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Bright Side In The Courts

NJ Judiciary Drug Court Participant Has Urgent Reason to Interrupt Session

A week before Christmas, Desmond Causey-Jones reported virtually for his drug court session as usual, but behind the scene an urgent event was about to unfold.

Just 10 minutes into the session, Causey-Jones interrupted Superior Court Judge Jeffrey J. Waldman with an important message, telling the judge he needed to sign off.

“I apologize for interrupting, but our daughter’s coming out,” Causey-Jones recalled informing Judge Waldman.

Causey-Jones had delivered his apology from the restroom of his girlfriend’s hospital room at Shore Medical Center in Somers Point.

Thirty-five minutes later, Jade Aaliyah Ruth Jones was born.

While nearly 800 babies have been born to drug court participants since the program’s inception in 1996, little Jade’s arrival during her father’s session left a big impression.

Judge Waldman, the recovery court judge in the Atlantic/Cape May Vicinage, said he was struck by Causey-Jones’ dedication.

“This was meaningful on a number of levels. First, this participant has taken his recovery so seriously that when offered a pass from his court session, he decided to participate, nonetheless.

On a more personal level, we as a recovery court team are flattered that of anyone he could have possibly chosen to bring into the delivery area with him, he chose us.

It was moving beyond belief to all of us who were there,” Judge Waldman said.

Only Causey-Jones’ probation officer knew that his girlfriend, Niciaya Jones, had been in labor for two days by the time his bi-weekly session came around on Dec. 17.

The probation officer had given him permission to skip that session.

“I knew regardless I was going to go on there, just to show my face. Especially during the pandemic, you gotta show your face on there so they know you’re doing alright. I enjoy going on there. You get to talk a lot and get stuff off your chest,” Causey-Jones said.

Causey-Jones first got into trouble with the law as a teen. After his father was killed 13 years ago, Causey-Jones started selling drugs and became addicted to alcohol. He was arrested for possessing and distributing heroin.

Now a father of three, Causey-Jones said it was his middle child – his 5-year-old son – who inspired him to work hard at his recovery. He said he knew he would have ended up in prison for a long time if it hadn’t been for drug court.

“My son changed me because when my father got murdered, I was basically roaming the streets by myself, no guidance, nothing like that. And I don’t want my son growing up without a father,” Causey-Jones said.

Now sober for nearly three years, he said drug court taught him, among other things, to consider the consequences of his decisions. He wants his legacy to his children to be knowledge, not a street name or a criminal record.

“Drug court’s always been on my side,” Causey-Jones said. “They never gave up on me and I appreciate drug court for that.”

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Bright Side Feature Stories

Sam and Luke Goldstein Honored With Outstanding Youth in Philanthropy Award


Margate, NJ (December 15, 2020) – Jewish Family Service of Atlantic & Cape May Counties (JFS) is pleased to share that brothers Sam and Luke Goldstein of Linwood, New Jersey, were recognized with the Outstanding Youth in Philanthropy Award by the Association of Fundraising Professionals.

JFS nominated the brothers for the prestigious award as part of National Philanthropy Day.

The honor, which was announced by the AFP New Jersey Southern Chapter, selected Sam, 13, and Luke, 10, for their immense contributions to organizations throughout the community.

The brothers, along with their parents, Jason and Jessica, are active participants in their community raising money and collecting goods for non-profit agencies including Jewish Family Service.

With their focus on providing for the JFS Food Pantry, Sam and Luke understand the significance of collecting non-perishable food and basic essentials.

Jason and Jessica Goldstein of Linwood congratulate their sons, Sam and Luke, for being honored with the Outstanding Youth in Philanthropy Award by the Association of Fundraising Professionals New Jersey Southern Chapter. Jewish Family Service of Atlantic & Cape May Counties nominated the brothers for their commitment to helping the non-profit agency. (Photograph provided by Jewish Family Service of Atlantic & Cape May Counties)

From helping at food drives to stocking the pantry to coat collections for the homeless, they are a staple at JFS.

When the COVID-19 pandemic reached our area, the brothers did not miss a beat in helping community members in need.

While adhering to social distancing guidelines, Sam and Luke knocked on neighbors’ doors, visited local businesses and embraced family and friends in order to either get donated products or financial support.

Throughout their volunteerism, Sam and Luke collected and donated in excess of 300 bags of food to JFS to support everyday needs as well as Thanksgiving, High Holidays and more.

In addition, Sam and Luke also put together a clothing drive, as part of JFS’ Project Homeless Connect, to help those in need during the frigid winters. By collecting coats, hats, scarves, gloves, blankets and more, they supplied enough merchandise for more than 50 individuals.

“At JFS, we are thankful for Sam and Luke’s stellar work and applaud them for being presented with this esteemed award,” said Andrea Steinberg, JFS’ Chief Executive Officer. “It has been amazing to experience these brothers contributions to the community as they have grown,” she added.

The brothers also support the following organizations and businesses – Our Children Making Change, Seashore Gardens Living Center, and the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Greater Delaware Valley.

“Recognizing the philanthropic endeavors of South Jersey’s youth is by far the best part of the event. JFS has cultivated two wonderful young stewards of making change in our community in giving Sam and Luke the foundation to express and act upon their philanthropic goals and wishes. I am excited to see how their journey will continue,” said Julie Fink, CFRE, President Elect and NPD Event Co-Chair, AFP, NJ Southern Chapter.

To send a tribute congratulating the brothers on this monumental achievement, contact JFS’ Communications & Donor Relations Specialist Susan Kotzen at skotzen@jfsatlantic.org.

About Jewish Family Service

Jewish Family Service of Atlantic & Cape May Counties (JFS) encourages strong families, thriving children, healthy adults, energized seniors and vital communities.

With dozens of program areas, JFS specializes in counseling, mental health services, homeless programs, vocational services, adult and older adult services and also hosts an on-site food pantry.

The agency impacts 8,000 lives throughout Atlantic and Cape May Counties each year.

JFS’ mission is to motivate and empower people to realize their potential and enhance their quality of life.

In keeping with Jewish values and the spirit of tikkun olam (healing the world), JFS provides services with integrity, compassion, respect and professionalism regardless of their religion, race, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, age or background.

For more information or to keep up-to-date with JFS events and programs, visit www.jfsatlantic.org or follow on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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Bright Side Feature Stories

OceanFirst Foundation Continues to Support Jewish Family Service Awards $20,000 Grant For Village By the Shore Program


Margate, NJ (December 14, 2020) – OceanFirst Foundation presented Jewish Family Service of Atlantic & Cape May Counties (JFS) with a $20,000 grant to support Village by the Shore, a membership
program which provides a multitude of concierge, professional and volunteer services and socialization for residents over the age of 50.

“We are grateful to continue our partnership with the OceanFirst Foundation and appreciate their generous support to assure JFS’ Village by the Shore is able to continue to meet the demands associated with this program. Since mid-March, the Village has experienced a tremendous influx of requests, especially for our Shop at Home and Kosher Meals on Wheels programs,” said Andrea Steinberg, JFS Chief Executive Officer.

With more than 50 Shop at Home members receiving door-to-door grocery delivery and a 67% increase in Kosher Meals on Wheels delivery each week, the Village staff and volunteers are assuring our community’s senior residents are well-tended to during this unprecedented time.

In addition, the Village continues to offer a multitude of virtual programs and events including Memoir Writing, DIY Gardening, Coffee Klatch and Trivia Game Day as well as weekly phone check-ins and more.

“Now more than ever, we see the importance of staying in touch with our neighbors in need who may be experiencing isolation. Thanks to programs like Jewish Family Service Village by the Shore, we know that adults will continue to receive services and socialization to enhance their quality of life and maintain an independent lifestyle,” Katherine Durante, Executive Director, OceanFirst Foundation.

Since its founding in 1902, OceanFirst Bank has built a solid reputation and legacy as a good neighbor and responsible corporate citizen.

The Bank’s strong commitment to helping families, organizations, schools and communities has spanned several generations reaching new heights in 1996 with the creation of OceanFirst Foundation.

For more information on JFS’ Village by the Shore program, contact Membership Director Tina Serota at 609.822.1109 or tserota@jfsatlantic.org or visit jfsvillagebytheshore.org.

About Jewish Family Service

Jewish Family Service of Atlantic & Cape May Counties (JFS) encourages strong families, thriving children, healthy adults, energized seniors and vital communities.

With dozens of program areas, JFS specializes in counseling, mental health services, homeless programs, vocational services, adult and older adult services and also hosts an on-site food pantry.

The agency impacts 8,000 lives throughout Atlantic and Cape May Counties each year.

JFS’ mission is to motivate and empower people to realize their potential and enhance their quality of life.

In keeping with Jewish values and the spirit of tikkun olam (healing the world), JFS provides services with integrity, compassion, respect and professionalism regardless of their religion, race, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, age or background.

For more information or to keep up-to-date with JFS events and programs, visit www.jfsatlantic.org or follow on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

About OceanFirst Foundation

OceanFirst Foundation empowers organizations to think bigger, solve more problems, and make life betting in the neighborhoods served by OceanFirst Bank.

OceanFirst Foundation’s priorities include Health & Wellness, Housing, Improving the Quality of Life, Youth Development and Education.

Since 1996, OceanFirst Foundation has awarded more than 8,000 grants totaling more than $42 million to over 900+ local charities and schools.

Learn more at oceanfirstfdn.org.

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Bright Side Feature Stories

Jefferson Health – New Jersey Chief Nursing Officer Named ‘Woman of Achievement’ by Garden State Council of Boy Scouts

VOORHEES, NJ, December 10, 2020 — The Garden State Council of the Boy Scouts of America has recognized Jefferson Health – New Jersey’s Senior VP & Chief Nursing Officer, Helene Burns, DNP, RN, NEA-BC, as the 2020 Woman of Achievement for Camden County.

Dr. Burns was one of seven women honored at the Women of Achievement event, held virtually this year on December 10.

Now in its 9th year, the annual event recognizes outstanding women leaders in the South Jersey counties of Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Gloucester and Salem, for their commitment to the communities they serve, and for exemplifying the ideals of the Scout oath and law.

An innovative and inspiring nurse leader, Dr. Burns led Jefferson Health – New Jersey to receive its first Magnet® designation in August 2018, considered the gold standard for nursing excellence. Dr. Burns has overall responsibility for patient care services and nursing operations at Jefferson in New Jersey, with oversight of its more than 1,400 RNs and Department of Nursing staff.

A resident of Berlin, NJ, Dr. Burns is actively involved in community outreach, with the American Heart Association’s “Go Red for Women” event a key activity each year.

She was nominated for the “Women of Achievement” recognition by fellow Jefferson New Jersey nurses, Gwyn Parris-Atwell and Barbara McCormick, themselves both former recipients of the award.

“I’m honored to be among the elite group selected as ‘Women of Achievement’ in South Jersey,” Dr. Burns said. “Over the past several years, dozens of women have been honored by the Boy Scouts
through this recognition, and I’m proud to be among them now.”

About Jefferson Health

Jefferson Health, home of Sidney Kimmel Medical College, is reimagining health care in the greater Philadelphia region and southern New Jersey.

Jefferson’s dedicated team of doctors, nurses, health professionals, and staff provides a range of primary to highly-specialized care through 14 hospitals (seven are Magnet®-designated by the ANCC for nursing excellence), more than 40 outpatient and urgent care locations, the NCI-designated Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center, Magee Rehabilitation and the JeffConnect® telemedicine program.

For 2020-2021, Thomas Jefferson University Hospitals is ranked among the nation’s best hospitals in nine specialities by U.S. News & World Report.

Jefferson Health’s mission is to improve the lives of patients in the communities it is privileged to serve through safe, effective, equitable, compassionate care.

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Bright Side Education

Shawnee High School Teacher of the Year & Educational Services Professional of the Year


Medford, NJ – Shawnee High School proudly congratulates our Teacher of the Year, Renée Toliver, of the World Languages Department, and Educational Services Professional of the Year, Lauren Szemere of the Child Study Team.

Renée Toliver, in her eighteenth year as a Spanish Teacher at Shawnee, has been the head coach of the field hockey team for the past fifteen years and co-advises the Class of 2022.

She also serves on the “VOICES” committee at Shawnee (Various Opportunities for Instructional Cooperative Experiences and Support), where she leads “Collegiality Café’s”, which are opportunities for staff members to run short professional development sessions for other staff members.

She also earned her Master’s Degree in Spanish Language & Culture from the University of Salamanca in Spain.

Lauren Szemere has sixteen years of experience in education, including the last six in her current role as Learning Disabilities Teaching Consultant at both Cherokee and Shawnee.

Lauren works to support teachers, students, and families in academic, social, and emotional learning and currently serves on the Intervention and Referral Services team.

Photo of Shawnee Educational Services Professional of the Year Lauren Szemere credit: Christian Hochenberger

About LRHSD

The Lenape Regional High School District’s four high schools – Lenape, Shawnee, Cherokee, and Seneca – as well as the Sequoia Alternative Program, educate approximately 6,800 students from eight communities in Burlington County, NJ.

The communities served include Evesham, Medford, Medford Lakes, Mount Laurel, Shamong, Southampton, Tabernacle, and Woodland.

The Lenape Regional District is among the highest-achieving districts
in the state, with an average graduation rate of 96% and an average combined SAT score of 1144.

A leader in progressive education, the LRHSD’s mission is to develop physically and emotionally healthy students who excel in an ever-changing world.