama!  She had the grace and strength to not only attend Ivy League schools, get her law degree, and raise two girls but also support her husband as the First Lady of the United States. She stood by his side and while also having her platform of better eating and exercise for children to tackle childhood obesity.”

Very few can accomplish all this alone. Watson has been blessed to have her partner by her side for 32 years, her husband, Erin Watson. 

Find Angie Watson at the Weight Watchers Studio in Succasunna on Sunday mornings and at the new Revive Studios in Budd Lake on Monday nights and Wednesday mornings teaching Zumba.

Philanthropist Balances Her Life With Work, Family & Interests

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By Cheryl Conway 

If all the names of Mt. Olive women deserving recognition in honor of Women’s History Month and International Women’s History Month were thrown in a bonnet, Charlie Wood Uhrmann would surely be picked.   

A wife, a mother of two grown children and a marketing specialist for 37 years, 58-year old Uhrmann’s most noteworthy contribution has been her work as a philanthropist and founder of the All Veteran’s Memorial at Turkey Brook Park in Budd Lake.

As every woman should try to achieve, Uhrmann has found the balance in her life to have a family, work, give back and enjoy her pastimes.

“I have been married to my wonderful husband Scott for 20 years,” says Uhrmann. “I am a very proud mother of two wonderful children,” a 32 yr. old daughter who works in the beauty industry, loves fashion, world travel and is  completing a degree in psychology to hopefully work as a social worker.

“I also have a 27 year old son,” a Florida State University graduate who earned a double degree in marketing and accounting, a master’s in accounting, his CPA and currently works as an analyst at a major financial institution. “He loves riding motorcycles and shooting fire arms; gotta say it; He is an Eagle Scout!  I am most proud of my two amazing adult children.” 

Her personal interests “are broad – world travel, international sculpture, arts and culture.  I enjoy literature of intellectual value.

“I am a Christian who believes that God loves us all equally and has given everyone a very special gift that is unique to each one of us,” continues Uhrmann. “I have an extraordinary deep passion and compassion for children and all animals.”

On top of all that, Uhrmann used her heart, mind and hands to create the All Veteran’s Memorial Park, along with Bill and Linda Sohl. The AVM memorializes local veterans and soldiers involved in all branches of the United States Military Forces making it “one of the number one memorials in the state of New Jersey.”

Uhrmann’s idea for the AVM developed after 911 in 2001, when the Global War on Terror began with U.S. soldiers in Iraq. Compelled to do something, Uhrmann got permission from former Mt. Olive Mayor Richard De La Roche to relocate the historic veteran’s monument, the Mount Olive War Memorial, on Route 46, to the front portion of Turkey Brook Park, with an allocation of 1.3 acres, with expansion if needed, to build the AVM.

At the same time, Uhrmann’s son, Eric, was working on an Eagle Scout project involving a veteran’s theme, which became stage one of the AVM.

“With the exception of the primary ceremonial ground, I have personally designed each element throughout the veteran’s park,” says Uhrmann. “Each unique element represents one small facet of America’s exceptional foundation of liberty; and the cost that was paid to preserve it. All of the various monuments and memorials are equally important and unique to the AVM – and registered as such with the Library of Congress. The All Veterans Memorial is a true testament of We the People, as if not for the people (ordinary, but exceptional individuals) it would not exist” as it is 100 percent funded from private donations, families and companies.

While the AVM stages are mostly complete, Uhrmann keeps busy with the memorial.

“I stay busy working with our many volunteers at the AVM,” says Uhrmann. “We offer a wide variety of volunteer opportunities and events, such as Armed Forces Day (week), Memorial Remembrance Day, National POW/MIA vigil, and Veterans Day.  During May, specifically on Memorial Day we provide special programs for families of fallen warriors.  National POW/MIA, we host a 24 hour vigil for those warriors still missing in action, and Veterans Day we kick off our Helping Homeless Heroes and Hounds campaign. 

Uhrmann is a role model to her gender peers and offers her wisdom and advice.

“Today’s women are tasked with far greater responsibilities and challenges than the women of yesterday,” explains Uhrmann. “There are 74.6 million women in the civilian labor force, which equates to almost 47 percent of the overall workforce.  As the world and workforce becomes more challenging - the overall challenges have a greater impact on women, because, not only are women a major contributing factor to our professional and economic growth, women are still the primary stabilizer at home.  This is not to say men do not play a role in the traditional family unit, because they do; however, studies show that nothing can replace the role of the mother in most incidences.” 

She says: “One of the greatest advantages of living in a capitalistic nation is the opportunities of entrepreneurism; which lends itself well to the self-motivated, business minded women who own close to 10 million businesses in the U.S., which accounts for $1.4 trillion in receipts and growing.” 

She offers this advice to younger women trying to succeed: “I have believed from early on that people excel best when they write their own life’s ‘script’ or ‘business plan.’  I believe everyone should conduct an honest inventory of one’s self, and that they can achieve much more when they identify not only their strengths, but their ‘less strengths.’  I also believe that money should never be the ultimate deciding factor to anything in life.  I have had many experiences where the money was great – at the cost of my core values.  As soon as someone finds themselves playing tug-of-war between money and/or core values – always pick core values because that is where real strength comes from.     

“Be kind to others,” she adds. “Spend more time valuing and appreciating the things you have and very little time with the things you don’t have. Remember, the most dangerous word in the dictionary is ‘more’ – more is unsustainable - it robs you from appreciating what you have and what you have accomplished.  Believe in yourself and always do your homework.  Though it is OK to seek others opinions, and sometimes very necessary, be mindful that no one knows you, better than you.”

Local Woman Opens Heart To Elderly And Homeless

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By Cheryl Conway 

Sales specialist, writer, wife, mother and founder of a non-profit- Lisa Smith Wagner, 56, of Mt. Olive, is one local woman who finds purpose in all that she pursues.

Married to Ralph Wagner for 33 years and mother of two grown boys, Matthew, 31 and Eric, 28, as well as her daughter-in-law Annie, 28, Wagner has “loved living in this community for almost 30 years and have a wonderful group of neighbors and friends,” she says.

“When the boys were younger I was very involved as a room mother and Cub Scout leader,” says Wagner. “I have been a writer my whole life and am the author of two books: “Treasures of a Nurse’s Heart; Treasures of a Teacher’s Heart;” and most recently helped my younger son Eric write his first memoir: “Leaving It on the Road.” I am an avid runner and love being outside in nature.”

For 10 years, Wagner enjoyed helping the elderly by working as a former Regional Sales Specialist for Sunrise Senior Living.

About two years ago, she founded a non-profit- Helping Hearts & Handbags, Inc.

“Our mission statement is simple, yet powerful: “Provide dignity, self-respect, and encouragement to homeless women by collecting new or gently-used purses, fill them with personal care items along with a handwritten note of encouragement, and distribute them to shelters or on the streets.”

Continues Wagner: “What started out as a simple idea to help the many homeless women I would see on the streets of NYC is blossoming into a movement of “women helping women” across many states. To date we have handed out about 2,000 filled purses in over 30 shelters and on the streets of NYC, Newark, and Irvington. And we’re just getting started!”

Wagner is launching an updated website, www.HelpingHeartsandHandbags.com, to enable women across the country to duplicate the process of collecting, filling, and distributing purses to homeless women in their own areas.

During the month of March, women and their accomplishments are being recognized as it is National Women's History Month and International Women's Month.

“International Women’s Month reminds me how amazing women can be… fierce and strong one minute, tender and compassionate the next,” says Wagner. “One of my favorite role models is Mother Teresa. Talk about love personified in a mighty little body! I love to read about women in other countries who are given a micro-loan to buy a sewing machine and then change the entire village from poverty to self-sufficiency. That kind of determination and resiliency completely astounds me and challenges me to do more with the incredible blessings I have received in my own life.

“And when I look back at the women who have changed history, I am completely humbled,” adds Wagner. “Many things I take for granted, like voting and equality in the workplace, were forged by tremendous effort and sacrifice. It’s important that we remind younger generations of women that it wasn’t always like it is now. All of us stand on the shoulders of very courageous women!”

Wagner offers some advice for younger women trying to be successful.

“My first advice would be to stay true to who you are, even if it isn’t the easiest choice,” says Wagner. “I chose to stay at home to raise my boys, even though it wasn’t very “popular” at the time, late 1980’s and 90’s, to leave a career. There are so many other options now to try and have both a family and a career, but just make sure you don’t burn yourself out. I don’t think we realize when we start a family how much time it takes to actually be present and those years really do go by so quickly.

“As for career choices, try and find a path that speaks to your heart,” continues Wagner. “I was fortunate to find a career that involved helping the elderly because that made me very happy. Life is way too short to spend a lot of time being miserable at a job. Success can be measured in many different ways, not just financial, so define success your own way.”

For women her age, trying to maintain or seek purpose, Wagner says “As I’ve gotten older I’ve become more “gentle” with myself. I still like to set the world on fire and live life to the fullest, but know I can’t physically do the same things I used to do. For example, I used to run very often and very fast and would get so frustrated if I was injured, etc. Now I’m just grateful my legs have carried me around for so many miles and years and am simply happy to be outside running, even if it is slower.

“I have more time now that my children are grown and am thrilled that Helping Hearts & Handbags, Inc. has been so well received and growing so quickly,” she adds.

“It can be hard when your children do go out on their own because you devote an extraordinary amount of time to them,” says Wagner. “It’s important to find another purpose and women have so much to offer the world! We need to value ourselves, and each other, especially those who have fallen on hard times. Our HH&H t-shirts read “Never look down on someone unless you’re helping them up.” Teaching that to our children is crucial if we want to see a more peaceful and loving world.”

Helping Hearts & Handbags, Inc. welcomes any women (or men) who would like to get involved. There are all kinds of ways to make a difference.

For more information, visit www.HelpingHeartsandHandbags.com.

 

Wawa Hearing Application Hops To May

By Cheryl Conway

The date to hear the continued application regarding a Wawa in Flanders has been moved to the May Mt. Olive Planning Board Meeting.

Originally set for April 11, the Wawa developer- HSC Flanders, LLC, will instead continue its application presentation to the planning board on Thursday, May 9, at 7 p.m. Testimony by the developer began on Feb. 21, but after four hours of details, questions from the crowd and suggestions from a local police sergeant, the board adjourned at 11 p.m.

Plans to build a 24 hour, 4,736 sq. ft. Wawa convenience store with a five-pump fueling gas service station on the six acre property of Herold’s Landscaping at 194 Rt. 206 south has engaged many local residents concerned about traffic, noise, lights, drainage, water usage, property values, to name a few. More than 150 residents attended the last planning board meeting with their issues.

With traffic being the greatest concern, Mt. Olive Planning Board Chair Howie Weiss had asked MOPD Sgt. Eric Anthony to address his concerns and make recommendations. With 19 years on the MOPD police force, of which 10 years focused on traffic and crashes, Anthony offered a lot of suggestions to improve the safety at that intersection of Route 206 and Flanders Netcong Rd.

Weiss says moving the meeting to May is wise as it allows the applicant more time to work with the township traffic expert and the police sergeant regarding their concerns.

“It’s smarter that we carry it until May,” says Weiss. “We needed more time to have all the traffic folks get together a comprehensive plan. I want it all complete and have a clear picture.”

Since the meeting, Anthony has been meeting with Gary Dean, a professional transportation engineer of Dolan & Dean Consulting Engineers in Somerville that is representing Wawa; as well as Walter Lublanecki, the Mt. Olive Planning Board Traffic consultant.

“Walter, Eric and Wawa are working with the state,” says Weiss, to address the traffic concerns.

In addition, a few days after the last planning board meeting, Weiss learned that the county wants to meet to discuss the much needed improvements on Main Street in Flanders, says Weiss, regarding the intersection and suggestions to widen that county road.

The township “is trying to get the entire intersection fixed,” says Weiss.

“At the end of the day we couldn’t get that all done by April 11,” concludes Weiss. “The delay is to do it right and do it one time.”

The May 9 Mt. Olive Twp. Planning Board meeting will kick off with the continued Wawa application at 7 p.m., says Weiss, followed by any questions the public may bring.

To stay informed, go to 2019 Wawa Information Mt. Olive on Facebook, or go to the May 9 meeting open to the public.

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March On over to the LIBRARY for events

Kids Event at the Library

NJ Makers Day is Saturday, March 23: Join in at the Mt. Olive Public Library for a full day of fun for kids and families. Enjoy STEM programs, MAKER tools and learn about robotics.

* LEAP into Science, 10 a.m.-11a.m., for all ages. Join in for another special Leap Into Science program, engineered by the Franklin Institute, to learn about balance.

* COLAbots and Cruise Control, 2 p.m.-3 p.m., for all ages. Get ready for these awesome robotics teams, as they come to show off the robots they’ve been building and teach others why it’s cool to be in robotics.

* Button Press and Bloxels, 10 a.m. -3 p.m., ages 6 & up. Throughout the day, check out the MOPL’s newest maker tools. Learn how to create one’s own button using a  new button press, or design own video game with Bloxels.

  Learn How To Speak Italian At Library 

 Interested in learning to speak Italian? Join Domenico Tancredi for a 10 week Standard Italian Class being offered at the Mt. Olive Public Library. The class will cover: How to ask for something? How to ask where something is? How much something is? How to say you like something?

Classes are on Tuesdays, starting April 2 through June 11, from 6:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m. in the Gathering Room. No class on April 23. For those who miss more than two classes, they will forfeit their space. Class is limited to 10 adults.

Registration required. Call 973-691-8686 ext. 106 or go to www.mopl.org to register.

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Take Two Classes For One Price

Jump into spring with Mt. Olive Exercise’s Buy One, Get One Free Special beginning this week! Classes are open to all skill levels and offer a variety of programs throughout the week. To register: https://register.communitypass.net/mountolive; or call Laura Hars at 973-903-0453. 

Graduates Give CCM Top Grades In Survey

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Graduates from County College of Morris (CCM) in Randolph are once again raving about the quality of their education and the college’s ability to provide them with a solid foundation for success.

The most recent survey of graduates, this time from the Class of 2017, shows unequivocal satisfaction with the preparation they received at CCM. The Office of Career Services and Cooperative Education has conducted a survey of graduates annually since 1971. As in past surveys, the vast majority of respondents from the Class of 2017 – 99 percent – rated their CCM experience as “excellent” (83 percent) or “good” (16 percent).

“Great experience,” said one former student. “I learned so much being at CCM, both in my classes and extracurricular activities on campus.”

This year’s survey represents 70 percent, or 923 graduates, from the Class of 2017. Of those students, 81 percent have furthered their education by transferring to a four-year school to earn their bachelor’s or enrolling in other continuing studies. Of those, 98 percent described their preparation for those programs as “excellent” or “good.”

Almost 70 percent of transfer students have stayed in N.J. to continue their education. The most popular choice for those students is Rutgers. Others in the top 10 include Montclair State University, William Paterson University, New Jersey Institute of Technology, Ramapo College and Kean University. Out-of-state institutions include Columbia University, the Culinary Institute of America, Penn State, Savannah College of Art and Design, and the University of San Diego.

The vast majority of CCM graduates who earned degrees focused on immediate job entry or certificates – 74 percent – reported that they are working in fields related to their major. Of those graduates, 97 percent rated their preparation for their jobs as “excellent” or “good.”

CCM alumni from the Class of 2017 are working as registered nurses, landscape managers, teachers, bankers and designers, among many other careers. Employers include ADP, Arconic, Atlantic Health System, Chase Bank, Ernst & Young, National Hockey League, New York Police Department and Oracle. For more information from the survey, go to https://bit.ly/2XZO0ls/.

 

CCM To Hold College And Career Showcases

Discover all that County College of Morris (CCM) in Randolph has to offer at the college’s “An Open House for Everyone” on Saturday, April 13.

Whether a high school student looking to earn a college degree or seeking to gain the qualifications needed for quick entry into a field such as engineering or IT, or an adult desiring to improve career opportunities, CCM has a pathway to meet those goals.

This year, the college is revamping its traditional open house by featuring two showcases: The College Showcase, tailored to prospective students and their parents; and the Career Showcase, where adults can learn about the training and resources to get a job, get a better job or become more effective at the job they are in.

The Open House takes place 9 a.m. – 3 p.m., starting in the Health and Physical Education building, Randolph. There will be three introductory sessions on the college offered at 9 a.m., 10:30 a.m. and noon. Tours and workshops will take place throughout the day. Park in Lots 7, 8 or 9.

At the College Showcase, students and their families can meet with faculty and professional staff to learn about academic programs, student services, financial aid and scholarship opportunities, and gain insight into the admissions and application process. Any student who attends and applies to CCM at the Open House will have the $30 application fee waived.

During the Career Showcase, adults looking to improve their career opportunities can learn about employment needs in the Morris County area and beyond. Workshops also will be offered on creating a resume suited for today’s job market, searching for jobs in the digital age, creating an outstanding LinkedIn profile. Also offered will be the do’s and don’ts of job interviews.

Campus tours will be given every 15 minutes, so visitors can explore the college’s state-of-the-art equipment, facilities and labs, meet with current students and enjoy CCM’s beautiful surroundings.

Reserve a spot for the “An Open House for Everyone” event by registering at http://www3.ccm.edu/openhouse/openhouse.aspx. For more information on the Open House, contact the CCM Office of Admissions at admiss@ccm.edu or 973-328-5100.

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Participants Get First Hand Look At STAR Program

 Morris County service providers, probation and police officers and high school students assumed the roles of former jail inmates Friday, March 15, to experience the biases, destitution, social and emotional challenges some inmates have upon discharge back into the community.

The re-entry simulation held at the Morris County Public Safety Academy was the first public showcasing of the Successful Transition and Re-Entry (STAR) program started in October as a collaboration between Morris County Sheriff James M. Gannon and the county Office of Temporary Assistance within the Department of Human Services.

Both Gannon and Morris County Freeholder Heather Darling noted in opening program remarks that the recidivism rate of individuals incarcerated at the Morris County Correctional Facility is about 48 percent – or 48 percent of the same individuals are rearrested and returned to jail. The rate won’t drop without meaningful programs offered to inmates, Gannon said.

“This is a holistic approach to a population that needs our support,” he said.

The event, attended by more than 100 people, was organized by STAR case managers Melissa Maney and Sierra McEniry, whose office is based at the Morris County Correctional Facility.

Inmates voluntarily sign up for STAR, where they are assisted, before and after discharge, with access to medical and substance abuse recovery services, housing, Temporary Aid To Needy Families, Medicaid, SNAP, jobs, identification documents, and even Vivitrol injections to help prevent relapses to alcohol or drug dependencies.

“There’s no cookie-cutter method; we’re meeting everyone where they’re at,” McEniry said.

There are 83 current and former inmates in the STAR program in Morris County.

The simulation was facilitated by Kimberlynn Reeves of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Delaware, an expert on re-entry program who has worked with the New Jersey State Parole Board on conducting four of the five re-entry simulations the Parole Board has held.

“We look to hold re-entry simulations in jurisdictions like Morris County that are very progressive and engaged,” said Parole Board Administrative Analyst Sherry Sandler. “We’re all re-entry stakeholders as citizens and residents of the state.”

STAR client Michael Lester, who spent several months in the Morris County Correctional Facility for his third drunken driving offense, shared a bit of his story with the crowd. He said his first DWI occurred 10 years ago after his wife died and he got another DWI charge for riding an electric bicycle while intoxicated.

Lester said he saw participants laughing and enjoying the simulation but his incarceration wasn’t a joke.

“In real life, when you go to jail, you’re not laughing,” he said. He said Maney and McEniry, the STAR caseworkers, helped him receive Vivitrol, set up dental and medical appointments, and find an apartment.

“They’re very responsive; as a matter of fact, they’re proactive; good energy,” Lester said.

Reeves took charge of running the simulation in which participants were given “life cards” that gave them a new identity, details of their crimes and sentences, and a schedule of obligations they had to fulfill over a four-week period, including paying probation fees, restitution to victims, undergoing urinalysis, and paying for food, rent and utilities.

Role players moved between stations manned by volunteers posing as service and medical providers, landlords, court officials, pawn shop owners, and other people a former inmate may encounter. Mirroring real life, some volunteers treated the inmate role-players rudely while others were sympathetic or lenient.

Role-players at the various stations would select cards that dictated their next step, such as appearing before a judge for failing a drug test or being forced to pay rent on a room in full or face eviction.

Morris County Sheriff’s Officers played roles too at the simulation, escorting people away from stations to “jail” in a back corner of the room for infractions that included failure to pay a probation fine or speaking disrespectfully to a judge. By the time role players had reached the fourth week of trying to meet obligations, most were in jail – a reflection, Reeves said, of how easily a former inmate can return to jail without assistance.

“I think it’s a cool experience,” said Morris Hills High School senior Francis Babe. His background was as “Wesley,” who spent 10 years in federal prison for bank robbery.

Rewaida Muheisen, who works for the Morris County Office of Temporary Assistance, said the simulation gave her a glimpse of how overwhelming life may be like for a former inmate.

“We see clients all day long and now we can see the effects of what we ask of them,” Muheisen said.

Morris County Prosecutor Fredric M. Knapp also attended the simulation, saying in opening remarks that he admires Gannon’s initiatives to curb crime and reduce drug dependency.

“I’ve never seen innovative efforts before like Sheriff Gannon has done for Morris County,” Knapp said.

Morris County Sheriff James M. Gannon speaks at the STAR re-entry simulation on March 15.

Chapel Serving Fish & Chips Dinner

Join in at the First Presbyterian Church’s Chapel in Hackettstown on Friday, April 26, from 5 p.m.-7 p.m., for the “Tastefully British” Fish & Chips Dinner.

Tickets are $15 for adults; and $8 for children under 12.

Advanced ticket purchase is required! For tickets, call Ellen at 908-637-6236.

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