Holding Court

There were three-point attempts from several rows back in the Robert Schonhorn Arts Center auditorium, layups and jump shots on the stage, and a helping hand for Matheny students and patients, who were playing adapted basketball games. It was all part of the annual visit to Matheny by members of the Delbarton School varsity basketball team.

Participation in sports is very important to Matheny’s students and patients who compete in Special Olympics, play a variety of adapted sports, and often attend high school, college, and professional games as part of Matheny’s recreation therapy program. The Delbarton visit is greatly anticipated every year, stoking competitive fires and resulting in a lot of fun and camaraderie.

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Davis Bell, left, gives Matheny student Shane Szott some tips, while his Delbarton teammate Kevin Schroeder looks on.

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Dan Cimaglia helps Matheny student Ryan O’Connor shoot a basket.

Delbarton is an independent college preparatory school in Morristown, NJ, for boys, grades 7-12.


A CARS Christmas

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Matheny group home resident Jenny Cox receives presents from Jason Boege of Farmingdale, NJ; Santa Claus (Tom Brophy of Randolph), and Shari Comerford of Jackson.

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CARS volunteers gathered with Matheny residents and staff for a group photo at the end of a fun-filled day.

In 1974, auto racing photographer Ace Lane, Jr. and three other auto racing enthusiasts founded the Committee of Auto Racing Supporters (CARS). For the past 41 years, the CARS organization has not only been dedicated to car racing; its members have gone out of their way to cheer up the children and adults at Matheny during the holiday season.

Every year, CARS volunteers throw a Christmas party for residents of Matheny and its group homes, bringing presents for those who do not have strong family connections during the holidays. The most recent CARS Christmas Party was held on Saturday, December 19, and the dining room at Matheny was filled with the Christmas spirit as the CARS members, from all over New Jersey and neighboring states, brought gifts and holiday cheer to Matheny’s students and patients.

Hitting the Right Notes

“We love you!” That’s how members of the Matheny Choir were greeted by a well-wisher from the audience as they made their annual appearance at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) in Newark as part of the Holiday Express annual benefit concert on December 10. The choir sang “Snow Globe” and “Frosty” to standing ovations and then joined the Holiday Express band and singers for a rousing rendition of “Happy”, led by Holiday Express vocalist Lisa Rott.

Founded by Tim McLoone in 1993, Holiday Express has more than 100 professional singers and musicians who volunteer their time, along with an additional 1,300 volunteers. The band visited Matheny on November 22, one of about 60 appearances in November and December at hospitals, homeless shelters, nursing homes, and other places where people need cheering up.

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From left, choir member Corey Kent, music therapy director Lynn Coyle, music therapy intern Genevieve Scott, and choir member Bianca Mathis.

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Choir member Natalie Tomastyk, cheered on by a Holiday Express singer.

The choir is part of Matheny’s music therapy program, which uses various types of music to positively affect students’ and patients’ cognitive, physical, emotional, and social skills, helping them realize their potential in society.

Make Your Year-End Donation

Your generosity will help kids, teens, and adults with disabilities like four-year-old Rishu, one of the many children whose lives have been vastly improved because of the programs and services provided by Matheny.

Make your tax-deductible gift before midnight December 31.



rishu on mat


Thanks Again, Home Depot!


Home Depot paving crew.


Bridgewater Promenade store manager John Pingitore with Matheny student Jenna Poleyeff.

Oldcastle Building Materials provided the pavers, and a large group of Home Depot volunteers provided the muscle and additional materials and equipment as they installed the pavers in the front of Matheny’s main building to give a new look to the patio area.

This is not the first time Home Depot has supported Matheny by helping to improve the grounds and facilities. Back in April, a group of employees from both Bridgewater, NJ, stores planted gardens for a Matheny School project and performed major makeovers on the nature trail and ball field. This time, they were assisted by volunteers from additional Home Depot stores in Dover, Roxbury, and Watchung, NJ.

Once again, Home Depot lived up to its motto that, “Giving back is a fundamental value of The Home Depot and a passion for its associates.”


Friendly Holiday Spirit

Each year during the holiday season The Friends of Matheny makes sure that every residential room at Matheny has a holiday wreath on the door. Several members of The Friends gathered on December 2 to fluff out the wreaths and them ready for distribution.

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Friends, from left: Karen Thompson, Nancy Hojnacki, Kathy Sisto, Helen Fallone, and Linda Horton

The Friends of Matheny is dedicated to providing support to Matheny. Since its inception in 1983, the volunteer organization has raised more than $3 million to support Matheny’s programs and services.

Annual Gift


Matt McDermott, an eighth grader at the Delbarton School in Morristown, NJ, and a resident of Basking Ridge, NJ, made his annual visit to Matheny to drop off a donation from funds raised at his family’s annual pool party. McDermott, accompanied by his mother, Susan McDermott, presented a check for $500 to Kendell R. Sprott, MD, JD, Matheny’s president and CEO.

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From left, Larry Thornton, Matheny trustee; Susan McDermott; Kendell R. Sprott, MD, JD; and Matt McDermott.

In addition to his support of Matheny, McDermott has formed a group called Athletes in Motion, designed to raise money for special athletes in the community. This is the fifth consecutive year that McDermott has delivered a donation of either cash or toys to Matheny. Thanks, Matt!

Holiday Liftoff

“There’s no place like Matheny. We’re dedicated to all of you in this room.” Tim McLoone, founder and leader of Holiday Express, the all-volunteer band that gives 60 concerts between mid-November and Christmas Eve, helped kick off the holiday season with a November 22nd concert at Matheny.

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Tim McLoone and Matheny resident Rasheedah Mahali

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Matheny student Daniel Gaudreau and his mother Regina.

The Robert Schonhorn Arts Center rocked to sounds of Holiday Express favorites such as “All I Want for Christmas is You”, “Nobody Ought to be Alone on Christmas”, and “Run Run Rudolph”, written and sung by Bedminster resident Byron Smith. The Matheny Choir joined the Holiday Express band for two songs, “Jingle Bells” and “Let it Snow”, and will be reappearing with Holiday Express on December 10 at its annual benefit concert held at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark.

Founded by McLoone in 1993, Holiday Express has been performing at Matheny since 2001. The organization has more than 100 professional singers and musicians who volunteer their time and more than 1,300 additional volunteers.

Celebrating Matheny’s Arts Access Program

“I am so very proud of the work being done here. No arts program is more unique than Matheny’s.” With those words, Nicholas Paleologos, executive director of the New Jersey State Council of the Arts and honorary chair of Full Circle 2015: Perspectives, welcomed those who had come to see a stage presentation of dance, drama and creative writing at the annual celebration of Matheny’s Arts Access Program. The stage presentation was accompanied by a visual arts exhibition featuring the work of more than 50 Arts Access artists.

Members of the community were also treated to food and beverages donated by Café Azzurro and cocoLuxe Fine Pastries in Peapack; Gladstone Tavern in Gladstone; 3 West and Urban Table in Basking Ridge; and Village Office Supply in Somerset. Gold sponsor of Full Circle was Mr. and Mrs. Man S. Yu; Bronze sponsors were John and Maureen Dreher, Mr. and Mrs. Lawrence H. Durr, Eagle Electrical Contracting Service, Dr. and Mrs. Richard Goldrosen, Melissa Heller, and Stephanie A. Young.

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“Zip A Dee Doo Dah”, a dance choreographed by Arts Access artist Dani Urso-King, was performed by Urso-King and professional dancer Patty Romano.

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Nicholas Paleologos and Arts Access artist Natalia Manning.

Eileen Murray, director of the Arts Access Program, emphasized that, “Every artist expresses a unique viewpoint. Art,” adding that, “art can change our perspective, or give us a new one.” Edana Desatnick, co-chair of Matheny’s Board of Trustees and parent of a Matheny resident, thanked everyone in attendance for their support of Matheny and the Arts Access Program.             

Grant from Kessler Foundation

Matheny’s  Arts Access Program has been awarded a Kessler Foundation Community Employment Grant of $100,000 to launch a unique vocational art project. Arts Access will partner with Arts Unbound, bringing together these two leaders in the realm of arts and disability to form Art Garden CSA. This CSA (community-supported art) project aims to connect artists with disabilities with art buyers in a way that has never before been attempted with this population.

Ten artists will be selected and commissioned to create original artwork that is unique to the Art Garden CSA. These works will then be distributed at three live pickup events around the state to anyone who buys one of the 25 available “shares”. At these pickup events, the shareholders will have the opportunity to meet the selected artists and see what awaits them in their box of limited edition art. The artists will work with the Art Garden team to learn and participate in important vocational practices such as blogging, thank you letters, self-promotion, relationship building, and many other entrepreneurial activities that are key to becoming a professional artist.

“We are so thankful to Kessler for supporting the Art Garden project,” said Eileen Murray, director of the Arts Access Program. “I’ve seen these artists work tirelessly to perfect their craft, and I’m so excited to see them move into careers as artistic professionals.” Margret Mikklesen, executive director of Arts Unbound, said, “With popularity spiking and community-supported art projects popping up all over the country, we are thrilled to launch Art Garden, which will be the first to exclusively represent artists with disabilities working within the state of New Jersey.”

A recent Kessler-led national study revealed that 68% of people with disabilities are striving to find work. Through its Community Employment Grant Program, Kessler Foundation funds non-traditional solutions that increase employment outcomes for citizens with disabilities. The arts fill this role by allowing individuals with disabilities to be self-employed and work on their own schedules. The Kessler Foundation is a public charity dedicated to improving the lives of people with disabilities.

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Arts Access artist Jessica Evans with Peapack-Gladstone businessman Tim Peters, who purchased her painting.

Arts Access is a unique fine arts program where individuals with disabilities can fully express themselves in the creative arts. Arts Unbound is a studio and gallery in West Orange, NJ, dedicated to the creative expression of persons with disabilities. Both organizations have been at the forefront of offering professional development opportunities for artists with disabilities through licensing and original artwork sales. The Art Garden CSA will launch early next year, and shares will be available for purchase in November 2015.

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