Posted on September 1, 2015
THANK YOU to everyone who supported Oaks Integrated Care Operation Fill-A-Backpack drive! With all of the community support, we handed out over 900 backpacks to children in need. YOU gave a child the chance to start the school year with the tools and confidence needed to succeed!
Here are a few photos from this year’s drive:
If you have pictures of your own backpack drive, post them on our Facebook wall!
Posted on August 11, 2015
Touch A Truck is pulling into the the Moorestown Mall Parking Lot! Mark your calendars for September 26, 2015 so you don’t miss a minute of the fun!
Posted on August 6, 2015
Today on the blog, we feature an OP-ED our CEO, Bob Pekar, wrote. It was recently featured in The Burlington County Times.
Imagine trying to recover from a serious mental illness and not being sure where you were going to be able to sleep at night. Or imagine leaving an abusive relationship but not knowing whether you would have a stable home to fall back on where you could rebuild your life.
Situations like these are all too common in New Jersey. Even as new research has shown that good housing is the key to getting families confronting mental illness and other disabilities on their feet, too many New Jersey families wait for years on waiting lists to access safe and affordable housing opportunities. At Oaks Integrated Care, we always have families waiting in line for a housing opportunity.
Statewide, of the 120,000 New Jersey residents living with disabilities on the Social Security rolls receiving less than $800 a month, only 41,000 receive federal or state housing assistance. The rest struggle with substandard housing, living at home with aging parents or are at risk for homelessness.
But these families have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to get the services they need to thrive. In a March ruling, the New Jersey Supreme Court reaffirmed our state constitution’s commitment to fair housing options for our families.
Most attention on our housing policies, known as the Mount Laurel doctrine, focuses on the benefits they provide to working families and senior citizens. But because the needs of people with disabilities and those who suffer from mental illness and domestic violence are so great, our courts recognize that towns have an obligation to provide housing services to them as well.
The high court’s ruling means that, over the next several months, hundreds of towns across New Jersey will submit housing plans to the courts for judicial review. Towns will have to prove they are taking appropriate steps to ensure they are doing enough to provide New Jersey residents with their fair share of housing opportunities.
Thanks to 16 years of litigation and bitter struggles over our state’s housing policies, it is understandable that towns are approaching this new process with caution. We invite them to view the next few months as an opportunity to make good on a legal and moral obligation to some of New Jersey’s neediest families.
As a full-service social service provider with nearly 500 clients in supportive housing environments, we know firsthand the benefits a stable home can bring. A home provides a stable place for people battling devastating mental illnesses to call their own and recover. It also provides opportunities for wraparound services, like counseling and access to social workers, which give people the chance to rebuild their lives.
Oaks Integrated Care offers services ranging from food pantries to case management options. But providing quality housing opportunities is the backbone of what we do – because without a home, these other services aren’t nearly as effective.
Housing isn’t just a moral and legal obligation New Jersey municipalities must face. It also makes good financial sense. Supportive housing options save taxpayers money by preventing extended, expensive hospital stays and even homelessness.
I call on towns to work cooperatively with developers and nonprofit and advocacy communities to craft local solutions to this pressing problem that work for everyone. As a manager of group homes, permanent supportive housing options and emergency transitional homes, we have deep experience in working with towns across Camden, Burlington and Mercer counties in meeting their housing obligations.
Many other organizations with similar expertise are waiting to lend a hand and leverage state, federal and local housing dollars to meet the growing need for these services. The need for this type of housing is so pressing that the courts even allow municipalities to earn bonuses or credits toward their obligations for building certain types of affordable housing units.
As towns across South Jersey prepare their housing plans over the next few months, we call on them to do all they can to help their fellow residents in need. These aren’t just numbers – they’re our brothers, our sisters, our children and our friends. And they deserve our help.
Bob Pekar is the CEO of Oaks Integrated Care (formerly Twin Oaks Community Services) in Mount Holly, a member of the Supportive Housing Association of New Jersey
Posted on August 1, 2015
When children return to school without even the most basic school supplies necessary for class, it can have a devastating impact on their education. Many parents of children and teens in Oaks Integrated Care programs cannot afford new backpacks and essential supplies for the upcoming school year.
You can show a child that you believe in his or her ability to succeed by donating a new backpack stuffed with new school supplies. Your donation will give a child the confidence needed to start the school year off on the path to success!
For a complete listing of supplies needed and drop off locations, visit our Operation Fill-A-Backpack page!
Posted on July 1, 2015
Exciting News! TODAY Twin Oaks merged with Greater Trenton Behavioral HealthCare and our name changed to Oaks Integrated Care!
The new partnership brings together two clinically strong, financially healthy organizations with a shared mission focused on improving the quality of life for individuals and families. Most importantly, the merger brings the promise of growth, giving more people access to quality, effective behavioral health services. Integrating operations will expand reach, spread best practices, strengthen effectiveness and ensure maximum efficiency.
The name Oaks Integrated Care reflects the qualities of the mighty oak, which has deep roots in the community, many branches and continues to grow and reach the highest heights. By focusing on integrated care, the organization can begin to treat the whole person to achieve both mental and physical wellness.
With 135 programs serving 16,000 consumers, over 1,850 employees and a budget of 98 million dollars, Oaks Integrated Care will emerge as one of New Jersey’s most comprehensive and forward-looking human service providers.
Posted on June 16, 2015
Performance Food Group (PFG) is one of the largest food service distributors in the nation. They market and distribute more than 66,000 products both domestically and in 40 foreign countries. Their reach may be global, but they continue to support locally. Since 2011, the PFG distribution center in Westampton regularly donates a variety of food products to the Twin Oaks Mt. Holly Food Pantry. Over the years, PFG has given our pantry over 1,500 cases of food. Our Mt. Holly pantry serves over 400 families a month and these donations help meet the growing demand of hunger in South Jersey.
Thanks for everything you do PFG!
Posted on June 10, 2015
All of us have experienced trauma in some shape or form throughout our lives. This could mean a family member passing away, a relationship ending badly, the loss of a pet or other traumatic experience. Our journeys are filled with little and big bumps in the road. These “bumps” can change the way we take care of ourselves and interact with others.
Every day at Twin Oaks we help children and adults with histories of trauma and acknowledge the role trauma has played in their lives. Trauma can leave one feeling emotionally and physically unsafe, overwhelmed with distrust and fearful of rejection. To help move past these feelings, our number one priority is to engage individuals in the treatment process and provide a compassionate support system in a safe, comforting environment.
When a person feels emotionally and physically safe, they are better able to move toward recovery. The National Center on Domestic Violence, Trauma and Mental Health offers several tips that we use at Twin Oaks to enhance safety:
1. Understand emotional safety. Emotional safety means feeling accepted; it is the sense that one is safe from emotional attack or harm. It may be difficult for someone who has experienced trauma to find a day-to-day sense of calm and safety even after receiving care.
2. Provide a soothing place. When we provide a calming space, we are telling consumers we care about how they feel and are interested in what happens to them emotionally as well as physically. A soothing space may be as simple as a private room, comfortable chair or colorful mural on the wall to help restore a feeling of calmness.
3. Help manage feelings. Trauma may affect a person’s ability to find emotional balance. Survivors may experience a flood of feelings and worries that make it difficult to make decisions, follow plans and tend to responsibilities. Our job is to help activate and engage the thinking processes and work to identify achievable goals which can lead to greater safety and control.
By providing a safe environment for our consumers, they can focus on their wellness and recovery without fear. Once engaged, individuals can begin to participate effectively in their own care, reduce isolation and make healthy choices. Engagement with every consumer provides a hopeful path to success.
Thank you for your support in our continued efforts to break the cycle of disengagement and provide the highest quality clinical services to people facing mental illness in our community.
Posted on June 4, 2015
For two years in a row, you have helped Twin Oaks make prom possible for hundreds of local teens. Our generous donors and volunteers helped us collect and hand out over 400 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 letter with you from a family friend of a teen who visited the shop.
I just wanted to thank you for providing such a wonderful opportunity for girls to shop for prom dresses. I was amazed by our experience. From the moment we stepped through the door, we were met with smiles and treated with the utmost respect. I loved how someone came over, introduced herself as the assistant, and then accompanied us on our shopping spree. We found our four dresses and into the dressing room we went. The fourth dress was the perfect one. Then on to shoes, jewelry, bag and shawl. You even wrapped the dress like we bought it at a boutique and we left with a goodie bag of make-up.
I am so grateful to you for providing this opportunity for so many young women who otherwise would not be able to purchase these items. And even more, thank you treating them with such dignity. It was a first class experience.
A Friend of Twin Oaks
Check out some photos from the shop!
A special thanks to…
J&J Snack Foods Corp.
Dow Jones, Princeton, NJ
The Perfecting Church, Sewell, NJ
Williamstown High School
Posted on May 26, 2015
Posted on May 21, 2015
Twin Oaks is extremely proud and excited to announce that Derry Holland has been promoted to President and Karen Tanger to Chief Operating Officer. Derry will be second in command to Chief Executive Officer, Bob Pekar. In this new position, Derry will play a larger role in overall agency responsibilities, oversight, and strategic initiatives while maintaining operational accountability. Karen will significantly expand her reach to oversee a portion of our adult programs and continue to manage all of children’s services.
Both Derry and Karen have been employees with Twin Oaks for over 25 years. Derry joined in 1986 as an intern for the Family Learning Center and Seasons programs. From there she moved
on to supervise several programs for children and adults within the agency and most recently served as Chief Operating Officer of Adult Services. Karen came on board in 1989 and has worked in many areas of children’s services including group homes, crisis, partial care, home-based, schoolbased, foster care and most recently, Chief Operating Officer of Children’s Services.
Bob Pekar, CEO, shares, “As we continue to evolve as an organization, it is essential that we remain forward thinking and challenge ourselves at every level. Karen and Derry’s strong commitment to our agency and their desire to continue championing our mission is always evident. I am thankful to have their support and greatly appreciate their contributions over the years.”
Congratulations Derry and Karen!