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Welcome to the Westfield United Fund

Our Mission is to help people in our area who need care and social services.

Our Purpose is to fund quality programs provided by independent agencies approved by the Westfield United Fund. We strive to identify unmet needs and to support programs and services that address the needs of individuals, families, teens, children, and seniors, including those with physical and psychological disabilities.

Our Goal is to be a community resource for residents in need as well as those looking for ways to give back.

 

 


Fund Distribution Makes the Hard Choices

Thank You to the members of our Fund Distribution Committee for their hard work! This group does the due diligence for the WUF, examining the programs we are asked to fund, and determining the best use for your charitable dollars. That's the WUF Difference!

Back row: Bob Gallagher, Mark Ukrainskyj, Emily Howell, Rob Mustard, Denise Ricci, Greg Blasi, John Gagliano, Geoff Marino; Front row: Caroline Ellison, Denis Sullivan, Ken Zierler, Ginny Malley Not pictured: Beth Riordan

A Wonderful Celebration!

Jenny Jaruzelski, seen above with her husband, Barry, received the first Linda Maggio WUF Champion Award, in recognition of her tireless efforts on behalf of the WUF. She is pictured receiving the award below, flanked by Executive Director Deirdre Gelinne, Westfield Mayor Shelley Brindle, and WUF Board President Jon Walker. We are grateful for all you do, Jenny!

Our Impact -- Check Out Our Short Video

Newcomers Club "Crawls" to support the WUF

Many thanks to Beth McDonough Saad and her friends in the Newcomers Club, who raised money for the WUF during their first annual Ugly Christmas Sweater Bar Crawl! We look forward to continuing the tradition with them next year!

Photo: Beth, at left, with Ugliest Sweater winners Ed Pyne, Ian Hooks and Dennis Sheehan, and WUF Trustees/judges Jessica Stewart and Ginny Malley.

 

Meet Our Staff!

Photo: Business Manager Nancy Vickers, Executive Director Deirdre Gelinne and Administrative Assistant Susan DiIorio keep the WUF on track!

 

WUF Partners with Northfield Bank via GWACC

WUF Executive Director Deirdre Gelinne receives a donation from Maria Fuentes, Northfield Bank, through the Greater Westfield Area Chamber of Commerce's Wish List program, which pairs local businesses with non-profits. GWACC Board Member Stephanie Branna (left) and Executive Director Gene Jannotti (right) oversee the program.

Two River Bank Supports the WUF

Executive Director Deirdre Gelinne receives a check for our annual campaign from Two River Bank executives Jodi Weinberg and Jeff Schneider.

Meet The Origami Club Kids

Executive Director Deirdre Gelinne with The Origami Club Kids (l. to r.): Emily Engel, Katie Palmer, Cottler Vierschilling, Greg Oliveri, Kaiyang Zhu, Richie Vasquez, Kevin Arndt

A group of fourth graders at Jefferson School who call themselves the Origami Club recently donated $155!  As Cottler Vierschilling explained in a letter to the WUF, he and some of his friends at school wanted to do something to help people in our community. They had also become interested in origami, the Japanese art of paper folding, and enjoyed learning to make a variety of shapes. They decided to form the Origami Club and began building an inventory of different shapes, following the instructions they found on Youtube. They made about 350 swans, stars, etc., which they sold to classmates at Jefferson School, along with lemonade.

Cottler's parents suggested that they donate the proceeds to the Westfield United Fund, since we help lots of people in the community. This was our first donation from a kids club! It's wonderful to see a group of kids who care about others in the community, and take action to help. What a great example of compassion in action! 

Amazon Smile

Did you know that you can support the Westfield United Fund through the Amazon Smile program? When you shop with Amazon, they will donate a portion of your purchase price to us! Just click on the following link, or paste it into your browser: 

http://smile.amazon.com/ch/22-1616758

Lavy House Hosts Monthly Information Sessions

The Lavy House Senior Resource Center opened on January 1, 2016. Since then, monthly information sessions have drawn seniors and their families in to learn more about the issues that concern them. Recent topics have included: Making Your New Year's Fitness Resolutions a Reality, Managing Chronic Illness, Nutrition for Seniors, Community Resources for Older Adults, Choosing a Home Health Aide, Medicare 101, Alzheimer's/Dementia and Falls Prevention. The presentations are coordinated with Jewish Family Service of Central NJ and funded by a grant from the Jewish Community Foundation of Greater MetroWest NJ. These programs are free and open to the entire community. 

The Lavy House Senior Resource Center is a joint project of the Westfield United Fund, Jewish Family Service of Central NJ and the Congregation of Temple Emanu-El. It is located in the Dr. Norman Lavy Community House, 748 East Broad Street, adjacent to the Temple property. The purpose of the center is to provide free information about local programs and services for all seniors in our community and their families. The Center is staffed by a licensed social worker provided by Jewish Family Service of Central NJ through a grant from the Jewish Community Foundation of Greater MetroWest NJ on Tuesdays from 9:30am-4:30pm. Please call 908-389-1263 to make an appointment.

Sarah receives help from a teacher at the Homework Club, part of our After School Tutoring program.

News & Events

Gerald's Story

I had the chance to get a great job with NJ Transit, but there was one catch: I needed a high school diploma. I had been out of school for 30 years, but with the help of Literacy Volunteers, I began preparing to take the GED. I met with my tutor, Dawn, every week, and she helped me build my confidence. The first time I took the test, I passed all of the sections except the Math. I missed it by just 4 points!

In the past, I might have given up, but with Dawn’s help, I hit the books again, determined to pass before January 1, 2014, when a whole new test was taking effect. I’ll never forget how nervous I was when I got that envelope in December. Thankfully, I passed – what a relief! Now I can get that job (with benefits!) and continue my education. Even more important, I’m setting a good example for my kids. Education counts.

Thanks to your support of the Westfield United Fund, 49 students in Union County passed the GED in 2013. For many of them, this is just the beginning. Some, like Gerald, are qualifying for better jobs than they had before, while other graduates are continuing their education at local colleges and universities. Many are voting for the first time, and parents are learning the joy of reading to their children. Their lives have been transformed through literacy, thanks to their hard-working tutors, and to generous donors like you who make their work possible.

Together We Make a Difference!

"I never thought that I would need help."

Until last year, Diana Cohen and her husband Harold were active older adults, living independently and enjoying the pleasures of family, friends and travel.
A long-time supporter of Jewish Family Service, Diana said, “I always thought that JFS was there to help other people. I never thought that I would need help.”

Everything changed for Diana last Thanksgiving, when she fell while visiting family in Vermont. She sustained serious injuries, and faced hospitalization, surgery, and the prospect of a long recovery. Her biggest worry was that she and her husband would not be able to cope with all of the logistics of her care once they returned home. “I didn’t know what to do,” she said, “so I called Tom.”

Tom Beck, the Executive Director of Jewish Family Service, reassured her
at once. “Don’t worry,” he told her. “We’ll send someone to your house the day you come home.” That someone was Rochelle Brodsky, one of the Nurse Coordinators
at JFS. Rochelle immediately took charge, laying out a plan for Diana’s care and recovery. She even “patient-proofed” the Cohen’s home. “Rochelle made all the difference,” says Diana, who is now fully recovered.

As a member of the Westfield United Fund, You make all the difference in
the lives of many people like Diana, who never thought that they would need help. Through your generosity, our agencies are able to provide vital services, so that seniors get the care they need to stay in their homes, low-income families receive child-care support, and people of all ages benefit from programs that address their physical and mental health needs.

This holiday season, as you celebrate with family and friends, remember that there are people nearby who need your help … some who never thought they would.

Together We Make a Difference!

Thanks to You, Ashley Has a Home!

When I asked Ashley what she liked best about the beautiful new house she had recently moved into, she said, “It’s a real home.” A simple, but powerful statement. How many of us stop to appreciate our homes on a regular basis? Whether it’s large or small, old or new, each of us has a home where we can truly relax and be comfortable.

Not everyone can say this, especially people with disabilities, who are often housed in institutional buildings. But thanks to the work of our agency partner, Community Access Unlimited, more people like Ashley are living in real homes. Not only is this a wonderful change for them, it’s a good thing for our community as well.

CAU buys rundown houses, and either replaces them or rehabs them to suit the needs of “differently abled” people. The community’s housing stock is improved, and disabled citizens become regular neighbors. Within their homes, they receive compassionate support from an attentive staff of caregivers.

You make this possible! With your support, Ashley and others like her are able to live with privacy and dignity, as full and independent citizens of our community.


When you give to the Westfield United Fund, you change lives …
for the better.

YOU Are Part of Sarah's Story ...

… because You support the Westfield United Fund.

Sarah is one of the students enrolled in the Westfield United Fund’s After School Tutoring program, which provides homework help for children in need. Before the program began three years ago, Sarah struggled with her homework, and her grandmother, Carrie, who is her guardian, wasn’t always sure how to help her.

Carrie says, “You cannot imagine how much it helped Sarah out with her class work, getting her homework in on time, correctly and finished, and having a teacher to help her out with any questions. Me, being a grandma and out of school for many years, was many times of no help to her and just confused her more, especially where the math problems came in. This program was ‘God Sent’ for Sarah and me.”

“The After School Tutoring program, a/k/a the Homework Club, has afforded students like Sarah the homework support they can’t get at home. Before we had this valuable program, these students experienced frustration, failure and ultimately apathy, that led to a decline in their overall academic performance. The Homework Club provides them with a supportive, caring environment that encourages them to take pride in their work, forge close relationships with teachers, and increases the likelihood of their academic success,” says Sarah’s principal.

Here’s how it works: The principals identify the students in their schools who are “at risk” academically, and whose families cannot afford to hire tutors to help them. The children meet with a teacher for an hour after school several days a week, in groups of 6-10 students. The program is offered at each of the six elementary schools, so it’s convenient for the students and their families, and staffed by teachers from those schools, who are familiar with the curriculum and can communicate easily with the students’ homeroom teachers. It’s a “Win-Win” for everyone involved, and your support makes it possible.

Thank you for enabling us to provide this program for Sarah and others like her. Together, we’re making a difference!