The power of social media

Miles for Matheny returned downtown in 2012.

For the fourth consecutive year, Matheny has won a PeRCy Award, presented by the Healthcare Planning & Marketing Society of New Jersey to recognize the best in New Jersey healthcare planning, marketing and public relations programs. Matheny has been selected as a co-winner for Best Use of Social Media in Healthcare. Our entry, “Returning Miles for Matheny Downtown,” demonstrated how social media helped galvanize community support to block a small group of neighbors from preventing our move of Miles for Matheny back to downtown Peapack from Natirar Park.

The PeRCy Awards will be presented at HPMSNJ’s annual meeting on December 7 at the National Conference Center in East Windsor. Last year, Matheny won for Best Small Hospital Public Relations/Media Placement for our partnership with CBS New York television and radio stations to promote Miles for Matheny.

‘Good Time’ at ArtWorks event

Matheny students Natalie Tomastyk and Bianca Mathis, performing with music therapy intern Betsy Barone.

The Matheny Muses, a young group of eclectic artists and performers from Matheny’s choir, performed their rendition of Owl City and Carley Rae Jepson’s “Good Time” at the 10th annual Express Yourself-New Jersey event held Sunday, November 11 by ArtWorks: The Naomi Cohain Foundation at the Montclair Art Museum.

ArtWorks provides children and young adults suffering from chronic and life-threatening illnesses, and their siblings, access to creative and performing arts programs in a safe environment that encourages healing, communication, self-expression and personal development. Express Yourself is a creative and performing art exhibition that provides these children and young adults with an open and loving forum to express themselves—through singing, dancing, reciting poetry, playing instruments and standing proudly by their works of art.

Although the Matheny students are all in wheelchairs, they feel music reminds them not to sit in defeat but to move to the beat, making them feel as if they were back on their feet. The Music Therapy program at Matheny uses various types of music to positively impact students’ and patients’ cognitive, physical, emotional and social skills, helping them realize their potential in society.

Not business as usual

We are so grateful to our food and beverage sponsors for Full Circle 2012: Unexpected Art. All five of those graciously planning to donate food and beverages at the originally scheduled Full Circle, on November 3, have come forward to say they are still on board now that the date has been changed to December 1. And this, despite losing business as a result of a power outage during Hurricane Sandy.

We are very appreciative of the incredible generosity of Café Azzurro and cocoLuxe fine pastries, Peapack; Gladstone Tavern, Gladstone; 3 West, Basking Ridge; and Village Office Supply, Somerset.

Beautiful success

From left, nursing staff members Tammy Culp, Lexie McKevitt, Pearl Chiang, Janice Lori and Nancy Bonello.

Matheny nurse Pearl Chiang’s October art exhibit, “Life is Beautiful,” at The Bridgewater, NJ, library has ended, but the memories of it will linger for those who attended. As previously reported, the display consisted of 30 paintings, which were rotated because the space available could only hold 10.

The exhibit was supported by Chiang’s many coworkers among the Matheny nursing staff and was highlighted by visits from her parents and other relatives from her native Taiwan. Chiang moved to the United States from Taiwan 22 years ago.

In the fall of 2011, she had a 38-painting exhibit at the Art Yards Café in Taipei. And she recently enlisted a group of high school students to assist her in completing a mural, “Paradise,” in the children’s dining room at Matheny.

Family fashion

Student Shane Szott and recreation therapy intern Monica Campbell

Recreation therapy at Matheny provides our students and patients with a variety of recreational opportunities and resources to improve their physical, emotional, cognitive and social well-being. Activities can range from participating in adaptive sports to taking simple shopping trips to more adventurous camping trips.

Anika Brown-Dyer, a recreation assistant, noticed that several of the Matheny residents had a special interest in fashion, so she decided to help them stage a fashion show that would also include staff members and family members. The show, held last month in the Robert Schonhorn Arts Center, offered Matheny students and patients the opportunity to choose their own clothes and pick the accompanying music. “I strongly believe,” says Brown-Dyer, “that when you look good, you feel good.” Who can really argue with that?

Student Deborah Eike and her father Russ Eike

An accomplished artist

“Woman” by Cheryl Chapin.

What’s the difference between art created and performed by artists with developmental disabilities and those who are able-bodied? Sonya Kimble-Ellis, the writing facilitator in Matheny’s Arts Access Program, has noticed that, “aside from infusing personal and life experiences into the work, the beauty, intensity and integrity remains the same. Artists with developmental disabilities, however, also aren’t afraid to take risks that often lead to unexpected results.”

For example, take the art of Cheryl Chapin, a resident of Matheny’s group home in Basking Ridge and a participant in the Arts Access Program, which enables people with disabilities to create fine art assisted by professional-artist facilitators. Chapin’s work includes paintings, digital art, dance and dramatic and poetic writings. She has been creating art for more than 18 years, and according to Kimble-Ellis, “Her passion for reading and conversation is infectious. She also gets joy from creating acrylic paintings and digital art.”

Her visual art pieces have been on display at the Atrium Gallery in Morristown, NJ; the Grounds for Sculpture in Hamilton; the Wallace Art Gallery at Overlook Hospital in Summit; and Johnson & Johnson in Raritan. One of her pieces, titled “Lights in a Far Off Galaxy,” can be seen on a traffic box in Warren Township, NJ, at the intersection of Mountain Avenue and Stirling Road.

Chapin will have her written pieces showcased in the stage presentation at the rescheduled Full Circle 2012: Unexpected Art, a celebration of the Arts Access Program now being held from 3p.m.-6 p.m. on December 1in the Robert Schonhorn Arts Center at Matheny. She will also have two pieces of visual art on display: “Woman” (pictured) and “Falling Leaves.” The visual arts exhibit has been curated by Dan Fenelon, a Madison, NJ-based, award-winning artist who continually gives back to the local community.

All reservations originally purchased for November 3 will be honored December 1. To purchase tickets for the first time, email or call (908) 234-0011, ext. 260. If you purchased a ticket but are unable to attend on the new date, refund requests will be honored by contacting Patricia Cats at email address/phone number above.


Election day

Matheny student Raven Bennett after casting her ballot.

The right to vote is a privilege many Americans probably take for granted. But for the students and patients at Matheny, Tuesday, November 6, was a very special day. Several Matheny residents were transported to the Peapack-Gladstone polling place to exercise their rights as citizens. Student Raven Bennett was very happy that she voted, but she had one disappointment. “People get very excited over voting,” she said, “and then it’s over too quickly.” Another student, Yasin Reddick, also found the experience very exciting, adding, “Finally, my vote is counted.  My opinion counts.” It was the ultimate civics lesson and one they will not soon forget.

The Voting Accessibility for the Elderly and Handicapped Act of 1984 generally requires polling places across the United States to be physically accessible to people with disabilities for federal elections.

Moving forward

“Blue” by James Lane.

All of us at the Matheny Medical and Educational Center hope that our friends and supporters are recovering from the effects of Hurricane Sandy. 

Full Circle 2012: Unexpected Art, the annual celebration of our Arts Access Program, has been rescheduled for Saturday, December 1.  Matheny will be donating 50% of all proceeds from the sale of Arts Access merchandise to support hurricane relief efforts.

We are pleased to have this opportunity to honor and showcase the Arts Access artists and their creative spirits. Please join us from 3 p.m.-6 p.m. on December 1 in the Robert Schonhorn Arts Center at Matheny for a fine art exhibit and stage performance featuring all original works by Arts Access artists in painting, digital art, sculpture, drama, dance and creative writing..

To purchase tickets, call (908) 234-0011, ext. 260 or email To purchase tickets online, click here ( If you have already paid for your tickets, we will apply your registration to the new date. If you are unable to attend, you may request a refund by contacting Patricia Cats at the phone number/email address listed above.

Full Circle will honor the life and memory of  Robert Schonhorn, the late Matheny president whose vision and love of the arts brought this groundbreaking program into prominence on a state and national level.

Arts in Healing Coalition

“Church in PA” by Cindy Shanks.

Two of the artists in our Arts Access Program, Cindy Shanks and Jessica Evans, have had artwork accepted in a juried exhibition to be held by the Arts in Healing Coalition from Oct. 17 through Jan. 14, 2013, in the Carol G. Simon Cancer Center at Morristown Medical Center.

Shanks says her painting style is “about having fun. It’s also about love. The painting titled ‘Church in PA’ is about a place that I went to as a teenager. I came up with the name first and then did the painting.” When Evans does her artwork, it allows her to get out “what I’m feeling. When you’re in a doorway or room, and you can’t get out, you feel trapped and confined. That was the idea behind the painting, ‘Trapped and You Can’t Get Out’. It’s how I was feeling that day.”

The Arts in Healing Coalition at Atlantic Health System, which also includes Overlook Medical Center in Summit, NJ, and Newton Medical Center, was created by a group of passionate people from the community who recognize and understand the value of the arts in the healing process. Members of the Coalition educate, inspire and encourage people to participate and share the healing benefits in the creative process.

Matheny’s Arts Access Program enables people with disabilities, such as Shanks and Evans, to create fine art, assisted by professional artist-facilitators. The Arts in Healing Coalition will hold a combination reception and holiday party from 4:30-6:30 p.m. on December 11 in Auditorium B at the Morristown Medical Center.

“Trapped and You Can’t Get Out” by Jessica Evans.


Season of solidarity

Sanofi-Aaventis volunteers, from left: Kathy Brown, Tricia Baisley, Antonella Lozito, John Clouse and Terri Pedone.

Sanofi-Aventis, the global healthcare leader that discovers, develops and distributes therapeutic solutions to treat diseases, has always considered volunteerism a part of its culture. This year, employees of Sanofi US, headquartered in Bridgewater, NJ, participated in a special month-long volunteer program called “Sanofi Season of Solidarity: Volunteering to Support a Healthier Community.”

On October 21, 17 Sanofi-Aventis employees spent a day a Matheny, helping to spruce up the grounds by performing a variety of chores including raking leaves, painting and general yardwork.

Post-hurricane update

All power has been restored to Matheny. As a result The Matheny School will reopen on Wednesday, November 7. All phone and online services are also up and running.

Our thoughts are with all of our families, friends and supporters during this difficult time, and we hope you are recovering from the storm and are able to return to a normal life as soon as possible.

Post-Hurricane Advisory

Due to the effects of Hurricane Sandy, Matheny is currently operating on emergency generators. Our medical staff is working full-time, and all of our patients are fine. Although our external telephone service has been restored, it is subject to intermittent outages. If you have a true emergency and need to reach Matheny, please call (908) 216-4139.

The Matheny School will be closed Monday, November 5, and Tuesday, November 6. A decision about the rest of the week will be made by noon on November 6. Parents of day students will be notified via the phone chain. Parents of students residing at Matheny will be able to access information on the Matheny website and Facebook page.

1 2