Hundreds of parents and children turned out for a Back-to-School Fair hosted by the Sussex County Family Success Center and Project Sussex Kids, the Sussex County Council for Young Children, at Project Self-Sufficiency on Thursday. Designed to prepare the entire family for a successful academic year, the event featured workshops about successful morning routines, educational resources for special needs children, library programs, and a K-9 demonstration by the Sussex County Sheriff’s Department. Children were invited to play games and receive free haircuts and backpacks filled with school supplies. Representatives from local social service and health care organizations were on hand to offer patrons additional resources. Agency staff members and volunteers played games and provided refreshments. Music was provided by the Bill Wright School of Music. Sussex County Library staff members, along with volunteers recruited by Sussex Macaroni Kid, coordinated craft projects with young children.
“We are pleased to be able to help both parents and children to prepare for a successful school year at the annual Back-to-School Fair,” commented Deborah Berry-Toon, Executive Director at Project Self-Sufficiency. “We commend all of the social service agencies, businesses and volunteers who have taken the time to lend a helping hand to local families in need.”
In addition to dinner, raffles and activities for children, the Back to School Fair featured informative, break-out sessions for parents. Parenting expert Kris Imbrie identified strategies for successfully navigating morning routines. Early literacy tips for parents and children were highlighted by Sussex County Library personnel. Project Sussex Kids Advisory Board members Kathy Nauta and Ria Smith discussed educational resources and navigating the concerns of childhood for parents of children with special needs.
Participating social service and health care organizations included Caring Partners; Center for Prevention & Counseling; DASI; DAWN Center for Independent Living; Division of Child Protection and Permanency; Family Partners of Morris & Sussex; Ginnie’s House; Girl Scouts of Northern New Jersey; Family Intervention Services; League of Women’s Voters of Sussex Highlands; Legal Services of Northwest New Jersey; Literacy NJ Sussex County Programs; Newton Medical Center; NJ CEED/Office of Public Health Nursing; NORWESCAP; Partnership for Maternal and Child Health; Project Self-Sufficiency; Peace by Piece, NJ Inc.; SCARC; Shop Rite Nutrition Services; Sussex County Division of Health/Sussex Warren Chronic Disease Coalition; Sussex County Division of Social; Sussex County Office of Public Health Nursing; Services; Sussex County Library; Sussex Macaroni Kids; Zufall Health Center; and others.
Professional stylists from several area salons volunteered their time to offer free haircuts to students. Participating salons included Becky’s Hair Therapy; His ‘n’ Hair; Oasis Salon; Scissor Joint; and The Village Mane. “We are grateful for the graciousness, patience and enthusiasm of the stylists who volunteer to cut hair at the Back-to-School fair,” noted Berry-Toon. “The children look beautiful, and the parents are delighted because the service is free and available to their families each year at the fair.”
Non-profit agency Project Self-Sufficiency has served northwestern New Jersey families for more than 30 years. The agency offers a broad spectrum of holistic, respectful, and comprehensive services enabling low-income single parents, teen parents, two-parent families, and displaced homemakers to achieve personal and economic self-sufficiency, family stability, and to improve their lives and the lives of their children. The agency offers a supportive family-centered environment where life issues are addressed through a combination of individual counseling, peer support groups, case management services, parenting skills training, life skills management training, home visits, childcare and early childhood education, family activities and health education. For information about any of the services provided at Project Self-Sufficiency, call 973-940-3500 or 844-807-3500, or visit www.projectselfsufficiency.org.