Taking Care: Body, Mind, and Spirit – A Conference for Caregivers

Posted on July 19, 2016

Are you a caregiver for a senior family member?

Please join Oaks Integrated Care for a conference in Mercer County presented by our Senior Well-Being Program. Family caregivers of seniors with long-term illnesses are invited to attend this powerful half-day conference to gain insight into the challenges and issues associated with caregiving.

Caring for CaregiverThursday, July 28, 9:30 am – 1:00 pm
Robert Wood Johnson Fitness and Wellness Center
3100 Quakerbridge Road, Mercerville, NJ

The program begins at 9:30 with registration, coffee and refreshments. Topics include Community Resources presented by the Mercer County Office on Aging, Food and Mood presented by Michelle Summerson, RD and Shirley Roberts, MA, LPC and Moving, Grooving & Soothing Yourself  presented by Joan Brame, PhD. The day concludes at 12:45 with evaluations and a door prize.

To register for this informative workshop, call RWJ Health Connection at 609-584-5900 or register online at rwjhamilton.org/education.

If you would like more information, please call the Oaks Caregiver Specialist at 609-396-6788 x213.

We hope to see you there!

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Welcome Preferred Behavioral Health Group

Posted on July 5, 2016

Wayne Gretzky once said, “Skate to where the puck will be, not where it is now or was a second ago.” I couldn’t agree with this strategy more, which is why I’m thrilled to announce that Oaks Integrated Care and Preferred Behavioral Health Group plan to affiliate on October 1, 2016. The new partnership will enhance our mission, expand services into Monmouth and Ocean Counties and strengthen our ability to succeed in the changing healthcare environment.

The affiliation unifies two clinically strong, financially healthy organizations with a shared mission of improving the quality of life for individuals and families living with a mental illness, addiction or developmental disability. Together we will strengthen service delivery, advance best practices and maximize efficiencies. Most importantly, the affiliation brings the opportunity for growth, giving more people access to compassionate, quality care.

I firmly believe that in today’s changing healthcare environment, our future success relies on strategic planning and the strength of state-wide partnerships. Like many other providers across New Jersey, we cannot predict what lies ahead. However, we can create positive change by considering creative, innovative approaches. We must “skate to where the puck will be” to ensure we can continue to help those who desperately need our services.bobandpat

As an affiliate, Preferred Behavioral Health Group will keep their name and remain an independent company under the leadership of CEO, Mary Pat Angelini, while becoming a member of the Oaks family of services. The affiliation is dependent on the final approval from the State of New Jersey and the organizations’ Boards of Trustees.

With a combined budget of 124 million dollars, nearly 200 programs serving 25,000 people and over 2,200 employees, Oaks Integrated Care will emerge as one of New Jersey’s most comprehensive human service providers. As always, I sincerely appreciate the support of our Board of Trustees, employees, donors, volunteers and partners throughout this process. Thank you for your willingness to embrace this positive change for our organization and the community at large.

Cheers to the next step in our journey,

Bob Pekar
Chief Executive Officer

P.S. To learn more about Preferred Behavioral Health Group, please visit www.preferredbehavioral.org.

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Become a #HungerHero This Summer

Posted on June 16, 2016

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For many families in our area, summer vacation means a struggle to feed their children healthy, filling meals. An estimated 39,000 children in South Jersey are at risk of malnutrition during the summer months when schools’ federal breakfast and lunch programs are not available. For families living below the poverty level, school means more than just education; it also means a dependable source of food.

How YOU can make a difference!

1. Drop off donations. Monday-Friday, 9am to 5pm, at the following locations:
Oaks Integrated Care Food Pantry
770 Woodlane Road, Suite 16
Mt. Holly, NJ 08060

Oaks Integrated Care Food Pantry
128 Cross Keys Road
Berlin, NJ 08009

2. Hold a drive. Involve your friends, family or co-workers! You can make a difference by hosting a food drive to help replenish our supplies.

3. Make a monetary donation. Mail to Oaks Integrated Care, Attn: Development Office, 770 Woodlane Road, Mt. Holly, NJ 08060 or donate online:
DonateOnlineToday (1)

 


Stock the Oaks Integrated Care Food Pantries with Kid Friendly Items:

-Peanut Butter & Jelly
-Tuna
-Macaroni & Cheese
-Applesauce
-Canned Pasta
-Fruit Snacks
-Microwave Meals
-Fruit Juice (100%)
-Powdered/Canned Milk
-Breakfast Bars
-Hot/Cold Cereal
-Raisins
-Pop Tarts

Looking for more ways to get involved? Visit our Hunger Doesn’t Take A Vacation page!

Questions? Please call the Development Office at 609-267-5928.

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Finding a Place To Call Home: Homelessness in our Communities

Posted on June 9, 2016

Imagine trying to recover from a serious mental illness and not knowing where you will be sleeping at night. Or imagine the difficulty of managing a chronic illness such as diabetes or heart disease without a stable space to come home to. Unfortunately, situations like these are common in our communities.

The words “affordable” and “housing” often do not fit together in New Jersey, especially for those with special needs. In January 2015, 10,211 homeless adults and children were counted across the state of New Jersey during a “point in time” count which gives a snapshot of the homeless population. Forty two percent reported some type of disability, with more reporting mental health issues than any other type of disability.

Research shows that without a permanent, stable home to live in dignity, it is nearly impossible for individuals to move toward wellness and recovery. A home also provides opportunities for wraparound services, such as counseling and case management services which give people the chance to rebuild their lives. Inadequate housing can lead not just to homelessness, but also lengthy hospitalizations, frequent visits to psychiatric screening centers and ERs, and involvement in the criminal justice system.

We understand the critical need to provide housing that is not only safe, permanent and affordable but also accessible to community resources and transportation. Oaks Integrated Care currently houses 450 people in 114 supportive housing residences and 56 group homes in 46 communities throughout New Jersey. In addition, our PATH (Projects for Assistance in Transitioning from Homelessness) program in Camden and Mercer Counties places adults with a serious mental illness who are homeless or at risk of homelessness in appropriate housing and links them to formal mental health treatment.

As part of a collaborative effort to reduce homelessness in Camden County, Oaks recently partnered with the Camden Coalition of Healthcare Providers, a citywide coalition of hospitals, primary care providers, and  community representatives that work together to deliver better healthcare to our most vulnerable citizens. The Coalition received 50 vouchers from the NJ Department of Community Affairs to implement a Housing First project to support homeless individuals with two or more chronic health conditions. The Housing First model provides an integrated solution to care by stabilizing the living situation first which allows individuals to focus on other priorities, such as their emotional and physical health. This innovative, evidence based approach has been highly effective in communities across the country.

Everyone deserves a decent affordable home to live a healthy life and enjoy a future. Housing and treatment can mean the difference between a person lost and a full meaningful productive life. By working together as a community, it’s possible to make permanent supportive housing accessible and give everyone the opportunity to attain the simple dream of “having a place to call home.”

– Pam

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Share the Excitement

Posted on June 3, 2016

Thank you to Easter Seals NJ for sharing this amazing video of Tina who is beyond excited to be a new greeter at Walmart. You can truly hear the pure joy in her voice as she tells her happy story. Tina is in a program at Easter Seals NJ and also receives housing from Oaks Integrated Care. She has clearly come a long way and worked hard to gain the skills necessary to gain employment. We couldn’t be more proud!

Please watch and share the excitement. Tina hopes her story can help others and  you can help make that possible!

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May is Mental Health Month!

Posted on May 20, 2016

May is Mental Health Month and Mental Health America has chosen Life with a Mental Illness as this year’s theme. Life with a Mental Illness stresses the importance of speaking up about mental health.

Do You Know What Mental Illness Feels Like?

We often hear the clinical terms used by doctors and other professionals to identify the symptoms of mental illnesses…but if someone hasn’t gone through it, would they know how to recognize it?

So often, clinical terms don’t do justice to what life with a mental illness feels like. We know that two people with the same diagnosis can experience the same symptom and describe it in very different ways. Understanding the signs of a mental illness and identifying how it can feel can be confusing — and sometimes can contribute to ongoing silence or hesitation to get help.

This May, Oaks Integrated Care is raising awareness of the importance of speaking up about mental health, and asking individuals to share what life with a mental illness feels like by tagging social media posts with #mentalillnessfeelslike. You can share your words, pictures or videos on our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/OaksIntCare.

MHM 2016 Social Media Images-Call to Action 300x250px

Posting with our hashtag is a way to speak up to share your point of view with people who may be struggling to explain what they are going through—and to help others figure out if they too are showing signs of a mental illness. Life with a Mental Illness is meant to help remove the shame and stigma of speaking out, so that more people can be comfortable coming out of the shadows and seeking the help they need.

Your words, pictures or videos can help break down the discrimination and stigma surrounding mental illnesses, and show others that they are not alone. Thank you for being a positive voice for change.

– Rachael

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Over 300 Dresses Collected for Project Dress Up

Posted on May 19, 2016

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For three years, you have helped Oaks Integrated Care #MakePromPossible for hundreds of local teens. Our generous donors and volunteers helped us collect and hand out over 300 prom dresses to teens in need so they can attend their prom in style!

We could tell you how much of an impact this event had, but instead, we’d like to share the following story with you from one of our volunteers at the shop.

The first day the shop opened, a mom and daughter came to the door with a few beautiful dresses to donate. The mom explained that the one blue ball gown was the dress her daughter picked out from the shop last year. After her prom, she had it dry cleaned and wanted to bring it back this year for someone else to love – the perfect way to pay it forward!

While they were at the shop, another girl searching for a dress fell in love with the newly donated blue ball gown. The two families connected and shared their stories. The girls were thankful they found each other and it was an amazing moment for everyone involved.

Thank you again for making experiences like this possible. Check out the photos below of the dress shop and our incredible donors and volunteers.

Boyd Prom DressThank you Thomas Boyd Communications!Prom Dress Collection CCThank you Camden County Employee Connections!Dresses

Still More Dresses

PDU3  PDU2

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A special thank you to our community partners:

Whitesell
The Barclay Group
Camden County Employee Connections
Design Du Jour, Event Planning Co.
Dow Jones, Princeton
Dry Clean City, Voorhees
Jay West, Haddonfield
J & J Snack Foods Corp.
Surety Title Company, Marlton
The Perfecting Church, Sewell
Things I Like, Back on the Rack, Englishtown

– Rachael

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2016 Haddonfield Progressive Dinner Photos

Posted on May 5, 2016

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Thank you to all the hosts, chefs, guests and local businesses that made this event so successful! Visit our Flickr page to see all the fantastic photos from the Haddonfield Progressive Dinner.

 

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Over 18,000 Diapers Collected!

Posted on May 4, 2016

15,000 diapers - diaper derby
We set a goal to collect 15,000 diapers for the most vulnerable members of our community – babies! However, with the help of our generous community partners we exceeded our goal of 15,000 and collected 18,531 diapers! We just couldn’t have done it without your help – THANK YOU!

Here are just a few of our favorite photos from the drive.

Girl Scout DD - diaper derby oaks integrated diaper derby oaks integrated care - car unloading diapers Oaks Integrated Care Diaper Derby

 

Do you have pictures from your Diaper Drive? Post them on our Facebook Wall or tweet the photos to @oaksintcare.

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Donor Spotlight: foodwerx

Posted on April 13, 2016

foodwerx
When it comes to food, there’s no limit to Owner Nick Wall’s imagination. Think bacon spoons topped with a special ‘goo’- pretzels, caramel and salted peanuts for a punchy, savory and sweet delight. Or hanging charcuterie- little spears of beef suspended from a rack, enticing guests to have a taste.

Nick has a passion for food but he also has a passion for helping his community. Since the start of our Progressive Dinner fundraisers in 2004, foodwerx has participated as the cocktails and hors d’oeuvres chef in more than 10 dinners throughout Moorestown and Haddonfield. They go above and beyond with personalized menus served up with an added ‘wow’ factor that is always a delight to dinner guests. Throughout the year foodwerx has also donated lunches for Crisis Intervention Team trainings and our foster care program’s “School of Rock” performances.

Thank you foodwerx team for your commitment to our organization and the community!

– Rachael

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