You have truly made 2013 a year of hope and healing for the children and families of The Valerie Fund. Because of your support The Valerie Fund Board has approved funding for new programs and positions that enhance care at The Valerie Fund Centers and move us toward our strategic goal of raising The Valerie Fund Children's Centers to the highest standard possible.
Joann Spera, the first educational specialist who joined the Morristown Center in April, is making amazing inroads helping kids return to their schools with the best support possible. By the first of the coming year, most centers will have staff psychologists. Children at the Newark Beth Israel and Saint Barnabas Centers will receive formalized long-term care in post-treatment years. And the Valerie Fund Center at Columbia University Medical Center will be creating a novel, world class pediatric palliative care program for the 1200 kids treated there. These programs, as well as the $80,000 in college scholarships we awarded to 47 Valerie Fund patients for the current academic year, came about because of your passion and commitment.
And of course there is Camp Happy Times. This summer, 150 new and veteran campers spent a magical week "reaching for the stars," from star-gazing to starring in their own circus. Click here to read their postcard messages. Take a look at the camp photo gallery to see the kids in action.
Sadly, just a few weeks ago we said goodbye to the man who founded Camp Happy Times, our dear friend Sy Frankel. Over 30 years ago, Sy led the transformation of his vision for a camp for kids with cancer into a reality. Our heartfelt condolences go to Sy's wife Marcia, his son Randy, and the entire Frankel family. As it's written in the Camp Happy Times memorial garden: "If you can't hear us, we'll sing a little louder."
Finally, please continue to join us at events like the upcoming Justin Gimelstob charity tennis event on December 6 and next June's Walk/Run at Verona Park. Just as importantly, think about how your personal philanthropy can make a difference as 2013 comes to a close.
We're making an amazing difference but there's still more to do....because it's all about the kids!
As we transition into the fall, I want to tell you about some amazing things that happened at The Valerie Fund this summer. For yet another season we took more than 200 campers and volunteer counselors to Tyler Hill, Pennsylvania for the one-week miracle known as Camp Happy Times. Our Valerie Fund kids got to spend the week rekindling old friendships, bonding with their peers and best of all, just being kids. Take a moment to read their handwritten postcards from camp by clicking here.
This summer was particularly special because we celebrated a Camp Happy Times milestone and threw a 30th birthday party for camp on August 18th, welcoming over one hundred long time camp friends who came back for the day to celebrate with the kids and with us. It was a day to revel in all the old camp stories back to our first season of CHT in 1982. But the true highlight of the festivities came when we announced that with the support of Millie Finkel’s children and the Timber Lake Foundation a new camp endowment had been created. And so from this day forward, Wayne Hall will be called “Millie and Gil’s House” to honor Millie’s 22 seasons (and counting) as director, and her late husband Gil who shared camp with her.
Other wonderful news to share with you is our record setting year for The Valerie Fund Scholarship Program. This summer we awarded college scholarships to 37 very deserving Valerie Fund students attending 26 colleges and universities. Scholarships ranged in size from $700 to three $5,000 named scholarships created by the family of Julia L. Weintraub. A total of $57,000 in scholarships was awarded this year, thanks to new gifts to the scholarship fund, doubling the total support to patients from any previous year. To some of these young adults, Valerie Fund scholarships could be the difference between attending college or not, so we are thrilled to encourage them to continue their education. Like the funding we provide for the seven Valerie Fund Centers, Camp Happy Times and The Valerie Fund Scholarship Program only happen because of your support.
Now I am asking you to take a moment to help us win a grant of up to $250,000. Just click this link by September 19th to vote for The Valerie Fund through the Chase Community Giving Program on Facebook. Getting your friends to do the same gives us bonus votes!
Thanks for everything you do... because it’s all about the kids!
A Letter From Our Executive Director
Responding to the needs of pediatric patients and their families that take advantage of the close to home careprovided at the seven centers we support has always beenthe hallmark of The Valerie Fund. That’s why nothing makes us prouder than the ability to cover all the costs for a much needed second social worker at our Newark Beth Israel Valerie Fund Center.
Another milestone in 2011 was the expansion of our Valerie Fund Scholarship program through the support of the Iervolino-Cade families. For the first time ever in 2011, we were able to award scholarships of almost $30,000 for the college education of over two dozen educationally curious students treated at our centers. This is a wonderful additional benefit our donors have allowed us to provide to aspiring young superstars like Alex.
Call me at 973-761-0422, I’d love to tell you more about what we can accomplish together because around here it will always be…..
All about the kids!
The first quarter of 2011 swept in with some wonderful news for The Valerie Fund families. Through a very generous grant from The Healthcare Foundation of New Jersey we were able to guarantee the continuation of the Integrative Medicine Program at our Valerie Fund Center at Morristown Memorial Hospital. This program provides necessary stress management and pain reduction therapy for both the children and their families. And Wawa continued their decades long support of all The Valerie Fund programs with a major donation from their customer driven fundraising campaign. I want to personally thank both The Healthcare Foundation of New Jersey and Wawa for rallying behind our kids and making these programs possible.
But the next three months should prove to be even more exciting and I hope you can join us for some fun. The Valerie Fund Walk Chair Abby Goldberg and her amazing committee are working feverishly toward our $1 Million Challenge for The Valerie Fund Walk and JAG Physical Therapy 5K Run on June 11 at Verona Park. Abby is determined to make this Walk the best ever and has already signed up dozens of sponsors and over 80 teams for this carnival-like day and we want you to be a part of over 3,000 walkers and runners we expect at the park. Go to www.thevaleriefund.org/walk to register right now!
Next Tuesday night April 12 The Montville Inn in Montville, NJ is holding a Dine & Donate Day for The Valerie Fund. We will receive 30% of all lunch and dinner receipts as well as the proceeds from a silent auction. So why don’t you join us for some great food and drink next Tuesday?
Then on Friday night May 13 a group of our young professional supporters in NYC are holding a fundraising “happening” at The Foundry in Long Island City in support of our children. If you’re into golf, on Monday May 23 the HFTP Group is holding their annual golf outing at Fiddler’s Elbow Country Club in Bedminster, NJ in support of The Valerie Fund
Yet these are just a handful of the events being held for our kids. Take a look at our events pages http://www.thevaleriefund.org/calendar/events.php and as the weather warms up pick a fundraiser and join us in support of 4,000+ kids who want to say THANKS for all you do to make seven Valerie Fund Centers and Camp Happy Times a reality for them every year!
Marsha Atkind, Executive Director of the Healthcare Foundation of New Jersey; four-year-old TVF patient Leah with her friend Carole Reifsnyder, coordinator of the Integrative Medicine Program at Morristown Memorial Hospital; and Natalie Peck, Healthcare Foundation of New Jersey trustee
As I look back on 2010 it was another uplifting year for the children and families treated at our seven Valerie Fund Children’s Centers. Last year over 4,000 children fighting cancer and blood disorders were again able to benefit from the close to home, world class psychosocial services made possible by The Valerie Fund and your generosity!
Beyond over $1 million that The Valerie Fund annually provides to support social workers, child life specialists and other psychosocial staff at our centers, we were able to expand a much needed Integrative Health Program that reduces pain and stress in children and their families. We continued underwriting 100% of the cost of a van to transport children to their treatments at the St. Barnabas and Newark Beth Israel Centers. We also hosted two sickle cell blood drives, which drew individuals from throughout the state to donate blood for children fighting sickle cell disease. Through the support of the Tom Coughlin Jay Fund Foundation and Union County Love Hope Strength we were able to expand 2 emergency funds for families with children being treated at our centers. And we had yet another wonderful year of Flashes of Hope, showing the children how beautiful they are even when they are undergoing treatment.
Outside the centers, Camp Happy Times celebrated its 28 th consecutive summer by taking over 250 children and counselors to an amazing one week summer camp miracle in the Poconos. Finally, let’s not forget our Valerie Fund holiday parties where thousands of children at all the centers celebrated the holidays and shared their love with their caregivers all because of The Valerie Fund and you!
We are all very proud that Charity Navigator again gave The Valerie Fund their top 4 star rating. Take a minute to visit our website at www.thevaleriefund.org to see more of what you are helping to make possible. And join us at one of our upcoming events, because as always... It's all about the kids!
It’s hard to believe it's already the fourth quarter of 2010 with all we have coming up at The Valerie Fund. We just completed our third successful Sickle Cell Awareness Blood Drive. Our last Sickle Cell Blood Drive of the year is in 2 weeks, Saturday October 23 at UMDNJ in Newark. If you are of African descent, a child with sickle cell disease needs YOU to donate blood. To learn more, simply click here www.thevaleriefund.org
Our 19th annual Thanksgiving Ball is right around the corner on November 19th. Then on December 2, our friend Justin Gimelstob is hosting another charity tennis event that will benefit The Valerie Fund. It’s the only time you’ll be able to see Andy Roddick and the Bryan Brothers in a small intimate setting right here in NJ while benefiting our kids! Finally in December we get to celebrate with the kids and their families at all of our Valerie Fund Center parties!
Our seven Valerie Fund Children’s Centers have already hosted over 16,000 patient visits this year. The psycho-social staff including social workers, child life specialists and psychologists exists because of your care and generosity. Please remember to support The Valerie Fund again this year with your donation or join us at one of the upcoming events listed on our website.
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