Tag Archives: volunteer

Football (Soccer) Jerseys…

It feels so good when you can see the results of a lot of hard work. I am fortunate to have the opportunity to volunteer with an organization called, Jerseys from Jersey.  At the end of our fall soccer season, we collect used soccer jerseys, shorts and socks and when we have enough to outfit at least two full teams, we send them to underprivileged countries where they can be used by the children there. I have written about our community collection days before and they are always a big success.

We recently donated hundreds from our last collection to an organization that plans on bringing many of them to Ghana. Today, these photos from an earlier collection, were shared with me. Just another reason to be proud of our community!

Jerseys from Jersey South Sudan 1Jerseys from Jersey South Sudan 2Jerseys from Jersey South Sudan 3Jerseys from Jersey South Sudan 4

4th Of July in Maplewood


Last year, Mic.com listed Maplewood as “one of 9 towns that really knows how to celebrate” the 4th of July saying,

Forget the traditional parade and fireworks routine. Maplewood, N.J.  offers both festivities and then some! The town spices up your standard fourth of July celebration by putting on The Zerbini Family Circus for the town to enjoy. The circus features a trapeze and acrobatics, clown acts and even elephant performances and is definitely a unique way of celebrating America’s special day. The day also features various competitions including relay races, a pet awards show, an ice cream eating contest and a pie-baking showdown. 

Fourth of July festivities began in Maplewood 112 years ago.  For many years, my parents used to volunteer when the Jaycess organized the whole day. Now, it is run differently and the town, the YMCA, and other local groups help to make the day a success each year.  We still all participate though.  The races, the fireworks, the circus…

Last summer, after cleaning out one of my mom’s drawers while we were going through her things, I cam across this article from 1974.  I put it in a pile of “stuff to go through and just happened to find it this afternoon.  Perfect since tomorrow is the 4th!

4th of july news record 1974

I can actually remember that day.  I was at the top of the metal slide in the park.  My parents were working one of the booths.  I fell from the top and landed on my head.  At four years old, I remember it being so, so high up!  My mom brought me over to the first aid station where I got ice and they took care of me.  Mom was always very conscious of us appreciating what others do for us and had us write thank you notes for everything, so with her help, I wrote them a thank you note which got published in the town’s weekly paper, The News Record.  Of course, my mom saved it and I am grateful that she did!

Reading this article, I came across names of people that I believe are still recognized names in town.  I am not surprised that even back then, 40 years ago, Maplewood had a “Peace and Community Action” committee.  Back then, the races were held with schools competing against one another but not now although the races are still held and ribbons are awarded.

Tomorrow, rain is expected. I can’t even remember the last time it rained on The 4th of July here.  If all goes well, and the weather holds up, I will be taking photos for The Village Green.   I love doing this.  I can be part of the day’s festivities and capture the memories for others.   Who knows, someday, 40 years from now, someone else might come across and old photo or memory from the day like I did today.  I can only hope that the Maplewood traditions are still going on!

Soccer Skills


About three weeks ago, the PTA at the school where I work held a big auction.  It is a really fun night that is attended by parents and teachers and it raises a lot of money for our school.  The parent committee works very hard making the night perfect and this year, was a huge success.

One of the big “hits” of the evening are the teacher prizes.  All of the teachers donate a service to be auctioned off.  With prizes like, “Pizza and cupcakes with your teacher at lunch” or “Pancake Breakfast with your teacher” there is often a bidding war to win one!

One of my fellow kindergarten teachers and I offered a “Soccer Skills Class” after school and today was the day for us to carry out the prize.  My coworker Jessica is a very talented soccer player.  She played for her college and went on to coach for awhile afterwards.  She still plays several times a week in a league.  I, on the other hand, have learned to play soccer by watching my own kids play.  I know the rules, and I have fun playing, but after playing on season on an “over 40” team I realized that I was far from a stellar player and I stick to the sidelines.

The 6 children who won our prize didn’t care though!  My own boys came to help out and it was a fun filled hour of skills and a mini-game followed by a snack and a read aloud about soccer.

Our PTA goes over and beyond for the students and teachers at our school and these prizes that we donate are one way that we can give back.  Summer vacation begins next week and The PTA gets some time off as well and it is definitely time deserved.  Thank you for all you do!

Stocking the Shelves

reason to help

Tonight, I took Drew and we went over to St. Joseph’s food pantry to help shelve some of the food that we brought over from The 100th Day Food Drive my school held two weeks ago.  In total our school had collected about 150 bags of food. Half of it went to St. Joe’s, so with 75 bags of food just from Tuscan School, plus all the other donations that were there, a lot needed to be done.  I wanted to bring Drew along.  He was a big help in getting the program started at Tuscan School.  When he was in second grade, he won a “Littlest Volunteer Award.”  He received $50 to use towards his project.  In his essay for the contest, he had written that he would buy bins to hold the food that was collected by all of the classes.  Together, he and I went to Target, bought large bins and distributed them to the classrooms in the school.  We used them for a few years until they dwindled down and the bags became easier for transporting.

Mr. and Mrs. Blaesser, parents of very good friends of ours, help to keep the St. Joe’s food pantry running smoothly.  They were so grateful for the food and when we dropped it off, we asked if they needed help on sorting night, (tonight.)  They said they could never predict how many people would be able to come to sort so they said they would be happy to have us help.  It was a big night for volunteers.  At least 25 people must have shown up to help out.  Volunteers of all ages were there to help.  Such a nice thing to see.

The shelves were nearly empty when we arrived.  By the time all of the food was sorted, the shelves were filled.  What a sight!  Thursday night, all that food gets bagged up for families to pick up on Saturday.  A large amount of it gets delivered to home-bound seniors.   I am sure that despite the amount that was there tonight, after Thursday, there will be very little once again.   There is such a dire need for food and every little bit helps.

For the rest of the month, the studio where I have been taking classes, Viva Z, is holding a food drive.  They will donate all items collected to the food pantry as well.  Collecting and donating food is not hard to do and it is so needed.  I am sure there is a food pantry somewhere near you that would be grateful to receive anything that you are able to donate.  Spread the word and give what you can.

pano food drive photo 1 bags of food