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News

SERV to receive SAMHSA grant for community clinic program

SERV Centers of New Jersey, a division of SERV Behavioral Health System, will receive a federal grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to implement a CCBHC program, Partners in Wellness, in Passaic County.

Read more: SERV to receive SAMHSA grant for community clinic program

SERV receives award for excellence in psychiatric rehabilitation

SERV Centers of New Jersey recently received the 2018 Mohammad Shafiq Award from the New Jersey Psychiatric Rehabilitation Association during NJPRA’s 38th Fall Conference.

This prestigious award, recognizing SERV’s excellence in the practice and provision of psychiatric rehabilitation services in New Jersey, was presented to SERV President/CEO Regina Widdows by NJPRA Board President Anthony Lucibello on Nov. 15 at The Pines Manor in Edison.

SERV Centers of New Jersey is a division of SERV Behavioral Health System and under the leadership of Chief Operating Officer Pauline Simms.

The Shafiq Award was presented before hundreds of individuals from mental health agencies within the state of New Jersey. In accepting the award, Ms. Widdows said, “Pauline Simms and I share this award with all of our dedicated team members in SERV’s 11-county region whose unwavering commitment to mental health makes us so proud.”

group awardSERV President/CEO Regina Widdows, center left, and SERV Centers Chief Operating Officer Pauline Simms, center right, hold the Mohammad Shafiq Award. SERV staff and board members were in attendance during the presentation of the NJPRA award.

Award nominations were based on many criteria, including a commitment to evidence-based and best psychiatric rehabilitation practices and services that incorporate the principles of person-centered recovery, such as hope, dignity, and empowerment.

Bikers raise funds during Poker Run

The Young Professionals Group for SERV could not have asked for a more perfect weather day for their inaugural fundraising Poker Run at Cross Country Cycle in Metuchen on Sept. 15.  

There were 40 registered motorcycle riders for the Poker Run, which included a 50-mile ride through Somerset and Middlesex counties, a Poker Run T-shirt, a lunch of hamburgers and hotdogs, and a silent auction.

Read more: Bikers raise funds during Poker Run

And the winner is…

Donna and Mark Nagel

Congratulations to Donna Nagel of Hillsborough, who was the winner of SERV Foundation’s Aloha Raffle on August 15!

Donna won a five-night oceanfront room for two at the luxurious Sheraton Waikiki, Hawaii, along with a $2,000 toward airfare or trip expenses.

Read more: And the winner is…

SERV Aloha Raffle

Waikiki Beach Hotels

You could be saying “Aloha” very soon if you are a winner in SERV Behavioral Health System’s first-ever Aloha Raffle, in which a maximum of only 100 tickets will be sold!

The odds are fantastic for one lucky winner and a guest, who will enjoy a five-night oceanfront room at the luxurious Sheraton Waikiki, Hawaii, along with a $2,000 Visa Gift Card toward airfare or trip expenses!  

Imagine… walking along a sun-kissed beach, sunbathing by the pool under palm trees, enjoying a swim in the aqua-colored ocean, taking surfing lessons, sampling island delicacies, and more!  

waikiki beach sunset

The drawing will take place August 15, 2018 at Cherry Valley Country Club in Skillman. The winner need not be present. Ticket price is $250 each. 

To see photos of the accommodations, learn more details, and to purchase your chance to win this fabulous vacation, click here. Tickets will be mailed to you. 

Proceeds from the raffle will benefit SERV, which serves more than 1,800 individuals in New Jersey who are coping with serious mental illness and/or intellectual and developmental disabilities.

For more information, call (609) 662-3066 or e-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Young Professionals Group holds its first SERV fundraiser

Hats off to SERV’s Young Professionals Group (YPG) for a successful first fundraiser for SERV.

The YPG, a newly formed group of philanthropic-minded individuals from companies in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, held their first official event benefiting SERV, a Beef & Beer on Feb. 3 at the Steam Pub in Southampton, Pa.

Members brought in an amazing crowd of people to the event who were full of energy, excitement and support for SERV’s mission.  In addition, they solicited sponsorships and numerous gift baskets from area businesses and corporations.

Guests who came out to support the YPG enjoyed a buffet of roast beef au jus, penne vodka, beer, wine and an assortment of desserts. They also had the opportunity to bid on auction items such as a boat ride in Barnegat Bay, a hand-crafted stained-glass window, an HP ProBook 450 laptop, and more.

At the end of the day, the YPG hit their fundraising goal of $5,000 for SERV Behavioral Health System. Proceeds from the event will benefit programs for SERV consumers recovering from severe mental illness and/or coping with intellectual developmental disabilities.

Many thanks to Steam Pub for hosting the event, as well as sponsors Rapps Pharmacy in Plainfield and Philadelphia Insurance Companies in Ewing. We also are grateful to the more than 30 area businesses from Mercer County and Bucks County, Pa., that donated gift baskets.

Members of the YPG include: Chairman David Kushner, vice president for investments at Raymond James in Newtown, Pa., Patrick Brogan and Robert Watts, Philadelphia Insurance Companies; Eric Goldman and Kevin Mehta, Mercadien Group; Adam Kofsky, Academy Mortgage; John McDermott, Raymond James; Kendall McPoyle, Rice Cohen Training; Hitesh Patel, Rapps Pharmacy; Rachel Rothman, Berkshire Hathaway; Timothy Smith, Top Quality Services; and Justin Stedman, Equity Payment.

To view photos from the event, visit the SERV Foundation Facebook page here

Help support SERV Foundation on #GivingTuesday

Today is #GivingTuesday, a global day of giving that harnesses the collective power of individuals, communities and organizations to encourage philanthropy.

#GivingTuesday is held annually on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving and the widely recognized shopping events Black Friday and Cyber Monday to kick-off the holiday giving season and inspire people to give back in impactful ways to the charities and causes they support.

Why not show your support for SERV and your confidence in the work we do by making a tax-deductible donation to the SERV Foundation?

A donation in any amount can be applied to procure a number of necessities at a group home, an outing for our consumers to a museum or community event, a day of fun and education at SERV’s annual Wellness & Development Conference, or the Scholarship Fund so that our consumers may fulfill their educational goals.

Please make your check payable to the SERV Foundation and mail to 20 Scotch Road, Ewing, NJ 08628, OR you may donate by clicking here.

SERV joins the #GivingTuesday movement

Help us create a Multi-Sensory Environment

for SERV consumers with intellectual disabilities

 

 SERV Behavioral Health System, Inc., which provides residential and support services to special-needs individuals throughout New Jersey, has joined #GivingTuesday, a global day of giving that harnesses the collective power of individuals, communities and organizations to encourage philanthropy.

 Occurring this year on Nov. 29, #GivingTuesday is held annually on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving and the widely recognized shopping events Black Friday and Cyber Monday to kick-off the holiday giving season and inspire people to give back in impactful ways to the charities and causes they support.

DylanDylan runs his fingers through a bowl of dry rice searching for objects. This item in the Multi-Sensory Room at the SERV’s Progressive Achievement Center promotes tactile stimulation. SERV’s #GivingTuesday cause is to raise $2,000 to purchase multi-sensory equipment for our two Progressive Achievement Centers’ (PAC) rehabilitative day programs in Ewing and Cranford, N.J., for individuals with intellectual disabilities. And, if we raise $2,000, one of our generous donors will match the funds up to $2,000, thereby allowing us to purchase $4,000 worth of items for these two “safe haven” rooms. Our aim is to give our consumers with sensory impairments a place to go to where it is easy on the senses and even a little bit of fun. It is not necessarily a place for learning as much as it is a place to reintegrate or come back to one’s self to de-stress and regain composure.

At PAC, we serve approximately 75 adults primarily diagnosed with intellectual disabilities and Autism Spectrum disorder. Many individuals also demonstrate severe behavioral challenges.  Approximately 25% of PAC participants are on the Autism Spectrum. Another 41% are dually diagnosed with an intellectual disability and mental illness. We currently support two individuals with early onset of Alzheimer’s/dementia in addition to an intellectual disability.

In 2014, PAC, with the assistance of SERV Behavior Specialists, created experimental multi-sensory rooms in each program location (with minimal funds) to study the effects on our consumers. We have found that our consumers enjoy being able to spend time in the room when they have stress, anxiety, aggression or a need to get away from loud sounds. The multi-sensory room is designed to deliver stimuli to various senses -- vision, touch, smell, hearing, taste, balance, and relation to people/objects -- using lighting effects, color, sounds, textiles, music, scents, and more.

The variety of items in the room helps to calm the consumers so they can get back on track and resume their normal routine. We have also noticed reductions in self-injurious behaviors, stress, improvements in staff/consumer interaction, longer periods between behavior episodes, and better overall attendance at program.

Collage 2SERV’s current Multi-Sensory Room, created with minimal funds, allows Progressive Achievement Center consumers to enjoy a range of experiences that stimulates all the senses. Specialized equipment purchased with Giving Tuesday donations will help to enhance therapy, learning and relaxation for individuals with intellectual disabilities and Autism Spectrum Disorder.SERV would like to expand this component of our PAC day program to offer a wider variety of specialized multi-sensory stimuli for our consumers. PAC has many individuals who are tactilely defensive (underdeveloped sense of touch). For the hyposensitive individual, we may use items such as putty or weighted balls to give the person sensory input. Weighted blankets and vests would also be beneficial to promote acceptance of the human touch. Among the additional items we hope to purchase for both venues are video rockers with vibration, solar system planetariums, sensory bubble tower lamps, fiber optic lights, auditory feedback phones, sensory games and a variety of textured materials.

We believe an expanded implementation of our current sensory room can help lead to more independence and self-determination for adults with intellectual challenges. 

Please consider making a gift in any amount to the Multi-Sensory Environment Fund. Remember, your gift will be matched by our donor up to $2,000. TO DONATE, Click here and write “Giving Tuesday” in the Description box.

Please forward this on to your family, friends and colleagues and share on Facebook to help get the word out about  #GivingTuesday at SERV.

Thank you for your support!

Read more at givingtuesday.org

New CEO joins SERV

Regina Widdows, an experienced healthcare management professional in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, has been named the new President/Chief Executive Officer of SERV Behavioral Health System, Inc., a 42-year-old statewide nonprofit organization headquartered in Ewing. Ms. Widdows replaces Gary van Nostrand, who retired in August after 15 years as President/CEO.

In making the announcement, SERV’s Chairman of the Board Richard Anderson said, “Regina joins SERV having built a successful career serving consumers with mental health needs and intellectual/developmental disabilities. With critical executive-level experience, Regina will lead SERV as our company expands its offerings to populations in need.”

“It is an incredible honor to lead and contribute to such a well-respected, innovative organization within the field of behavioral health,” Ms. Widdows said. “I will be committed to maintaining and refocusing our energies on SERV’s core mission, and the performance necessary to accomplish our initiatives. We will build upon our strengths and deep rooted legacy to ensure our sustainability and success, and execute on our collaborative strategy in the ever-evolving landscape of healthcare.”

Ms. Widdows’ most recent position was as Senior Vice President of Program and Clinical Operations at Bancroft, a behavioral health organization with sites in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware. Previously, she held executive positions in hospital systems in Pennsylvania, including Haven Behavioral Hospital of Eastern Pennsylvania and Brandywine Hospital, and was Associate Executive Director of Lenape Valley Foundation in Doylestown, Pa.

A resident of Ivyland, Pa., Ms. Widdows received her master’s degree in clinical psychology from West Chester University, West Chester, Pa.; and a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Temple University, Philadelphia.

On her first day at SERV, Ms. Widdows addressed the staff in the corporate office on Scotch Road and via videoconferencing to offices throughout the state. She said she plans to meet with staff personally in town hall-type settings to hear their ideas as to how SERV may improve and enhance its provision of services. 

“Together, we will accomplish our goals, stay true to the organizational mission, and continue to provide exceptional care,” she said.

SERV Achievement has new Chief Operating Officer

Damaris Piliro, a longtime advocate for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD), recently joined SERV Behavioral Health System as Chief Operating Officer (COO) of SERV Achievement Centers, Inc. In this position, she is responsible for the management of a variety of services provided to individuals with I/DD and youth with behavioral challenges and emotional problems.

Ms. Piliro has more than 20 years of progressive operations and leadership experience, with much of her work focused on working with people of all ages with I/DD.

Prior to joining SERV, Ms. Piliro was COO at Generations Home Care in Delaware where she was in charge of overall program planning, development, administration and evaluation. Previously, she held various director-level roles at Loving Care Agency, NJ Mentor, Bayada Nurses and Beechwood Brain Injury Program.

Ms. Piliro earned her MBA in Health Care Management from the University of Phoenix-Philadelphia campus and her bachelor’s in psychology from Rutgers University, where she was a member of Psi Chi National Honor Society. She is bilingual and speaks fluent Spanish.

In defining her goals for SERV Achievement Centers, Ms. Piliro said she will focus on growth — ensuring that the company continues to develop its core business of providing safe and nurturing homes for individuals with I/DD, as well as building a consistent team among her staff with the “key standard of excellence, integrity and commitment.”

SERV names new Facilities Director

Byron Reid, Facility Manager for SERV Properties and Management, has been named the new Director of Facilities for SERV Behavioral Health System.

Among other duties, the Director of Facilities is responsible for supervising SERV’s Facility Managers in all regions where SERV operates and ensures that all corporate facilities comply with local and state regulations.

Mr. Reid joined SERV Centers of New Jersey in 1997 and worked as a Counselor and Senior Residential Counselor before joining SERV Properties and Management in 2003 as a Facility Manager.

Mr. Reid replaces Facilities Director Mark Dombroski, who is retiring August 12.

Dr. Gochfeld named president of Mercer County Medical Society

SERV’s Medical Director, Dr. Linda Gochfeld, recently was inducted as president of the Mercer County Medical Society, headquartered in Lawrenceville, N.J.

The Mercer County Medical Society is a local component of The Medical Society of New Jersey, whose mission is “to promote the betterment of the public health and the science and the art of medicine, to enlighten public opinion in regard to the problems of medicine, and to safeguard the rights of the practitioners of medicine.” Physician members use their collective strength to have an impact on legislation, regulations, and managed care.

Dr. Gochfeld is a graduate of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York. She has worked for SERV for 17 years, providing psychiatric services for consumers with SERV Centers of New Jersey’s Adapt partial-care day program. She also meets regularly with the clinical staff of each of the five counties where SERV Centers of N.J. operates and consults on complex cases. Her focus is on medication issues, symptoms and diagnosis, the Recovery Model, and behavioral issues. She also keeps abreast of changes in the healthcare system, bringing information to the staff and, likewise, taking their concerns to statewide advocacy groups. She presents a 3-hour unit to newly hired staff on Major Mental Illness, Substance Abuse with Mental Illness, and Psychotropic Medications.

Dr. Gochfeld, who has a small private psychiatric practice in Princeton, is certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology and is a Distinguished Life Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association. Among her many honors, she received in 2013 Platinum Award from the New Jersey Psychiatric Association.

Advertise your business in SERV’s 2017 Art Calendar

The SERV Foundation will again publish its annual fund-raising SERV Art Calendar, featuring original works of art from SERV’s talented consumers throughout New Jersey.

Please consider advertising your business in the 2017 full-color calendar with a silk finish, which will be distributed in November to individuals and corporations in 10 N.J. counties where SERV operates: Burlington, Hudson, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Ocean, Passaic, Somerset and Union.

Funds raised from advertising in the calendar and from donations made by individuals will help support special programs for our consumers recovering from severe mental illness and/or coping with developmental disabilities. These include the SERV Foundation Scholarship Fund for consumers wishing to pursue or continue higher education but have little financial means to do so, and the annual “SERV Wellness & Development Conference,” a health and wellness event for consumers and their family members.

For more information, call Ida Doolan at (609) 662-3066 or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Click here for cost-friendly ad prices and sample sizes.

Volley For SERV raises $45K for special programs

The 26th Annual Volley For SERV Tennis Tournament, held June 15 at Cherry Valley Country Club in Skillman, was a successful benefit for The SERV Foundation, raising a net profit of $45,500. These funds will support The SERV Foundation’s Scholarship Fund and the annual Wellness & Development Conference for SERV’s clients.

The SERV Foundation is the fundraising arm of SERV Behavioral Health System, Inc., which provides residential and support services for adults and youth with mental illness and/or intellectual/developmental disabilities in 10 counties around the state.

JuniorsTop-ranking junior tennis players who performed an exhibition match for guests at Volley For SERV are, from left, Alex Yang, Matthew Michibata, Lex Decker and Christina Rosca. All are high school students from Mercer County. Eighty-four tennis players, predominantly from the Mercer County area, played in Men’s, Women’s and Mixed A & B divisions. Because of the large number of players, the Women’s and Mixed divisions played at Cherry Valley, the Men’s B division played a few miles away at Bedens Brook Club, and the Men’s A division played at Princeton Community Park.

The following are the 2016 Champions and Finalists, who received awards during the reception from VFS Committee Chairperson Ted Golfinopoulos:

Women’s A: Champions Gwen Guidice and Louise Gengler-Thomas; Finalists Kimberly Vine and Kei Imamishi. Women’s B: Champions Michele Kiszely and Dawn Snider; Finalists Ann LoPrinzi and Robin Wolfe. Men’s A: Champions Gino Carolsella and David Przystasz;Gary SERVice AwardGary van Nostrand, left, retiring President/CEO of SERV Behavioral Health System, receives the SERVice Award from Richard Anderson, Chairman of the Board, at Volley For SERV. Finalists Will DiPietro and Andrew Lieu. Men’s B: Champions Rich Anderson and Joe Punia; Finalists Tom Caruso and Hai Nguyen. Mixed A: Champions Ginny Mason and Rob Howland; Finalists Kimberly Vine and Dan Khoo. Mixed B: Champions Sena Hill and Barry Szaferman; Finalists Donna and Mark Nagel.

 Following the finals, four top-ranking junior tennis players performed an exciting exhibition match for guests prior to the evening reception. All of the teens are coached by Glenn Michibata, Princeton Tennis Program’s Director of Elite Training and former ATP Pro and 3-time All American.

The players included: Christina Rosca, a senior at Princeton High School, who has a national ranking of 35 in Girls 18; Kim Players AwardKimberly Vine of Princeton accepts the 6th Annual Lou Natale Jr. Players Award for her longtime participation in and sponsorship of Volley For SERV. Matthew Michibata, a student at West Windsor-Plainsboro H.S. South who is ranked #14 in Boys16 Middle States; Lex Decker, a sophomore at Princeton Day School who is in the top 30 in Boys 16 Middle States; and Alex Yang, a student at West Windsor-Plainsboro H.S. South who is ranked #38 in Boys 16 Middle States.

During Volley For SERV’s evening reception, Gary van Nostrand was honored with the SERVice Award in appreciation for his 15 years as President and CEO of SERV and for his contributions to all of the boards of SERV. Mr. Van Nostrand is retiring in August.

WinnersRachel Ticktin, right, and Fae McKenzie pick up their Super 50/50 Cash Raffle winnings from Keith Hamilton at SERV’s corporate office. Also honored during the reception was Kimberly Vine of Princeton, who received the 6th Annual Lou Natale Jr. Players Award for her longtime participation in and sponsorship of Volley For SERV.

At the evening’s conclusion, the much anticipated drawing for the Super 50/50 Cash Raffle took place. Rachel Ticktin of Barnegat won the 1st prize of $6,660 (40% of total raised). Second-prize winner was Fay McKenzie of Bordentown, who won $1,665 (10%).

SERV Centers staff honored by NJPRA

Five SERV Centers of New Jersey staff members, ranging from Senior Residential Counselor, Residential Counselor, Residential Program Manager and Coordinator, were among 13 individuals who received Recognition Awards on June 16 from the New Jersey Psychiatric Rehabilitation Association.

The awardees, all nominated by their peers, “have met stringent criteria for their exemplary practice of psychiatric rehabilitation service delivery as practitioners and supervisors.” They were honored during a breakfast held at Forsgate Country Club in Monroe.

SERV staff members honored for their achievements were Ameerah Rasheed, Residential Senior Counselor in Hudson County; Gladys Santiago, Residential Senior Counselor in Passaic County; Christy Hudnett, Residential Program Manager in Middlesex; Don Moraud, Residential Senior Counselor in Union; and Kelly Rufe, Coordinator in Mercer County.

All of the honorees now have a chance to be selected by the NJPRA Board Nominating Committee as the 2016 Practitioner and Supervisor of the Year, who will be named at the NJPRA annual conference in November.

Champions and finalists at 26th Volley For SERV

Congratulations to the champions and finalists at the 26th Annual Volley For SERV Tennis Tournament, which took place June 15 at Cherry Valley Country Club, Bedens Brook Club and Princeton Community Park.

Here are the results:

  • Women’s A: Champions Gwen Guidice and Louise Gengler-Thomas; Finalists Kimberly Vine and Kei Imamishi
  • Women’s B: Champions Michele Kiszely and Dawn Snider; Finalists Ann LoPrinzi and Robin Wolfe
  • Men’s A: Champions Gino Carolsella and David Przystasz; Finalists Will DiPietro and Andrew Lieu.
  • Men’s B: Champions Rich Anderson and Joe Punia; Finalists Tom Caruso and Hai Nguyen.
  • Mixed A: Champions Ginny Mason and Rob Howland; Finalists Kimberly Vine and Dan Khoo.
  • Mixed B: Champions Sena Hill and Barry Szaferman; Finalists Donna and Mark Nagel.

BSS Coordinator promoted to new Director’s position

Vanessa Bethea-Miller, a Coordinator of Behavior Support Services (BSS) for SERV Achievement Centers, recently was promoted to the new position of Director of Behavior Support Services.

“Vanessa brings with her a wealth of knowledge and experience in the field and we are excited about her new role,” said Pauline Simms, COO of SERV Centers of New Jersey, in making the announcement.

In this new position, Ms. Bethea-Miller will develop a BSS Department for both SERV Achievement Centers (intellectual/developmental disabilities) and SERV Centers (mental illness). She will oversee all Behavior Support Services that are provided to residents as well as individuals in the community. These include Functional Behavior Assessments and reviewing all behavior plans.

“I am truly thankful for this opportunity and I look forward to utilizing my skills and education to further SERV’s BSS Department,” she said.

Ms. Bethea-Miller has a master’s degree in Applied Psychology-Applied Behavior Analysis from Rider University, a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Thomas Edison State College and an associate’s degree in business administration from Mercer County Community College. She is pursuing a PhD. degree in Applied Behavior Analysis at the Chicago School of Professional Psychology in Washington, D.C.

Her professional certifications include Board-Certified Behavior Analyst, Behavior Safety Certified Trainer in Safety-Care™ and Protecting Human Research Participants. She holds memberships in the N.J. Association of Behavior Analysis, Inc. and the Association of Professional Behavior Analysts. Bethea-Miller also is a behavior consultant for Brett DiNovi & Associates in Cherry Hill, working with youth with intellectual disabilities.

SERV Centers, Inc. names Director of Southern Region

EWING, NJ -- J. Barrett Hughes, a former Coordinator in the SERV Centers of New Jersey (SCNJ) Central Region, recently was named Director of SCNJ’s Southern Region. In this position, he will oversee residential and partial-care day programs for mental health consumers (clients) in all of Mercer County.

“Barrett brings with him the awareness, skill and knowledge required for this demanding position and we are excited about his new role at the company,” said Pauline Simms, SCNJ’s Chief Operating Officer.

SCNJ provides residential and support services to more than 1,300 adults recovering from serious and persistent mental illness in five counties: Mercer, Middlesex, Hudson, Passaic and Union.

Hughes began his employment with SERV in 2008 as a Residential Program Manager in Middlesex County and in 2011 was promoted to Coordinator.

He is a graduate of Monmouth University with a master’s degree in professional counseling and Loyola College in Baltimore with a bachelor’s degree in psychology/biology. He is a National Certified Counselor with the National Board for Certified Counselors, Inc. and a Licensed Professional Counselor with the Board of Marriage and Family Therapy.

In 2014, Hughes received the New Jersey Psychiatric Rehabilitation Association Award for helping to create a vegetable and herb community garden along with consumers at a group home in Middlesex County. The following year, he expanded the program and helped to create a raised garden bed with consumers at another group home in Middlesex.

Hughes, a resident of Howell, said he is looking forward to working with the Southern Region staff and consumers.

“SERV is not just a job or a career; it has become part of my life,” he said. “Prior to my experience here, the Recovery model (consumer-centered) was an unknown. Now it is something I try to foster on a daily basis with all whom I encounter.

“It is my hope to bring a new excitement for Recovery to the Southern Region,” he added. “I hope to establish relationships with staff and residents alike that are motivating and bring out their best qualities.”

Consumer shares struggles, successes and hope

‘Fifteen years ago, I had no hope, no joy, no happiness. It would be really good, I thought, if I didn’t wake up tomorrow.”

Ernie follows up this heartbreaking comment with, “I’m shocked at how far I have come.”

Ernie, age 56, has been a resident with SERV Centers of N.J.-Northern Region since 2002, immediately following his discharge from Greystone Psychiatric Hospital where he was treated for bipolar disorder and severe depression.

Since joining SERV 13 years ago, Ernie has focused his energy on positive coping skills to achieve his recovery goals.

Ernie recently shared his story of recovery from mental illness, as well as his aspirations of becoming an educator and living independently in the community, during the 25th Annual Volley For SERV fundraiser in June 2015. He wanted to not only demonstrate that recovery is indeed possible, but also to give thanks to supporters of The SERV Foundation Scholarship Fund, which enabled him to earn a B.A. degree in Elementary Education/Studio Art and, subsequently, find a position as a substitute teacher.

He explained how a series of traumatic events, including an impending divorce, caused him to become severely depressed. “For a very long time, every minute and sometimes every second, were almost unbearable,” he said. “One evening I was at home with my wife and children. It was a terrible day and I knew it. Without realizing what was happening to me exactly, my ears started ringing. Suddenly, the room began to spin, the ringing got louder, and my heart started to race. I had trouble breathing and gasped for air. It wouldn’t let up, it just got worse. I started screaming ... louder and louder between gasps of air. Ultimately, I completely collapsed face down to the floor. Later, I was told that it was a severe panic attack, thankfully the only one I’ve suffered.

“After perhaps three years of utter darkness, I slowly crawled out of the pit I was in. Three hospitalizations later, SERV came to the rescue, freeing me, as I had been waiting in the hospital for six months because I had no place to live.”

During a recent interview, Ernie talked about that first meeting with the SERV counselors who came to see him at Greystone. “They were understanding, easy to communicate with, and they let me express myself.”

SERV first invited Ernie for a two-day visit at a SERV apartment with two roommates and then again for a five-day stay. When he was discharged from Greystone, his new life began with SERV. “I did a lot of recovery work at Greystone and that expanded greatly when I moved to SERV,” he said.

With a new taste of “freedom,” he began taking short trips to New York City to visit museums and then a year later, a two-month camping trip cross-country in a mini-van. As part of his recovery, Ernie set his compass on visiting as many natural wonders as possible: the Grand Canyon, Yosemite, the Redwoods, Yellowstone, Grand Tetons, the Badlands, and more. “Today, they call it Adventure Therapy,” he said.

Ernie’s new adventure the following year focused on going back to school to earn a business degree. An auto mechanic for many years, he had hoped to work at a nearby dealership in an office position. However, at the advice of his college advisor, he switched to a dual major in Elementary Education/Studio Art.

Taking 12 credits a semester in the fall and summer, though, was becoming an enormous financial burden. Ernie’s SERV counselor suggested that he apply for a SERV Foundation scholarship, a program available for qualified SERV consumers who wish to pursue a field of study but have little means to do so. In fall 2004, Ernie received one of the first scholarships presented by The SERV Foundation. He was granted 11 more scholarships, which saw him through graduation in 2010 with a bachelor’s degree and a GPA of 3.85.

For the past two years, Ernie has been a substitute teacher, first as part time and then full time. He teaches a variety of subjects to students in pre-kindergarten through grade 12, and K-6 pupils with behavioral challenges.

“I love teaching,” said Ernie, whose career goal is to teach full time in mainstream classrooms. “I teach physical education with as many as 60 students at a time, shaping students with a values-based program that the schools are using. I have also worked in mainstream classrooms.” When working with his K-6 group, he often brings in games that he has crafted out of wood. “The kids love it. I put my heart and soul into my workdays and nearly everyone responds well to it. I look forward to each day that I work,” he said.

Ernie’s studies in studio art have made it possible for him to hone his skills in woodworking and furniture design. “My father was a carpenter and when I turned 16, he let me use power tools. I made items and sold them at craft shows and stores, which helped pay for school. Now, after classes in theory and practice, I can continue a lifetime of creative exploration, sometimes very practical and other times whimsical.”

When he is not enriching the minds of students under his charge, Ernie fills his personal time with numerous interests, such as graphite art portraiture, bicycling (1,000 miles a year), music, books, nature, volunteering at a homeless shelter, and church.

“Faith is the anchor piece in my recovery,” Ernie said. “I go to church, read my Bible, and talk with friends in my church.” He also has weekly visits with a SERV counselor, takes his prescribed medication, and keeps his appointments with a SERV psychotherapist and psychiatrist every three months.

Ernie’s wellness goals include working full time as an educator, becoming financially stable so that he can live independently, and giving back to the community through volunteerism.

For anyone who is trying to cope with mental illness, Ernie suggests that individuals practice positive coping skills. “People will respond positively if you do. People are encouraged by your effort and they want to help you more.

“SERV is a tremendous resource for anyone who is struggling,” Ernie said. “Counselors have the ability to help you and to get your life back on track in ways that you wouldn’t even think of asking, such as the Scholarship Fund. They are comprehensive and concerned about your mental, emotional, financial, career and housing goals.”

“I hope my story will help someone like me who needs a little help.”

SERV announces promotions, new hire

SERV has announced the recent appointments of three women to leadership roles in the organization.

Pauline SimmsPauline Simms, former director of SERV Centers of N.J.-Northern Region, has been promoted to Chief Operating Officer for SERV Centers. SERV Centers of N.J. provides residential and support services to individuals recovering from severe and persistent mental illness.

Simms joined SERV in 1997 as a clinician and through the years was promoted to her last position as director of the Northern Region, covering Hudson and Passaic counties. In her new role, she will oversee operations in Hudson, Mercer, Middlesex, Passaic and Union counties.

Simms, a resident of Hillsdale, is a graduate of the University of Coventry in England, where she earned a Certificate of Qualification in Social Work (LSW) and a bachelor’s degree, with honors, in Professional and Social Studies. She received her master’s degree in Social Science and Management from the University of Birmingham, England

“Pauline is a hard worker who has demonstrated an ability to creatively solve problems as they arise. She will be a great addition to the executive team,” said Gary van Nostrand, president and CEO of SERV.

Roseann CommanderRoseann Commander, a SERV employee for 17 years, has been promoted as the new director of SERV Centers’ Northern Region.

Commander, a resident of Willingboro, has a master’s degree in rehabilitation counseling from the University of Medicine & Dentistry of N.J. and a B.A. in psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University.

Sheyla BonnetSheyla Bonnet, of Woodbridge, recently joined SERV Achievement Centers as Regional Director of the Western Region, which includes Burlington, Hunterdon, Mercer and Middlesex counties. SERV AC provides residential and support services to adults and youth with intellectual and developmental disabilities or behavioral challenges.
Prior to joining SERV, Bonnet was director of residential services for Federation Employment Guidance Services in New York, overseeing long-term care programs for residents with developmental disabilities and mental illness. Concurrently, she was an Intensive Behavior Program Specialist for Gallub Psychological Services for Traumatic Brain Injury in New York.

Bonnet is a graduate of Long Island University with an M.S. and MBA in Health Administration/Management. She also has a B.S. in Management & International Management from New York University.

You can support SERV when you shop on Amazon

The SERV Foundation is registered with AmazonSmile; therefore, when you shop smile.amazon.com and select SERV Foundation as your charity of choice, a percentage of your purchase will help fund special programs for SERV consumers, at no cost to you. For more information, click here.

SERV now accepting donated vehicles

Buying a new car? Getting rid of an old one?

SERV Behavioral Health System, Inc. has teamed up with Donate For Charity so you can easily donate your automobile, boat, RV or other vehicle as a way to help support our cause.

Donate For Charity will arrange for your vehicle – whether it is running or not -- to be picked up anywhere in the United States free of charge. Also, you can get a tax deduction if you itemize your federal tax return. We certainly appreciate our donors considering this option.  To find out more about this program, click here

Janssen, pharmacies sponsor upcoming Wellness Conference

The SERV Foundation is planning its 13th Annual Wellness & Development Conference on October 10, 2015 at The Pines Manor in Edison.

This daylong conference is being organized, executed and attended by more than 425 SERV consumers, family members and SERV staff in SERV’s 10-county service area in New Jersey. The event offers health and wellness workshops, guest speakers, exhibitor tables and more to support our consumers as well as their families.

As the event is offered free of charge to attendees, The SERV Foundation depends on grant monies, corporate sponsorships and donations from area businesses to help fund the event.

We are pleased to announce that, to date, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc. in Titusville, NJ, has made a charitable contribution as a Gold Sponsor; and Rapps Pharmacy in Plainfield, NJ, and Atrium Pharmacy in Emerson, NJ, as Silver Sponsors.

For more information on how to donate, call (609) 662-3059 or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Contributions from:

Janssen Color

Rapps Pharmacy

Atrium

Volley For SERV raises nearly $36K for special programs

The 25th annual Volley For SERV Tennis Tournament may have been celebrating its silver anniversary on June 15, but there was no silver lining in the clouds on the morning of The SERV Foundation’s major fundraiser at Cherry Valley Country Club in Skillman.

For the first time in many years, the tennis tournament was precariously close to changing to an indoor venue because of threatening thunderstorms, but thanks to a good call by CVCC Tennis Director Keith Pierson who had been watching the weather radar since the early morning hours, the tournament took place as planned.

This year, 58 players participated in Men’s, Women’s and Mixed A & B doubles divisions, with the Men’s B division competing at nearby Bedens Brook Club to allow for more playing time for all divisions. Champions in each division, followed by the finalists are listed below:

  • WOMEN’S A: Champions Kimberly Vine and Kei Isimishi; Finalists Lisa Brock and Katie Riley
  • WOMEN’S B: Champions Carol Lipson and Yvonne Boyle; Finalists Mary Beth Mapes and Dawn Snider
  • MEN’S B: Champions Ted Golfinopoulos and Dave Kramer; Finalists Rich Anderson and Joe Punia
  • MEN’S A: Champions Ben Branche and Jim Colitsas; Finalists Don Loff and Doug Zelt
  • MIXED A: Champions Chris Hoeland and Ginny Mason; Finalists Jack Keller and Gwen Guidice
  • MIXED B: Champions Barry Szaferman and Yvonne Boyle; Finalists Rachel Donington & Don Loff

While the rain held off until after the finals in late afternoon, the downpour came just as our special guest pros were warming up for an exhibition for reception guests. Thanks to a request by Gwen Guidice, Executive Director of the Princeton Tennis Program and a member of the VFS committee, the four pros agreed to perform in late afternoon.

Glenn Chris Hoeland Kaptan Karsolia and Igor FilipovicPros Glenn Michibata, Chris Hoeland, Kaptan Karsolia and Igor Filipovic are drenched after a downpour, which canceled their exhibition match.They included Glenn Michibata, who in his playing career has faced such opponents as Jimmy Connors, Boris Becker, Andre Agassi and Pete Sampras, among others; Kaptan Karsolia, Igor Filipovic and Chris Hoeland. The men were disappointed the match had to be called off, but said they hoped they could come back next year to take part in an exhibition.

All of the tennis players and additional reception guests helped raise $35,895 to support SERV Behavioral Health System consumers throughout the state who are recovering from severe mental illness and/or coping with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Funds raised will finance the Scholarship Fund for consumers, the annual Wellness & Development Conference for consumers and their families, as well as other projects of the SERV Foundation.

For more than half a year, the Foundation staff worked with the Volley For SERV (VFS) Tennis Committee to plan and execute this time-honored event. Committee members included Chairman Ted Golfinopoulos, Andrew Caldini and Richard Anderson, all SERV board members; and Gwen Guidice, Sena Hill, Ann LoPrinzi, John Schragger, Beth Silverman-Bauman, Charles Villano, Jr. and Rick White. Members helped to secure corporate sponsorships, procure silent auction items, encourage area tennis players to participate, and made their own personal contributions.

The evening reception took place this year in the CVCC Golf Center rather than the Tennis Center to accommodate the 150 guests who showed up to support SERV’s two honorees, Alice Hecht Giedekier, who received the 4th Annual SERVice Award, and Ted Golfinopoulos, who received the 5th annual Lou Natale Jr. Players Award.

AliceGiedekier SERViceAwardAlice Hecht Giedekier accepts the SERVice Award from Chairman of the Board Richard Anderson.The SERVice Award was presented by Chairman of the Board Richard Anderson to Ms. Giedekier in appreciation for her 13 years of dedication and leadership as a board member at SERV. Ms. Giedekier, a First Vice President of Investments for Wells Fargo Advisors in Wayne, N.J., is a member of the Board of Directors of SERV Centers of New Jersey, for which she served as past chairperson. She also serves on the Board of Directors and the Finance Committee of SERV Behavioral Health System, Inc. In addition, she has led the popular “Money Matters” workshop multiple times at SERV’s annual “Wellness & Development Conference.”

Ted NataleAwardTed Golfinopoulos accepts the Natale Players Award from Chris Natale.The Natale Award was presented to Mr. Golfinopoulos by Chris Natale, son of Lou Natale Jr., for whom the award is named. He acknowledged Mr. Golfinopoulos for the 18 years he participated as a player at Volley For SERV and for his generous sponsorship of the event each year. An avid tennis player, Mr. Golfinopoulos has chaired the VFS Committee multiple times and, through his real estate company TG & Associates in Pennington, has sponsored the event each year. He also serves as secretary of The SERV Foundation Board of Directors.

The Volley For SERV reception delivers more than awards presentations, exquisite food, live entertainment, silent and live auctions, and the Super 50/50 Cash Raffle. It also is a time when SERV invites a consumer to be the guest speaker.

ErnieSERV Centers of NJ consumer Ernie R. of Passaic County speaks to the audience during the evening reception.Ernie R., a resident from SERV Centers’ Northern Region (Passaic County) who joined SERV in 2002, shared his personal story of recovery from mental illness and thanked donors for contributing to the SERV Foundation Scholarship Fund. Because of the 12 scholarships he has received from the Foundation, Ernie earned bachelor’s degrees in both elementary education and studio art from William Paterson University. He now is a substitute teacher in Passaic County, teaching a wide variety of subjects to students in Pre-K to 12th grade.

Picture1SERV employee Jim Zanzucchi, left, was the first-prize winner in the Super 50/50 Cash Raffle. He accepts a check for $6,380 from Keith V. Hamilton, VP of Community Relations.One of the most anticipated events of the evening at VFS is the drawing of the Super 50/50 Cash Raffle. Thanks to all our supporters, The SERV Foundation raised $15,950 in the Super 50/50 Cash Raffle. The winners were:

  • 1st prize: Jim Zanzucchi, $6,380 (40% of total raised)
  • 2nd prize: John Maret, $1,595 (10% of total raised)

As is the case with all fundraisers, volunteers play a crucial role in the success of the event. This year’s volunteers were Icelene Barksdale, Betty Birch, Jess Haring, Janeta Jackson, Allie Jones, Faye Josephson, LaLanya King, Colleen Kolakowski, Paul Miller, Andre Parsons, Chris Sales, Rena Sandomir, Lisa Sherotski, Pauline Simms, Fran Tagner and Marilyn Ticktin.

The SERV Foundation would like to thank corporate sponsors, advertisers, area businesses and individuals who donated auction items, tennis players, guests, committee members and volunteers for their invaluable support in making the 25th annual Volley For SERV Tennis Tournament a tremendous success.

Janssen volunteers paint interior of SERV complex

Group2On June 24, 17 volunteers from Janssen Pharmaceuticals in Titusville participated in a Janssen Cares Volunteer Day at Ujima Village in Ewing.

Ujima, operated by SERV Centers of N.J.-Southern Region, is a 52-unit apartment complex for low- and moderate-income seniors and adults with disabilities.

Under the direction of Ujima Building Supervisor Gary Ice, Janssen participants worked for a full day painting walls in common areas such as vestibules and hallways. Volunteers, wearing bright blue T-shirts saying “Janssen Cares,” worked on all four floors of the building.

In addition, Janssen contributed $300 toward materials.IMG 5430

Many thanks to Janssen for not only providing this service to SERV, but also for offering a volunteer opportunity for its employees to give back to their communities.

Volley For SERV champions, finalists

The 25th Annual Volley For SERV had 58 players competing in Men’s, Women’s and Mixed A & B Doubles on June 15 at Cherry Valley Country Club in Skillman. Congratulations to the champions and finalists! They are:

WOMEN’S A: Champions Kimberly Vine and Kei Isimishi; Finalists Lisa Brock and Katie Riley

WOMEN’S B: Champions Carol Lipson and Yvonne Boyle; Finalists Mary Beth Mapes and Dawn Snider

MEN’S B: Champions Ted Golfinopoulos and Dave Kramer; Finalists Rich Anderson and Joe Punia

MEN’S A: Champions Ben Branche and Jim Colitsas; Finalists Don Loff and Doug Zelt

MIXED A: Champions Chris Hoeland and Ginny Mason; Finalists Jack Keller and Gwen Guidice

MIXED B: Champions Barry Szaferman and Yvonne Boyle; Finalists Rachel Donington and Don Loff

SERV welcomes new board member

Michael A. Kovacs recently joined the Board of Directors of SERV Behavioral Health System, Inc.

"I am impressed with the scope of work that SERV Behavioral Health System does and its outstanding history in providing an extremely important range of services to our local communities," he said. "I am very interested in helping to assist in this effort."

Mr. Kovacs, a resident of Robbinsville, has worked for 25 years for Bloomberg LP, Princeton where he is a Global Product Manager for Bloomberg's Asia-Pacific Company Financials and Product Implementation teams.

The Asia-Pacific Company Financials Data team provides real-time, global coverage of financial data for public and private companies specific to this geographical region. It also is responsible for the planning, budgeting, resource management, project execution, and ongoing client support related to any strategic initiative that impacts Bloomberg's global data offering for equities.

Mr. Kovacs is an alumnus of The College of New Jersey with a bachelor's degree in economics and finance. He is a member of American Corporate Partners, through which he helps to mentor military veterans as they reenter the private sector.

Mr. Kovacs has served for 20 years on the Board of Trustees of Colonnade Pointe, a condominium complex located in Princeton. Over the last two decades, he has held the positions of trustee, treasurer, vice president, and most recently, president of the Association Board.

He also participates in various philanthropic activities in the community, some of which are sponsored by Bloomberg.

"I feel that my business background, combined with my professional skills, ... will help me to make a meaningful contribution to the success of the Board's operational goals," he said. "I look forward to the opportunity to serve on the SERV BHS Board of Directors."

Super 50/50 Cash Raffle jackpot increases to $12,250

The SERV Foundation has raised 49% of its goal of $25,000.  Tickets are $50 each or 3 for $100.  1st prize is 40% of total raised and 2nd prize is 10% of total raised.  The Super Cash Raffle drawing takes place during the 25th Annual Volley For SERV Tennis Tournament at Cherry Valley Country Club in Skillman on June 15 (winner need not be present at drawing).

Click here to purchase tickets.

SERV and other nonprofits work to share resources

More than 20 Trenton-area nonprofits, including SERV, have forged an unofficial alliance to share resources and ideas.

To read The Times of Trenton story, click here.

SERV to receive emergency generator for group home

Through affordable housing trust fund, SERV will receive a generator for a group home.

To read the full story in the Sentinel, click here.

SERV featured in NJAMHAA newsletter

The New Jersey Association of Mental Health and Addiction Agencies recently featured SERV Behavioral Health System in its February 2015 newsletter. The feature story, written by Shauna Moses on the occasion of SERV's 40th anniversary, is titled "SERV Collaborates with Consumers to Build their Wellness and Independence."

To read the article, click here.

Three new board members join SERV

SERV Behavioral Health System, Inc. welcomed three new board members in January. Kenneth Kinter and John J. O'Neill both joined the board of SERV Centers of New Jersey and Barbara A. Byrne joined the SERV BHS board.

John J. O'Neill, a resident of Tinton Falls, N.J., is Director of Marketing and Public Relations for Carrier Clinic in Belle Mead. His professional affiliations include the American Hospital Association, the N.J. Hospital Association, the N.J. Association of Mental Health and Addiction Agencies, the National Alliance of Mental Illness-New Jersey, the National Association of Psychiatric Healthcare Facilities, and the N.J. Employee Assistance Professionals Association.

John ONeillJohn J. O'NeillMr. O'Neill is an alumnus of Montclair State University with a bachelor's degree in psychology.

He has served as a member of the Governor's Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse-Treatment Committee, 1995; New Jersey Partners: Aging, Mental Health, and Substance Abuse; Middlesex County Mental Health Professional Advisory Council; Middlesex County Mental Health Board, PAC representative, 1998; Monmouth County Inter-Agency Coordinating Council, 1999; Professional Liaison Association Chairperson, 2002-2004; National Independent Living Association (NILA), Washington, DC-Chairperson Board of Directors, 1995-1998; NILA, Washington, DC, Vice-chair, 1997-1998; National Advisory Committee on Youth Services-Child Welfare League of America, Washington DC-committee member; Statewide Council of Independent Living Services-Chairperson, 1998; and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Administration on Children, Youth and Families, Family and Youth Services Bureau-Grant Reviewer, 1997.

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Kenneth Kinter, LPC, is an assistant professor at Rutgers School of Health Related Professions. He is a member of the Psychiatric Rehabilitation Association and the International Institute of Trauma and Addiction Professionals.

Mr. Kinter received a bachelor's degree from Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y., and a master's degree in counseling psychology at Monmouth University in West Long Branch, N.J. He currently is in a doctoral program in education at Rowan University in Glassboro.

He has received two awards from The New Jersey Psychiatric Rehabilitation Association: Employee of the Year (2008) and Educator of the Year (2014).

Mr. Kinter is a resident of Hamilton, N.J.

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Barbara ByrneBarbara Byrne Barbara A. Byrne, CPA, is a manager with Rahl & Associates, PC in Newtown, Pa. Her professional affiliations include the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the N.J. State Society of Certified Public Accountants.

Ms. Byrne is an alumna of The College of New Jersey with a bachelor's degree in Business Administration, with an emphasis in accounting.

She is a member of the Newtown Business Association and a volunteer for the nonprofit organization, Anna's Army, Inc.

In 2002, she received the Exemplary Volunteer of the Year Award from the Mid-Jersey County Chamber of Commerce. She also participated in the MidJersey Chamber of Commerce's Golf Committee and the Women in Business Committee.

Ms. Byrne is a resident of Manalapan, N.J.

Editorial cartoonist draws attention to mental illness during Conference

On Oct. 11, more than 260 SERV Behavioral Health System consumers from 10 New Jersey counties participated in the 12th Annual Recovery NJ Conference, where they were able to not only enjoy the camaraderie of fellow consumers, but also attend fun and educational workshops geared toward their recovery needs.

Sponsored by SERV free-of-charge for all of our residents and day program consumers, the daylong health-and-wellness event began with a continental breakfast and featured 10 Recovery & Wellness workshops led by SERV staff members as well as outside volunteers. Some consumers' family members also came out to the event to network with other families.

All 420+ people in attendance at The Pines Manor in Edison enjoyed a sit-down luncheon prior to the keynote address and received a goody bag with a black fleece neck scarf embroidered with the SERV logo.

The topics of the workshops presented at the conference were selected earlier in the year by consumers who were planning to attend. They requested to repeat seven popular workshops from previous years and to add three new workshops, which were "Yoga and Relaxation," "How to Cope with Loss and Loneliness" and "Music and Dance." The other workshops were "Nutrition/Better Food Choices," "Money Matters," "Living Well Through the Years (for ages 50+)," "Look Good/Feel Great," "Hobbies," "Social Skills and Relationships" and "Medication and Recovery."

Scott Nychay speaks 3Keynote speaker Scott Nychay talks about his recovery from mental illness while drawing illustrtions for the overhead screen.
This year's keynote speaker was Scott Nychay, who traveled from Chicago to present his message of recovery from mental illness. A former award-winning editorial cartoonist, Mr. Nychay was diagnosed with clinical depression, anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorder. He spoke to the audience about his life of ups and downs, while illustrating these moments through drawings from an iPad to overhead video screen.

"I thought the speaker was great," said one attendee. "I bought his book! His story made me realize how someone with such challenges as he had/has, can, with great support, turn his life around. He made me feel grateful for many things in my life."

Currently, Mr. Nychay has his own studio and speaks with organizations about using art to manage co-occurring disorders. His clients have included the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Association; the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs; National Coalition for the Homeless, Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance; Suicide Awareness Voices of Education; and Microsoft.

Mr. Nychay attended Drake University, Poynter Institute for Media Studies, and received his B.A. degree from Columbia College.

His work has appeared on CBS, NBC and in USA Today. He is the recipient of more than 20 honors, including first in the nation from the Associated Press Sports Editors and the John Fischetti Finalist Award.

After his keynote address, Mr. Nychay was available in the lobby to sign copies of his first graphic novel, "Drawing Strength."

The annual Recovery NJ Conference could not have been as successful without the support and participation of our sponsors, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and ExactCare Pharmacy; the staff members and volunteers who offered their expertise to lead the workshops; workshop monitors and registration staff; and finally the committee members from all regions who worked for months planning and executing the event.

SERV is featured in The Times of Trenton

SERV Behavioral Health System, which is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, was featured on Page 1 of The Times of Trenton on Sunday, Nov. 23.

The article, written by Annabel Lau, can be read here.

SERV psychiatrist receives NJ Psychiatric Association’s highest honor

Dr. Nancy T. Block, a psychiatrist at SERV Centers of N.J.'s Clifton Behavioral Healthcare, recently received the New Jersey Psychiatric Association's highest honor, the 2014 Platinum Award.

Dr. Block received the award at NJPA's "Program for Excellence," held Nov. 16 at the Renaissance Woodbridge Hotel in Iselin. The presentation was made by Dr. Margaret Tompsett.

The following tribute to Dr. Block is taken from the program journal:

"This year's Platinum Award is being given to Nancy T. Block, MD, DLFAPA for her contributions to psychiatry and the wider community.

Great grandniece of one of the first woman physicians, she grew up in a missionary family, and has continued throughout her life to live up to their ideals of service to humanity.

After graduating Alpha Omega Alpha from the University of Michigan Medical School in 1957, she served as a medical missionary in south India for two years. On her return she worked as a physician for the women's prison and child care centers. Her medical approach always appreciated the whole patient in his or her family and social context, rather than just his or her disease. This biopsychosocial orientation inspired her in 1969 to train as a psychiatrist at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ) in Newark.

After completing psychiatric training in 1973 she continued at UMDNJ, initially as Director of Children's Psychiatric Outpatient Services, and later as an attending psychiatrist working with many of the sickest patients needing long-term care. As an assistant professor and, since 1980 a clinical associate professor, she taught many generations of medical students, psychiatry residents, psychology interns and ancillary professional staff.

Dr. Block has been a member of the American Psychiatric Association since 1973, is a Distinguished Life Fellow and has served (the NJPA) district branch in many capacities, up to the office of President in 2002-2003. One of her greatest achievements was to organize the "Brian Behavior" exhibit at the Liberty Science Center in 1997-2000. This was a massive undertaking and involved hours of work and the organization of numerous volunteers. She and colleagues on the Public Education Committee worked to influence the health curriculum of public schools. She also served on Governor Richard Codey's Work Group on Post-Partum Depression. While president of NJPA, Dr Block appointed a task force to obtain information on the "Mental Health Needs and Services in New Jersey" and worked with her colleagues to produce a comprehensive report.

After closing her private practice, she has been working at SERV in the Clifton clinic serving disadvantaged people, insisting on spending sufficient time with patients to give quality care. She has continued to teach at UMDNJ in Newark, to write for the New Jersey Psychiatrist and to work with NAMI to give teachers better understanding of the needs of mentally ill children in the schools.

She has been a strong advocate for our patients and our profession, going to Trenton and meeting with legislators to educate them about the needs of the mentally ill. At an age when many are fully retired, she has continued to work for our patients and our profession as well as for the wider community. She has been working with Physicians for a National Health Program for a single payer health care system, so that all Americans can access the healthcare they need. At Council meetings, she is respected for the knowledge, wisdom and experience she brings to the table.

At the same time she has been a devoted wife to Russ, ... sharing his work for the housing needs of the people of Elizabeth. Her three children, their spouses and her 10 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren are all important to her and recently she took two grandchildren on the Walk for the Mental Health Association of New Jersey.

In her balance of life, career and family and her consistent caring for others in the wider community, she is an inspiration to us all."

2014 Scholarship Fund Cash Raffle Winners Announced

On November 17, there were three winners in the SERV Foundation Scholarship Fund Cash Raffle drawing. The winners received 25%, 15% and 10% of the total raised, which was $11,780.

They were:

1st prize – Cynthia Rea-Bello, of Clifton, NJ, $2,954 (25%)

2nd prize – Frank Hauch, of Manville, NJ, $1,767 (15%)

3rd prize – Marilyn Ticktin, of Roosevelt, NJ, $1,178 (10%)

Thank you to all who supported this fundraiser, which benefits SERV consumers wishing to pursue their educational goals.

The SERV Foundation

SERV M.D. presents ‘Psychiatrist’s Perspective on the Recovery Model’

Dr. Linda Gochfeld, Medical Director at SERV, recently presented a workshop at the 8th Annual Conference of the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance-New Jersey. The conference, which took place Aug. 16 at Kean University, was titled "Surviving to Thriving."

Dr. Gochfeld presented "A Psychiatrist's Perspective on the Recovery Model," in which she spoke about her experience as a psychiatrist and how the Recovery model has changed practice over the years.

In her workshop, according to an article by the New Jersey Association of Mental Health and Addiction Agencies (NJAMHAA), Dr. Gochfeld "emphasized that the recovery model focuses on respect for the individuals and working towards their ability to lead meaningful lives in their communities, and that this is achieved by addressing all biological, psychological, social and vocational needs."

To read NJAMHAA's full article, click here.

2014 Scholarship Cash Raffle Kickoff

The SERV Foundation has begun the sale of tickets for its annual Scholarship Fund Cash Raffle. The goal is to raise $15,000!

Each year, the SERV Foundation receives approximately $25,000-$30,000 in requests from consumers who would like to further their education. The scholarship funding enables SERV consumers to pursue a college degree, a certificate in a technical field, or perhaps a course to improve their personal skills. Funding may also help pay for books and public transportation to the school.

In addition to applying for grants from area corporations and foundations to replenish the Scholarship Fund, each year The SERV Foundation asks all SERV employees to sell as many Scholarship Fund Cash Raffle tickets as possible.

There will be three winners who will receive 25%, 15% or 10% of the total raised.

If we raise our goal of $15,000,

  • 1st prize would be $3,750 (25%)
  • 2nd prize, $2,250 (15%)
  • 3rd prize, $1,500 (10%)

Tickets are $10 each. The drawing will take place November 17, 2014 at 1 p.m. at SERV's Corporate office, 20 Scotch Road, Ewing. You need not be present to win.

Please click here to purchase tickets or contact Tom Fresco at (609) 662-3059 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

If you are purchasing tickets in the name of a SERV employee, please add that person's name in the "Comment Field" so he or she may get credit for the sale.

THANK YOU AND GOOD LUCK!!

Volley For SERV raises $36,400 for special programs

For 24 years, tennis players from Mercer County and beyond have hit the courts to support The SERV Foundation's annual Volley For SERV Tennis Tournament.

This year, 72 players participated in five doubles divisions and a singles pro exhibition at one of the most exclusive venues around, the Cherry Valley Country Club in Skillman.

These players and additional reception guests helped raise $36,400 to support SERV consumers throughout the state who are recovering from severe mental illness and/or coping with developmental disabilities. Funds raised will finance the Scholarship Fund for consumers, the annual Recovery NJ Conference for consumers and their families, as well as other projects of the Foundation.

For more than half a year, the Foundation staff worked with the Volley For SERV (VFS) Tennis Committee to plan and execute this time-honored event. Committee members included Chairman Ted Golfinopoulos, Andre Caldini, Ivan Punchatz and Richard Anderson, all of whom are SERV board members; and Beth Silverman-Bauman, Beth Deitchman, Gwen Guidice, Ann LoPrinzi, Bill Rue Jr., Barry Szaferman and Rick White.

During the tournament on June 16, participants played under sunny skies until late afternoon, when the finals were held on the main court. Officiated by Brad Werner of Pennsbury Racquet & Athletic Club of Morrisville, Pa., the finals proved to be exciting matches in each division.

Just as guests were arriving for the evening reception, pro players Ilia Shatashvili and Felix Matthys were battling it out, as spectators enjoyed cocktails and hors d'oeuvres from above the main court where they were playing. Shatashvili won the exhibition match.

The evening reception at Volley For SERV delivers more than exquisite food, live entertainment, silent and live auctions, and the cash raffle. It also is a time when SERV invites a consumer to be the guest speaker and presents special awards to individuals who have helped to support the mission of SERV.

Bettie gives speechBettie K., a consumer with SERV Centers-Central Region (Union), was the guest speaker during the reception at Volley For SERV. After an introduction by SERV CEO/President Gary van Nostrand, Bettie K., a consumer from SERV Centers' Central Region (Union County) since 2013, spoke eloquently about her recovery and thanked donors for supporting the Scholarship Fund. "After a few months with SERV, I felt more in control of my life and I decided it was time to go back to school and finish what I started, (but) I worried about how I would pay for school," she said. Receiving two scholarships, she said, "helped me pay for tuition, books, transportation and other college-related expenses and it helped me to gain the confidence in myself that I needed to compete with other college students. It was a blessing and I thank you so much," she said.

Bettie currently attends Berkeley College in Newark. She is working toward an associate's degree in medical billing and coding and is expected to graduate next spring. Bettie was accompanied to the reception by Ebony, one of her three daughters, who smiled and looked on proudly as her mother spoke.

After Bettie's speech, special awards were presented to a longtime board member and a Volley For SERV player.

Ivan Punchatz awardIvan Punchatz, Esq. makes his acceptance speech after receiving the The SERVice Award from SERV President and CEO Gary van Nostrand for serving 25 years on the boards of SERV.Ivan Punchatz, Esq. received The SERVice Award, an honor presented annually to a past or current SERV board member. This year, Mr. Punchatz, a shareholder with Buchanan, Ingersoll & Rooney, PC in Princeton, marks 25 years of serving on the boards of SERV Behavioral Health System. During this time, he has been chairman of the System Board as well as the SERV Centers of N.J. and SERV Properties & Management boards.

Speaking about his tenure with SERV, Mr. Punchatz said, "During this time, we have been able to grow the SERV Behavioral Health System into the biggest provider of housing services for the mentally ill in the state, expanded our services to represent developmentally disabled, while growing the company approximately nine-fold. Nonetheless, none of this would have been possible without the continued dedication of the SERV clinicians in the community, in all of our settings, group homes, apartments, day programs, and others ... Their commitment has made SERV a success, and I would like to acknowledge and thank them for their wonderful service."

Gwen Guidice, executive director of the Princeton Tennis Program for the past 19 years, received the 4th annual Lou Natale Jr. Players Award. This award acknowledges an individual for continual support of SERV through participation in and sponsorship of Volley For SERV. Ms. Guidice began playing in VFS in the A Division in 1997. She has played in the tournament every year since. She and her tennis partner Louise Gengler-Thomas currently are the reigning champions in the Women's A Division, a title they earned at the last six Volley For SERV tournaments.

"I started playing in Volley for SERV because of my position with the Princeton Tennis Program," said Ms. Guidice, "but over the years I realized that I was playing for a really good cause. I believe in the mission of SERV and I am proud to be a supporter."

In addition to the special awards given, winners and finalists during the daytime tennis tournament received awards, presented by VFS Committee Chairman Ted Golfinopoulos. They were:

George Benaur l. and Will DiPietro vs. Sean Lu and Daniel LeeMen's A finals with Sean Lu & Dan Lee (champions) vs. George Benaur & Will DiPietro (finalists).Women's A: Gwen Guidice & Louise Gengler-Thomas (6-time champions); Kim Vine & Kei Imamish (finalists)
Women's B: Debi Foxx & Kristen Wilson (champions); Mandy Holanda & Renee Deardorff (finalists)
Men's A: Sean Lu & Dan Lee (champions); George Benaur & Will DiPietro (finalists)
Men's B: David Kramer & Bob Hiel (champions); David Gordon & Jonathan Amar (finalists)
Mixed B: Sena Hill & Barry Szaferman (champions); Donna & Mark Nagel (finalists)
Pros Singles: Ilia Shatashvili (champion) vs. Felix Mathys (finalist)

One of the most anticipated events of the evening at VFS is the drawing of the Super 50/50 Cash Raffle.

Paulina Hammerschmidt  Keith 2Paulina Hammerschmidt of Yardley, Pa., and her daughter Olivia accept a check for $6,700 from Keith V. Hamilton, SERV VP of Community Relations, after winning first prize in the Super 50/50 Cash Raffle on June 16.Thanks to all our supporters, The SERV Foundation raised $16,750. First-prize winners, Kyle & Paulina Hammerschmidt of Yardley, Pa., won $6,700 (40% of total raised). Second-prize winner was Jeannette Bennett of Trenton, who won $1,675 (10%).

The SERV Foundation would like to thank corporate sponsors, advertisers, area businesses and individuals who donated silent and live auction items, tennis players, guests, committee members and volunteers for their invaluable support in making the 24th annual Volley For SERV Tennis Tournament a tremendous success.

SERV Foundation receives $10,000 grant from Janssen

The SERV Foundation recently received a grant of $10,000 from Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc. in Titusville, N.J, to support the Scholarship Fund for consumers and the annual SERV Recovery NJ Conference.

Janssen's contribution of $5,000 to the 12th annual SERV Recovery NJ Conference on October 11, 2014, will help to defray expenses for this daylong Wellness & Recovery event to support our consumers with severe and persistent mental illness and/or developmental disabilities. All SERV consumers are invited free of charge to attend a day of workshops geared specifically to mental health wellness. Family members also are invited.

Janssen's contribution of $5,000 to the Scholarship Fund will help pay for tuition and book fees for qualified SERV consumers who seek to further their education. One such consumer, Bettie K. from Union County who is attending school for medical billing, recently shared her story of recovery and hope when she was the guest speaker during the evening reception at the Volley For SERV Tennis Tournament fundraiser on June 16.

Volley For SERV gets mention in tennis magazine

Tennis Industry magazine, a national publication, has an article in the May issue about non-profit organizations raising money through tennis. The Volley For SERV Tennis Tournament, now in its 24th year, is mentioned in this article written by Ann LoPrinzi, a noted tennis columnist in Mercer County. Click here to read the article.

Late consumer's mother donates funds to remodel group home kitchen

The residents and staff of the Brookhaven group home in SERV Center's Southern Region recently celebrated their newly renovated kitchen with a pizza party and a special dedication to Barbara Brunner, a former resident whose mother donated funds for the remodeling project.

Last August, Mae Brunner of Madison, N.J., contacted SERV and offered generous funding for a renovation project at Brookhaven, where her daughter, Barbara, lived in 2004 and 2005 before she passed away. Because Barbara loved to cook, Mrs. Brunner thought it fitting to have the work done in the kitchen of this home, which was built in 1960. SERV has owned the home in Mercer County for 20 years and, over the years, installed new appliances and other upgrades in the house as funding permitted, but the kitchen still had bright blue Formica countertops and outdated flooring and cabinets.

With Mrs. Brunner's donation, contractors began working on the kitchen in early September and stayed on the project until completion. The dedication of the kitchen was to have taken place soon afterward, but snow storms and other unforeseen issues delayed the celebration.

On the evening of the dedication on March 25, Mrs. Brunner recalled the many times she and her son Donald visited Barbara at Brookhaven. Then, she would bring her daughter and the other female residents sweet treats and other goodies. On this night, Mrs. Brunner did not forget the seven current residents of the home. She and Donald arrived bearing boxes filled with hand towels and pot holders to match the new décor, a homemade valance for the kitchen window, a new set of bath towels for each of the ladies, and toiletries.

When Mrs. Brunner walked into the kitchen for the first time, she had a look of shock on her face. She marveled at the rich dark-wood cabinets, the Corian countertop with shades of browns, the ADA-compliant appliances including a raised dishwasher to avoid bending, the lowered double stainless steel sink that makes access easier for someone in a wheelchair, and the new floor tiles and ceiling with recessed lighting.

When SERV Counselors Rachel Mathis and Andrea Headley-Hall told Mrs. Brunner how much they and the consumers enjoy the new kitchen, she responded, "Oh, you can't enjoy it nearly as much as I enjoy seeing it!"

Among the guests at the dedication ceremony were Gary van Nostrand, President and CEO of SERV; Allan Boyer, Chief Operating Officer of SERV Centers of N.J.; and Betty Birch, Director SERV Centers-Southern Region. On behalf of SERV, Mr. Boyer extended his gratitude to Mrs. Brunner for her generosity and presented a plaque that now hangs above the doorway. It reads: "In Memory of Barbara Brunner."

After the dedication, five of the seven residents of Brookhaven (Doreen, Nancy, Joyce, Sharon and Shanya) and their guests gathered around the dining room table to enjoy pizza and conversation. The residents expressed their thanks to Mrs. Brunner for her generosity and, in appreciation, offered her and Donald desserts of cake and brownies baked by the women and staff members for the festivities.

Mrs. Brunner smiled as she reminisced about Barbara and the home her daughter found at SERV. She recalled Barbara's compassion for some of her housemates who had no family members to visit them at Brookhaven and how Barbara was very pleased that her mother had brought gifts for these ladies, as well.

"I am fortunate that I am able to do it," Mrs. Brunner said of her contributions then and now. "It's nice to be able to give back, and to see the finished product, as well."

 Before11 State Police Drive Ewing Brookhaven 6 joomla    AfterBrookhaven kitchen remodeled Nov. 2013  13 joomla

SERV is subject of Times of Trenton editorial

An editorial in The Times of Trenton on Dec. 27 acknowledges SERV's use of the Recovery Model, which according to Rutgers psychiatry professor Dr. Paul Lehrer, taps into the body's natural desire for health. To read the full editorial, click.

SERV consumer earns degree, finds job, strikes out on his own

While their son stood at the podium in front of dinner guests at a recent SERV fundraiser, mother and father looked on with pride. Viral was telling his story of recovery from paranoid schizophrenia and drug use to where he is today -- a full-time counselor for people with mental illness and chemical addiction.

Viral, 37, who had utilized SERV Centers of N.J.'s residential and support services since 2005, recently struck out on his own to live and work independently in the community. "This is our hope for all of our consumers," said SERV President and CEO Gary van Nostrand at the event.

Before Viral left SERV in July 2013, he agreed to share his success story in June to reception attendees at the 23rd annual Volley For SERV Tennis Tournament at Cherry Valley Country Club in Skillman. The guests were in awe of Viral's accomplishments as they listened to him talk about how he was able to earn his final credits toward a master's degree from Pace University, thanks to scholarships he received from The SERV Foundation. He also gave credit to SERV counselors who supported him over the years and who encouraged him to apply for the scholarships.

"We are all very proud of Viral and for all he has accomplished," said Tammy Wilson, Director of SERV Centers of N.J.-Central Region.

Viral's story of mental illness began at the age of 20, when he had his first psychotic episode. A frequent user of LSD and a daily pot smoker, Viral attributed his paranoia to the drugs. He also made an inordinate amount of visits to his doctor, believing he had one disease after another. After examinations, the doctor would send him home, suggesting he had hypochondria.

Three years later, after a night of drinking tequila and doing drugs, followed by confusion and paranoia, Viral announced, "I quit." "I never picked up again," he said. "I've been clean for 14 years."

However, the paranoia continued. "I felt people were watching me and I kept looking for evidence. I tore apart my car and house to find cameras," he said.

He voluntarily went to UMDNJ for his first hospitalization for a week. The medication he received helped lessen the paranoia and helped him to build coping skills. "That's when I put on my 'game face,'" he said. "It was a conscious effort to look normal. I had lost many friends because my staring freaked people out."

Two more week-long hospital stays later, doctors in Virginia found the medication that worked best for Viral and it "changed everything," he said.

Now stabilized, Viral returned to New Jersey and his parents, who were getting the emotional support they needed from SAMHAJ, a program of the National Alliance on Mental Illness. The South Asian Mental Health Awareness in Jersey provides support, education and advocacy for South Asians affected by serious mental illness.

Meanwhile, Viral learned of SERV through a friend who was a resident in SERV Centers-Northern Region. Knowing he needed support as he recovered, he participated in a comprehensive assessment at SERV.

During Viral's first three years with SERV Centers-Central Region, he lived with roommates in an apartment in Middlesex County. Longing for a bedroom of his own, he eventually moved into another of SERV's apartments in Middlesex.

Content in his new place, Viral considered going back to Pace University to finish the last two classes he needed for his master's degree in counseling. "I had dropped out of grad school and was very discouraged about school. I thought I would just have some mediocre job."

Viral credits his SERV counselors and Ms. Wilson with providing the encouragement he needed to pursue his educational goals.

"Tammy encouraged me to apply for a scholarship grant from The SERV Foundation," said Viral, who already had a bachelor's degree in criminal justice with minors in psychology and New York City Humanities.

"Viral was the perfect candidate for the SERV Scholarship," said Ms. Wilson. "Because he had defaulted on school loans several years earlier, he could not qualify for any type of financial assistance. The SERV Scholarship provided him the resources to fulfill his dream of completing his graduate degree and, ultimately, to help others in need. This was exactly the need that the SERV Scholarship Fund was designed to fulfill."

After applying for and receiving two grants from the Foundation's Scholarship Fund, Viral completed his graduate studies and later found jobs as a drug counselor and a peer counselor. Now, he is working full time for an agency in Newton as a counselor for people with co-occurring mental illness and chemical addiction. There, he works with consumers on relapse prevention, monitors medication and conducts group therapy sessions. "I have vast life experience and educational experience to offer (in this position)," he said.

In working toward this place in his life, Viral thanks SERV Senior Counselor Praseeda Jayanthan and Residential Counselors Ambrose Ekehlar and Quintella Thomas for their influence. "They helped me with job applications when I needed it, coordinating everything so that I could help myself. They wanted to make sure I was doing well and succeeding in life," he said.

According to Ms. Thomas, Viral's awareness about mental illness and his ever-positive attitude had much to do with his recovery. "He was very knowledgeable about his illness and he paid attention to his symptoms, knowing when he needed a med adjustment. He continued to move forward with is life even though he had a mental illness."

Mr. Ekehlar agrees. "There is something very unique about Viral," he said. "His level of acceptance of his mental illness was very critical to his own success, and with that acceptance came the realization that every so often one does need help."

Viral was proactive in most things, yet would seek help when necessary, said Mr. Ekehlar. "He would talk to several staff members about a problem, request their straightforward opinions, ask more questions, and then make his own decisions based on those conversations. He believed that a problem shared is a problem half-solved."

Because of his successful recovery from mental illness and his achievements at his place of employment, Viral became self-supporting and made the decision to leave SERV and find his own apartment closer to work. "I feel like I don't need services like others may need them, so it's time for me to go," he said. "SERV has been very good to me. I was always able to get a counselor when I needed one. They know how to handle crisis situations very well."

To others on the road to recovery, Viral offers this advice: "Stay on your meds regardless of how you feel, and hang in there; it gets better."

SERV study earns publication in scientific journal

SERV is the subject of a recently published article in the prestigious "Psychological Services" journal of the American Psychological Association. SERV is one of the largest providers of outpatient mental health care in the nation, providing both residential and rehabilitation services to more than 1,200 individuals in five counties in N.J. (Hudson, Mercer, Middlesex, Passaic and Union).

The scientific paper is an empirical evaluation of SERV's 2006-2007 transformation from a traditional mental health services agency oriented to caring for mentally ill people to one guided by the Recovery Model philosophy, which assumes that people with mental illness can recover and that this is best accomplished when they alone decide their life's path. The staff's role is to help them reach their goals, rather than to define goals for them.

The three-year study, in which 627 consumers and 490 staff members participated, found that "recovery-oriented services had a positive impact on rates of overnight hospitalization, residents' ability to function in the community, some professional skills of employees, and the working alliance between direct care providers and residents." It also indicated that "comprehensive and well-structured recovery-oriented care may offer a cost-efficient and effective alternative to the deficit approach to mental health care."

The most important finding, and an unexpected one, according to Dr. Paul Lehrer, a professor of psychiatry at Rutgers-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in Piscataway, was the decreased number of hospitalizations among SERV consumers, whether for mental health or other reasons. In the period after the Recovery Model was rolled out across the five counties, hospitalizations dropped 30% compared to the period before the rollout.

According to Lehrer, the study began when Gary van Nostrand, SERV's President and CEO, announced at a meeting of the SERV BHS board, of which Lehrer is a member, that SERV was about to adopt the Recovery Model for services. Literature in the mental health field was strongly suggesting that elements of this approach had a high potential for effectiveness. Van Nostrand had decided that existing data warranted a trial at SERV.

Nevertheless, there were as yet no controlled scientific data proving that the model actually worked when it was adopted system-wide by a large mental health agency. What effects would the Recovery Model have in a setting such as SERV's? Would the staff be willing to accept the change? Would the consumers respond well to it?

These questions prompted Lehrer to suggest evaluating it in an organized fashion by collecting data before and after the roll-out of the Recovery Model to "see whether it's as good as it's cracked up to be." However, evaluating a major program innovation is a daunting task, particularly without major external research funding. To accomplish the project, Lehrer involved a psychology graduate student at Rutgers, Igor Malinovsky, who could serve as the point person putting the research together. Van Nostrand was able to find sufficient funds to hire him to perform the task. In the process, Malinovsky thus proceeded to gather his doctoral dissertation data.

When the transformation began, the SERV leadership found that it would not be possible to roll out the Recovery Model in all five counties at once, so introduction began only in Mercer County, followed by a phased sequential introduction, county by county, over an eight-month period. This allowed the use of a "multiple baseline" design for evaluating the program. In this research design, the effects were measured before and after the rollout in each county. In this way the Recovery Model effects would not be confounded with various societal changes that may have occurred over time (e.g., changes in mental health funding, economic stress, etc.).

As adoption of the Recovery Model began across the SERV system, it immediately became evident that the quality of data was very good. "In my judgment, for an organization to do this without major funding is remarkable," Lehrer said. "It shows how committed the organization was to doing this task right. Only a very well-functioning organization can carry out such a laborious and meticulous task, and produce interpretable data. Gary and his whole staff, particularly Tracy Samuelson (Director of Quality and Compliance), saw that research forms were completed and organized as completely as if we had had a $2M grant to do it."

"We undertook this work because Gary wanted to know if this program works, and we wanted to make sure that Gary got his answer," Lehrer said. "The quality assessment was done so well, that it was worthy of scientific publication."

The publication of Malinovsky's manuscript in "Psychological Services" is a prestigious honor, Lehrer said. "This is a peer-reviewed journal, requiring the highest standards of scientific rigor. It took two years of writing, re-writing, analyzing data, and answering questions to meet their standards as well as our own. The journal editors believed that we found some evidence that is solid and worthy enough for the scientific and mental health communities to take note of it."

The paper, titled "An Empirical Evaluation of Recovery Transformation at a Large Community Psychiatric Rehabilitation Organization," was authored by Malinovsky; with Lehrer; Dr.Steven M. Silverstein, Director of Research and Director of the Division of Schizophrenia Research at Rutgers-University Behavioral Health Care (UBHC); Stewart A. Shankman, University of Illinois, Chicago; and van Nostrand, Samuelson and William O'Brien of SERV Behavioral Health System, Inc.

To read the study, click here.

SERV Medical Director honored by NJPA

Dr. Linda Gochfeld, Medical Director at SERV Behavioral Health System for 14 years, recently received the 2013 Platinum Award from the N.J. Psychiatric Association during its "Evening of Excellence." This is NJPA's highest honor.

During an evening reception on Oct. 27 at the Renaissance Woodbridge Hotel in Iselin, Dr. Gochfeld accepted the award from Dr. Bertram Warren.

Betty Linda Allan and Marilyn2Pictured during the “Evening of Excellence” reception of the N.J. Psychiatric Association on Oct. 27 are, from left, Betty Birch, SERV Centers South Region Director; Dr. Linda Gochfeld, Medical Director; Allan Boyer, COO of SERV Centers of NJ; and Marilyn Ticktin, Director of Housing Development.

According to NJPA, "The Platinum Award is given only to one who has demonstrated service to psychiatry over a lengthy period of time, and much above the outstanding contributions many of the recipients of those receiving the Golden Merit Award have achieved." Dr. Gochfeld received the Golden Merit Award from NJPA in 2000.

In its program journal for the "Evening of Excellence," NJPA wrote: "She is known as the person to turn to when our organization needs help with patient services, the many other organizations to which she belongs, or the State of New Jersey, where she has served on many committees and task forces."

Dr. Gochfeld is a cum laude graduate of Barnard College where she received her degree in psychology. She received her MD from Albert Einstein College of Medicine. After finishing an internship at the University of Colorado Medical Center, Dr. Gochfeld completed her psychiatric residency at the Long Island Jewish-Hillside Medical Center. She also was trained in psychoanalysis at the Manhattan Center for Modern Psychoanalysis, Studies: Psychodynamic Therapy. She is certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, and a Distinguished Life Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association.

In addition to her work as Medical Director at SERV, Dr. Gochfeld has a private practice in Princeton and is a clinical professor of psychiatry at Rutgers University. She has been active in the N.J. Psychiatric Association since 1978.

"I am very happy and grateful to be working for SERV, where we provide excellent care in an atmosphere of optimism and recovery," said Dr. Gochfeld.

Congratulations, Dr. Gochfeld, on your prestigious award.

 

Congratulations to Scholarship Fund Cash Raffle winners!

On November 18, there were three winners in the SERV Foundation Scholarship Fund Cash Raffle drawing.  The winners received 25%, 15% and 10% of the total raised, which was $11,040.

They were:

    1st prize – Amelia Edmunds, of East Orange, NJ, $2,760 (25%)

    2nd prize – Jaye Kerkulah, of Trenton, NJ, $1,656 (15%)

    3rd prize – Lynn Jeros, of Robbinsville, NJ, $1,104 (10%)

Thank you to all who supported this fundraiser, which benefits SERV consumers wishing to pursue their educational goals.  

The SERV Foundation

SERV employee, a part-time rescue diver, saves drowning boy

Paul DeSalvo, a Facility Manager for SERV, recently saved the life of a drowning 10-year-old boy over Labor Day weekend.  DeSalvo is a certified EMT and a 2-plus-year member of a Dive Team that patrols Point Pleasant Beach, N.J.  Read full story

Janssen Supports Scholarship Fund & Recovery Conference

The SERV Foundation, the fundraising arm of SERV Behavioral Health System, recently received two grants totaling $12,500 from Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc., headquartered in Titusville, N.J.

Janssen contributed $7,500 toward the Scholarship Fund, which provides tuition and other expenses for SERV consumers who would like to return to school, but have little means to do so.

Janssen also contributed $5,000 toward the SERV Recovery NJ Conference, a health-and-wellness event for SERV consumers and their family members. This year's 11th annual event takes place October 12 at The Pines Manor in Edison.

"We, at Janssen, are proud to be associated with The SERV Foundation, Inc., and wish you continued success in all of your endeavors," wrote Patricia Watts Mitchell, Janssen's Contributions Analyst in the announcement letter.

SERV's property purchase in local news article

SERV has purchased property in Springfield, N.J., with plans to build a home for 4 adults with developmental disabilities.  Click here to read the news article in the Burlington County Times.

SERV Centers of New Jersey welcomes new Chief Operating Officer

Allan Boyer has been named the new Chief Operating Officer of SERV Centers of New Jersey, a company of SERV Behavioral Health System, Inc. He began his new position on July 1.

Prior to joining SERV, Mr. Boyer served as CEO of Ancora Psychiatric Hospital, New Jersey's largest state psychiatric hospital with a capacity of 709 beds, a 650-acre campus, over 1,600 employees, and an operating budget of $110 million.

Read more: SERV Centers of New Jersey welcomes new Chief Operating Officer

Volley For SERV Tennis Tournament raises $35K for special programs

SERV consumer shares inspiring story with attendees

Tennis players from Mercer County and beyond came out in force on June 17 to participate in the 23rd annual Volley For SERV Tennis Tournament.

The seventy-four players participating in five doubles divisions and one singles division not only played on courts at one of the most exclusive venues around, the Cherry Valley Country Club in Skillman, but also stepped up to support a worthy cause for individuals throughout the state with mental illness and/or developmental disabilities.

Beth Deitchman  Cari Werner in Womens A finals revBeth Deitchman, left, and Cari Werner face off against their opponents in the Women’s A Division finals.

The SERV Foundation, sponsor of the event, raised nearly $35,000 to finance special programs for consumers of SERV Behavioral Health System, Inc., such as the Scholarship Fund and the annual Recovery NJ Conference.

VFS Tennis Committee members who helped plan and execute this time-honored event along with The SERV Foundation staff included Chairman Ted Golfinopoulos, Vice Chairman Ward Bauman, Richard Anderson and Jack Fein, all of whom are SERV board members; and Beth Bauman, Beth Deitchman, Donald J. Loff, Ann LoPrinzi, Bill Rue Jr., Barry Szaferman, Charles Villano Jr. and Rick White.

In addition to the usual amenities that players have come to expect at the fundraiser, this year the 128 attendees at the evening reception had a special treat – to hear a consumer with SERV Centers of N.J.-Central Region tell his inspiring success story. Viral M., a consumer since 2005, held everyone's attention as he shared about his struggle with chronic paranoid schizophrenia and how SERV counselors supported him through his recovery. Also in attendance were his proud parents.

Viral M  guest speaker revViral M., a former consumer with SERV Centers-Central Region, tells his inspiring success story to reception guests at Volley For SERV. Viral M., a consumer since 2005, held everyone's attention as he shared about his struggle with chronic paranoid schizophrenia and how SERV counselors supported him through his recovery. Also in attendance were his proud parents.

Viral talked about his progress as he advanced through SERV's continuum of services and, when he felt he was ready to complete his graduate work at Pace University, decided to apply for tuition money from The SERV Foundation Scholarship Fund. Because of the-financial aid he received, he was able to graduate with a master's degree in substance abuse counseling. Viral now has a full-time job as a counselor for an agency in Newton and recently moved out of SERV to live independently in the community.

The evening reception at Volley For SERV also is when SERV presents awards to individuals who have helped to support the mission of SERV.

Jack H. Fein received The SERVice Award, an honor presented annually to a past or current SERV board member.

For 14 years, Mr. Fein has been a dedicated member of the SERV Behavioral Health System Board of Directors. A CPA for many years, Mr. Fein has generously offered his expertise in all financial matters, while also demonstrating his commitment to the mission of SERV. Since 1999, Mr. Fein has served on the SBHS board either as a treasurer or secretary. Currently, he also is Chairman of the Finance Committee for SBHS. Jack Fein revJack Fein, a partner with Mercadien, P.C., CPAs of Princeton, steps up to the podium to receive The SERVice Award from SERV President and CEO Gary van Nostrand for serving 14 years on the SERV Board of Directors.

"I've seen what SERV has done for the community," said Mr. Fein. "SERV is a well-run non-profit organization with a great reputation with the state. I've seen the operating budget more than double in the time I have been with SERV."

"Jack is a great guy to have around," said President & CEO Gary van Nostrand, who made the presentation. "He keeps a cool head, gives good advice and has a great sense of humor. Sometimes the last is the most important!."

As a partner with the accounting and management consulting firm of Mercadien, P.C., CPAs in Princeton for more than 40 years, Mr. Fein works with more than 85 non-profit organizations.

Donald J. Loff received the 3rd annual Lou Natale Jr. Players Award, presented by Lou's son, Chris Natale. This award acknowledges an individual for continual support of SERV through participation in and sponsorship of Volley For SERV.

From the first Volley For SERV in 1990, Mr. Loff has been a steadfast supporter of SERV's major fund-raising event. Not only has he competed in nearly all of the previous 22 tennis tournaments, he has been a longtime supporter of SERV in its fundraising efforts. He also served on the VFS Committee in years past.

"I think SERV is a very worthwhile organization (to support)," said Mr. Loff. "I've always liked not only the competitive play format at Volley For SERV, but also that it's social with the unique evening reception."

Chris Natale with Lou Natale Jr  Players Award winners

Chris Natale, second from right, presented the 3rd Annual Lou Natale Jr. Players Award earlier in the evening to Donald J. Loff, second from left, at the Volley For SERV reception at Cherry Valley Country Club. Also pictured are two previous winners of the Natale Players Award, Charles Villano (2012), left, and Barry Szaferman, Esq. (2011), right. "The Lou Natale award means a lot to me," he added. "Lou was a very good friend and one of the nicest, most genuine people anybody could meet in a lifetime."

Mr. Loff is Senior Vice President of Investments for Merrill Lynch in Princeton, where he works with The Loff Group team.

Following the presentation, Brad Werner, co-owner of Pennsbury Racquet and Athletic Club in Morrisville, Pa., handed awards to the winners and runners-up in each tennis division played earlier in the day. They were:

Women's A Doubles: Gwen Guidice/Louise Gengler (champions for the last 4 years) vs. Beth Deitchman/Cari Werner (finalists).

Women's B Doubles: Sena Hill/Esabel Monteiro (champions) vs. Mandy Holanda/Renee' Deardorff (finalists).

Men's A Doubles: Benjamin Branche/Jim Colitsas (champions) vs. Mitch Sussman/Steve Santucci (finalists).

Men's B Doubles: Rich Anderson/Joe Punia (champions) vs. David Kramer/Hai Nguyen (finalists).

Mixed B Doubles: Mike Jia/Jean Magnier (champions) vs. Lisa & Tim Terry (finalists).

Pros Singles: Matija Pecotic (champion) vs. Ilia Shatashvili (finalist)

One of the most anticipated events of the evening was the drawing of the Super Cash Raffle. This year, Dr. Paul Lehrer, a longtime SERV board member, and Gladys Schweikert of Bucks County, Pennsylvania, were the 1st- and 2nd-prize winners, respectively. The Foundation raised $16,200 in the raffle; Dr. Lehrer won $6,480 (40% of amount raised) and Ms. Schweikert won $1,620 (10%).

The SERV Foundation would like to thank corporate sponsors, advertisers, area businesses and individuals who donated silent and live auction items, tennis players, guests, committee members and volunteers for their invaluable support in making the 23rd annual Volley For SERV Tennis Tournament a tremendous success.

 

 

Super Cash Raffle winners announced

Dr. Paul Lehrer of Kendall Park, N.J., and Gladys Schweikert of Bucks County, Pa., were the 1st- and 2nd-prize winners in the SERV Foundation’s Super 50/50 Cash Raffle, drawn June 17. The Foundation raised $16,200; Dr. Lehrer won $6,480 (40% of amount raised) and Ms. Schweikert won $1,620 (10%).

 

Congratulations to the winners and thank you to all who supported the fundraiser.

2014 SERV Art Calendar Contest

The SERV Foundation will again publish its fund-raising 2014 SERV Art Calendar, which will feature original works of art created by consumers.

We are offering small businesses, large corporations and Chambers of Commerce the opportunity to advertise services and products at a reasonable cost in this full-color calendar -- with the added feature of a link from our website to yours.

SERV will distribute 1,000 calendars to donors, corporate sponsors and select individuals in the 10 counties where we operate: Burlington, Hudson, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Ocean, Passaic, Somerset and Union.

The 8½ x 11-inch calendar, which will be in a horizontal format on quality paper with a satin finish, will feature each of the 10 art contest winners on one month. It also will include SERV's 2013 Annual Report financials.

Click here to view last year's 28-page calendar.

The 2014 calendar will be mailed in early November and will include a remittance envelope. All donations will go directly to support programs of the SERV Foundation, such as the Scholarship Fund and the annual SERV Recovery NJ Conference.

Click the following links to view our budget-friendly price sheet  and sample advertising space. Please note that if you are an upper-level advertising sponsor, your logo will appear on SERV's website and will link to your home page.

We hope you will select one of these sponsorship options to help support the SERV Foundation. The deadline for your camera-ready ad – in .jpg or .pdf format – is September 6.

If you have any questions, please contact Ida Doolan at (609) 662-3066 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Honorees announced for 23rd annual Volley For SERV

Ted Golfinopoulos, chairman of the 23rd annual Volley For SERV Tennis Tournament, has announced the honorees for the 2013 fundraiser, which is sponsored by the nonprofit SERV Foundation of SERV Behavioral Health System, Inc.

"For the two awards to be given at Volley For SERV, the Committee has selected Don Loff and Jack Fein, two well-deserving gentlemen, and I couldn't be more pleased," he said.

Jack H. Fein will receive The SERVice Award, presented to a SERV board member in appreciation of demonstrated leadership and Jack and Don 1commitment to the mission of SERV. Mr. Fein, who has been a SERV board member since 1999, is treasurer of the SERV Behavioral Health System, Inc. Board of Directors. He also is on the Finance Committee for SBHS.

Mr. Fein (CPA, CGFM, PSA) has been a member of the accounting and management consulting firm of Mercadien, P.C., Certified Public Accountants for more than 40 years. As a principal of Mercadien, he works with more than 85 nonprofit organizations.

A resident of Holland, Pa., Mr. Fein serves as treasurer of the Committee on Religious Ministries at The University Medical Center at Princeton, is a member of the advisory board of RomAsia Bank, and is assistant treasurer of The Rotary Club of Princeton Foundation. He serves on the advisory board of Rutgers MACCY Program in Governmental Accounting. In addition, Mr. Fein is publisher and editor-in-chief of the Nonprofit Examiner, a nationally syndicated publication.

He is a founding member of Shir Ami Bucks County Jewish Congregation, where he was on the board and executive committee, and served as treasurer for more than 10 years.

Donald J. Loff will be presented with the 3rd annual Lou Natale Jr. Players Award, which acknowledges an individual for continual support of SERV through participation in and sponsorship of Volley For SERV (VFS).

Mr. Loff, a resident of Raritan Township near Ringoes, N.J., has competed in nearly all of the previous 22 VFS tennis tournaments and has been a longtime supporter of SERV in its fundraising efforts.  He also served on the VFS Committee in years past.

A Senior Vice President for Investments at Merrill Lynch, Mr. Loff has more than 34 years of financial services experience. He works in developing investment strategies, asset allocation, portfolio monitoring and overall wealth management for high net worth clients and institutions.

In addition to being an avid tennis player, Mr. Loff enjoys fishing, hiking and riding his Quarter Horses.

Both honorees will be feted during the evening reception at the 23rd annual Volley For SERV Tennis Tournament on June 17 at Cherry Valley Country Club in Skillman.

For tickets or sponsorship opportunities, click here.

SERV consumers volunteer at TASK, Meals on Wheels

SERV consumers Chris and Geraldine deliver lunch and dinner to Mr. Piccone, a Meals on Wheels client in Ewing.

Since 1987, SERV Achievement Centers, Inc. has been providing teaching, training and support to individuals with developmental disabilities and youth with behavioral challenges and emotional problems.

At its Progressive Achievement Center (PAC) on Scotch Road in Ewing, where day-program consumers are offered an opportunity to acquire vocational skills, several have additionally chosen to contribute volunteer service to the community.

Each week, four adult consumers and two PAC staff members volunteer two hours at the Trenton Area Soup Kitchen, where they wrap napkins around a set of plastic flatware to be used by TASK visitors.  The following week, a different group of volunteers will perform the same duty.

Read more: SERV consumers volunteer at TASK, Meals on Wheels

New officers elected for three SERV boards

Four members of three SERV Boards of Directors were elected to officers' positions at the annual meeting of all boards in December.

Dean S. Nalbone, Esq. of Hamilton was named chairman of the board of SERV Centers of New Jersey, Inc.  Mr. Nalbone is an attorney and partner in the law firm of Teich Groh in Trenton, where he practices real estate law. He is a member of the Mercer County Bar Association and the MidJersey Chamber of Commerce.

Grace I. Rarich of Titusville was elected chair of SERV Achievement Centers, Inc. board.  Ms. Rarich is a Registered Nurse and a member of the N.J. Association of Public Health Administrators.

Ted Golfinopoulos of Skillman was named chairman of the board of SERV Foundation, Inc.  Mr. Golfinopoulos is president of TG & Associates, a real estate company in Pennington.   He is a member of the MidJersey Chamber of Commerce and The Institute of Real Estate Management.

Andre J. Caldini was named secretary to the board of SERV Foundation, Inc.  A resident of Medford, Mr. Caldini is senior vice president of commercial lending for Hopewell Valley Community Bank.  He is a member of both the MidJersey and Princeton Chambers of Commerce.

Only 2 nonprofits contribute

Despite Lawrence Township officials' request for voluntary contributions from nonprofit organizations and educational institutions, only two have stepped forward — SERV Behavioral Health System Inc. and the Islamic Circle of Mercer County.

SERV, which operates a group home on Darrah Lane, sent a check for $2,101.97 and the Islamic Circle of Mercer County, which meets on Lawrence Station Road, contributed $1,250, Municipal Manager Richard Krawczun said.

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Scholarship Fund Cash Raffle winners announced

  • 1st prize, Prince Hendrix of Hamilton, who won $2,450.
  • 2nd prize, Marilyn Ticktin of Roosevelt, who won $1,470.
  • 3rd prize, Derrick Taylor of Elizabeth, who won $980.

Winners received 25%, 15% and 10% of the amount raised.

The three winning tickets of the Cash Raffle to benefit the SERV Foundation's Scholarship Fund for consumers were drawn Nov. 12, 2012 at SERV's Corporate office. SERV employees and board members sold 980 tickets, raising a total of $9,800.

Congratulations to all the winners!  A special thanks to all who sold and bought tickets.

Keith and Prince croppedKeith V. Hamilton, Vice President of Community Relations for SERV, presents Prince Hendrix with a check for $2,450. Mr. Hendrix was the first-prize winner in the Scholarship Fund Cash Raffle.

Mercer Business magazine’s "Nonprofit Profile" on SERV Behavioral Health System.

SERV Behavioral Health System, Inc. began in 1974 as SERV Centers of New Jersey. It was founded by a group of families struggling to care for adult family members with serious mental illness, along with a few mental health professionals and an attorney who advocated on their behalf. 

Click here to download.

Two SERV Directors promoted to Executives

Two Directors within SERV Behavioral Health System, Inc. have been promoted to executive positions.

After the recent retirement of Chief Financial Officer James Rose, Caren Jesseman was promoted to CFO of SERV Behavioral Health System, Inc. While serving as Director of Finance for more than a year, Ms. Jesseman had been working with Mr. Rose and others to learn all financial aspects of the SERV family of companies.

Read more: Two SERV Directors promoted to Executives

Appeal to Tax-Exempt Groups Nets $2,101 Donation

Earlier this month, Lawrence Township sent out a letter asking dozens of tax-exempt organizations and non-profit institutions to consider making a voluntary payment in lieu of taxes. SERV Behavioral Health System recently sent the township such a donation

Lawrence Township has so far received at least one donation in response to the letter it sent out earlier this month asking dozens of tax-exempt organizations and non-profit institutions in the township to consider making a "voluntary contribution" equal to 25 percent of what they would pay in property taxes were they not exempt.

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SERV founder accepts award at Volley For SERV

Mark Fox, SERV's founder accepts his award.

Event raises $34K for special programs

Every year, tennis players in the community look forward to the time-honored Volley For SERV Tennis Tournament, held at the exclusive Cherry Valley Country Club in Skillman.

As with the previous 21 events, this year’s major fundraiser for The SERV Foundation held all the amenities that the players have come to expect -- quality courts with stiff competition from other players, exquisite food prepared by an award-winning chef, musical entertainment, silent and live auctions, the drawing for the Super 50-50 Cash Raffle, and the awards presentation.

Read more: SERV founder accepts award at Volley For SERV

21st annual Volley For SERV raises $35K

With the common mission of supporting SERV’s 21st annual Volley For SERV Tennis Tournament fundraiser, area tennis players, honorees, SERV board members and staff, volunteers and special guests arrived at Cherry Valley Country Club in Skillman on June 20 to help raise money for SERV Foundation programs.

This year’s event saw an increase in tennis players and reception guests from recent years and an ever-present enthusiasm for this first-class tournament, as it is known in the tennis community.

Read more: 21st annual Volley For SERV raises $35K

SERV Recovery Conference 2011

The ninth annual SERV Recovery NJ Conference saw a record number of attendees on April 16, as nearly 430 consumers, family members, invited outside healthcare professionals and SERV staff gathered at The Pines Manor in Edison for a day of wellness and recovery workshops, sumptuous food, and a keynote presentation by The Mental Health Players.

Read more: SERV Recovery Conference 2011

Long time supporters to be honored at Volley For SERV reception

For the 21st year, the SERV Foundation will sponsor its major fundraising event, the Volley For SERV Tennis Tournament, to support the mission of SERV Behavioral Health System, Inc., which has been providing housing and services for special-needs individuals for the past 37 years. The annual tournament and reception will take place June 20, 2011 at Cherry Valley Country Club in Skillman.

Read more: Long time supporters to be honored at Volley For SERV reception

SERV names Director of Finance

Caren C. Jesseman, CPA, MBA, recently was named Director of Finance for SERV Behavioral Health System, Inc. She works directly with James Rose, Chief Financial Officer and Vice President of Finance.

A resident of Ewing, Ms. Jesseman has extensive experience with nonprofit organizations. Prior to this new position, she was a manager for Withum Smith + Brown of Princeton, a large regional public accounting firm based in New Jersey, where she specialized in accounting services for nonprofit agencies, small and midsized businesses, and individuals.

Read more: SERV names Director of Finance

SERV Scholarship Fund Winners announced

Winners of the 50/50 Scholarship Fund Cash Raffle were announced Dec. 3 during SERV Behavioral Health System’s holiday party in the Administration office in Ewing.

The Cash Raffle raised $5,460, half of which ($2,730) will support the SERV Foundation’s Scholarship Fund. First-prize winner, Lisa Mongue of Mystic, Ct., won 25%, totaling $1,365. Second-prize of $819 (15%) went to Shauwea L. Hamilton of Ewing and third prize of $546 (10%) went to Rick Stein of East Windsor.

Read more: SERV Scholarship Fund Winners announced

SERV's Chief Financial Officer receives CFO Finalist award from NJBIZ

SERV Behavioral Health System’s Chief Financial Officer James J. Rose received an award Oct. 26 for being named a finalist in NJBIZ magazine’s 2010 CFO of the Year program, which celebrates New Jersey’s financial executives at all levels who contribute to the success of the state’s economic growth and stability.

Mr. Rose is responsible for managing the finances and accounting for SERV Behavioral Health System and all affiliated entities as well as all insurance, banking and administrative contract negotiations.

Read more: SERV's Chief Financial Officer receives CFO Finalist award from NJBIZ

SERV Executive named finalist for CFO of the year award

James J. Rose, SERV’s Vice President of Finance and Chief Financial Officer, has been selected as a finalist for the 2010 CFO of the Year award by NJBIZ, a weekly business journal covering the entire state.

The CFO of the Year awards program celebrates New Jersey’s financial executives at all levels who contribute to the success of New Jersey’s economic growth and stability.   Finalists will be recognized and the winners in each of the six CFO categories will be announced during a breakfast awards ceremony on Oct. 26 at the Palace at Somerset Park in Somerset.

Read more: SERV Executive named finalist for CFO of the year award

20th annual Volley For SERV

20th annual Volley For SERV returns to tennis-only format and becomes successful fundraiser

For two decades, area tennis players have shown up and suited up to support the SERV Foundation’s Volley For SERV Tennis Tournament. This 20th annual event was no exception.

Gary van Nostrand, SERV Behavioral Health System, Inc. President and CEO, called it the “best Volley in recent memory. It was great to see familiar faces from the past back again,” he said.

Read more: 20th annual Volley For SERV

Three SERV Centers employees receive NJPRA Award

The New Jersey Psychiatric Rehabilitation Association recently honored three SERV Centers of New Jersey employees who have demonstrated outstanding abilities, achievements and commitment to SERV.

Kathleen Karmazin, a residential program manager at the Mercer office; and Marasri Muthikul and Janice Rainford, coordinators of Passaic County’s residential services, each received a Certificate of Recognition at NJPRA’s Annual Recognition Dinner on June 9 at the Radisson Hotel in Freehold.

Read more: Three SERV Centers employees receive NJPRA Award

Director of SERV Centers-Passaic County is honored with Vision and Achievement Award from Mental Health Association

Kim DeRosa-Budrewicz, director of SERV Centers Passaic County, recently received the Vision and Achievement Award from the Mental Health Association in Passaic County.

Ms. Budrewicz was honored during the Association’s 25th Anniversary and 7th Annual Vision and Achievement Awards Dinner on June 8 at Riverside Manor Restaurant in Paterson.

Read more: Director of SERV Centers-Passaic County is honored with Vision and Achievement Award from Mental...

8th annual Recovery Conference

Stress-reducing laughter is focus of Recovery Conference

“Lighten up – jest for the health of it!”

This pun-ful advice was the parting message from keynote speaker Dr. Paul McGhee to nearly 400 people as he capped off an afternoon of belly laughs and hysterical antics during the 8th annual SERV Recovery NJ Conference on April 17 at the Pines Manor in Edison.

SERV consumers and their families, staff and outside healthcare professionals learned that a good old belly laugh can reduce stress, provide muscle relaxation, and ease psychological tensions.

Read more: 8th annual Recovery Conference

SERV installs sign on headquarters building

To celebrate its 35th Anniversary, SERV Behavioral Health System, Inc. marked the occasion with the installation of a sign on the exterior of the three-story Ewing Corporate Center on Scotch Road, where SERV’s corporate offices occupy the top two floors.

The official unveiling with a drape was scheduled to take place at the start of SERV’s 35th Anniversary Reception on Nov. 13 for employees and guests; however, due to inclement weather earlier in the week, a substitute plan was devised.

Read more: SERV installs sign on headquarters building

SERV marks 35th Anniversary

SERV Behavioral Health System, Inc. marked its 35th year of operation on Nov. 13 with two simultaneous celebrations connected via its new teleconferencing equipment.

Employees and outside guests of SERV’s Mercer and Middlesex County offices marked the occasion with a reception in the Ewing office on Scotch Road, while employees and guests of Union, Passaic and Hudson County offices celebrated in the Passaic office.

Read more: SERV marks 35th Anniversary

UJIMA Village celebrates fifth anniversary

An indoor picnic to celebrate the fifth anniversary of Ujima Village, a tax credit- funded, 52-unit apartment complex on Pennington Avenue for low- and moderate-income seniors and adults with disabilities, took place Sept. 17 on the first floor of this renovated century- old building.

Ujima residents and Ujima Village Apartments are housed in staff of SERV Behavioral the former Fraternal Order of Odd Fellows building, Health System Inc., the a four-story brick Greek Revival structure built in managing partner of Ujima 1910 on Pennington Avenue at the crossroads of Village, enjoyed a late Ewing and Trenton.

Read more: UJIMA Village celebrates fifth anniversary

NJPRA Award presented to four SERV Centers staff

Four staff members of SERV Centers of New Jersey recently were honored by The New Jersey Psychiatric Rehabilitation Association during its annual recognition dinner.

Vanessa Arias-Martinez, program supervisor of the Adapt Partial Care Program in Passaic County; and Union County staffers, senior residential counselor Karla Ranucci, senior counselor Elaine Adams and senior residential counselor Mary Kay Spiliotis all received a Certificate of Recognition Sept. 22, 2009, during a dinner at Mastoris Restaurant in Bordentown. SERV Behavioral Health System President/CEO Gary van Nostrand and SERV Centers COO Bill O’Brien were in attendance for the ceremony.

Read more: NJPRA Award presented to four SERV Centers staff

19th annual Volley For SERV

Volley For SERV golf and tennis tournament to benefit statewide nonprofit organization

Event to include Super Cash Raffle drawing with $20,000 top prize 

The SERV Foundation, the fundraising arm of the nonprofit SERV Behavioral Health System Inc., is planning its 19th annual Volley For SERV golf and tennis tournament at the exclusive Cherry Valley Country Club in Skillman.

This event, to take place June 15, is the major fundraising effort of the Foundation to benefit SERV’s housing and support programs for people throughout New Jersey with serious mental illness and/or development disabilities. SERV is headquartered in Ewing and has offices in Mercer, Hudson, Middlesex, Passaic and Union counties, as well as operations in Burlington, Monmouth and Ocean counties.

Read more: 19th annual Volley For SERV

19th annual Volley For SERV Winners

Winners of SERV Foundation’s Super Cash Raffle announced during Volley For SERV 

The winners of the Super Cash Raffle to benefit the SERV Foundation of SERV Behavioral Health System, Inc. were announced during the 19th annual Volley For SERV Golf and Tennis Tournament June 15 at the Cherry Valley Country Club in Skillman.

The 50/50 raffle raised $24,100, with $12,050 going to the SERV Foundation and the remainder going to the first and second-prize winners in a 40/10 percent split. The first-prize winner of $9,640 was Dennis Kelly of Palmyra. The second-prize winner of $2,410 was Ravi Khehar of Summit.

Read more: 19th annual Volley For SERV Winners

GoodSearch and GoodShop Campaign

Help raise money for The SERV Foundation

Instructions for GoodSearch:

Search the Internet just like you normally would. www.goodsearch.com is powered by Yahoo!, so you’ll get high- quality search results. When you select “SERV Foundation” as your charity, SERV gets 1 penny for every search. (Please note: image, video and site- specific searches such as .com, .net, .edu, are not included).

Read more: GoodSearch and GoodShop Campaign

7th annual Recovery Conference

Hundreds of N.J. residents with severe mental illness and/or developmental disabilities attend SERV Recovery NJ Conference

The SERV Foundation of SERV Behavioral Health System Inc., headquartered in Ewing, N.J., recently sponsored its 7th annual “Recovery NJ Conference” for SERV’s consumers throughout the state, their families and outside healthcare professionals.

More than 400 people attended the free conference on May 16 at the Hyatt Regency-New Brunswick. Each year, this conference strives to give people with severe mental illness (such as bipolar disorder and schizophrenia) and/or developmental disabilities and their family members the opportunity to network, gain encouragement, and learn the tools needed to recover and find complete wellness.

Read more: 7th annual Recovery Conference

Racks at PAC

SERV has grand opening of thrift store to fund field trips for consumers of its Progressive Achievement Center

 The Progressive Achievement Center of SERV Behavioral Health System Inc. held a Grand Opening Feb. 9 for its “Racks At PAC” Thrift/convenience store at 380 Scotch Road in Ewing.

The thrift store will have donated home décor items, as well as handmade gift boxes, photo frames, tie-dyed T-shirts and special- occasion items created by SERV’s consumers with developmental disabilities in the Arts & Crafts class, with assistance from PAC staff. Store hours open to the public are 10-11 a.m. and noon to 1:30 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

Read more: Racks at PAC

SERV adds properties

SERV Properties and Management Inc. recently added three apartment buildings and three group homes to its list of properties.

All three apartment buildings are located in Hudson County. Of the 38 total apartments, 16 of these units will be Supportive Housing Units that will ensure that our consumers have affordable, decent and permanent housing. In addition to rental support, consumers will have individualized support services as well as access to a flexible and responsive system of community supports to help them maintain their independence. These services will be provided by SERV Centers of New Jersey Hudson County.

Read more: SERV adds properties

Letter to the editor

This Letter to the Editor from SERV Behavioral Health System, Inc.'s President and CEO Gary van Nostrand appeared in The Times of Trenton on Nov. 4, 2008

Many ways to help a favorite nonprofit

Kudos to Ruthellen S. Rubin for her op-ed piece ("Nonprofits feel the strain," Oct. 21) about nonprofit agencies and their need for support from the community. Her article was particularly timely as nonprofits "feel the strain" from withering government funding and the diminishing support from corporations that have been so dependable in the past.

Read more: Letter to the editor