Like a ‘Second Family’

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T.J. Rasmussen helps out in a Matheny School classroom, assisting student Nicholas Barros.

Four years ago, a family friend suggested to T.J. Rasmussen that she might want to volunteer at Matheny. “I came to visit,” Rasmussen says, “and I fell in love with it.” To Rasmussen, a resident of Bedminster, NJ, Matheny is like a “second family.” She visits regularly, helping out in Matheny School classrooms, participating in recreation therapy activities or just socializing with the students and patients.

Matheny is just one of Rasmussen’s volunteer activities. She’s also a member of the Far Hills-Bedminster Rescue Squad and volunteers at Mane Stream, the Oldwick-based facility that offers adaptive horsemanship for individuals with disabilities. An added plus at Mane Stream is an opportunity to interact with Matheny School students when they go there for weekly therapeutic horseback riding sessions. Rasmussen is currently studying for her associate’s degree online and plans to either continue her education at Raritan Valley Community College or join the Air Force and become a paramedic.

Volunteers are needed at Matheny weekdays, evenings, and on weekends. Individuals can serve as recreation assistants, classroom aides, tutors, or just friendly visitors. For more information, call (908) 234-0011, ext. 282; or email



In the Swing

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Bonnie Gould chooses her golf shirts.

The Second Chance Shop, the Gladstone thrift shop operated by The Friends of Matheny, was packed by mid-morning on August 19, for “First Chance at Second Chance”, a one-day opening of the shop from 8:30 am. to 5:30 p.m. Located adjacent to the United Methodist Church on Jackson Avenue, the shop will reopen for the 2015-16 season on Wednesday, September 1. Among the early shoppers was Bonnie Gould, a resident of Basking Ridge, who was making only her second visit. Gould said she was impressed by the selection of golf shirts and was having trouble making a selection.

All proceeds from sales at Second Chance support the children and adults at the Matheny.



A Very Special Day


Zoey Mitzner, a student at Wiliam Annin Middle School in Basking Ridge, NJ, was always aware of Matheny, but, admittedly, “didn’t know much about it.” When she started thinking about a project for her bat mitzvah, she recalled that,“I wanted to help others and try to put a smile on as many faces as I could. I started researching, and Matheny looked like a perfect fit!” Mitzner met with Gail Cunningham, coordinator of volunteer activities, and David Curcio, volunteer assistant, and decided to create a “day of beauty” for some of the female students and patients.

“I then gathered my sister, Maddie, and two close friends, Adriana Giordano and Kathleen Finn,” she said. “Together we purchased all the supplies and extras to make this day as special as possible and, hopefully, unforgettable. We all can’t stop talking about our amazing experience at Matheny and our new friends. We only hope it was as meaningful for them as it was for us.”

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Zoey Mitzner and Matheny adult resident, Misty Hockenbury, during the ‘Day of Beauty’ event.

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From left, Maddie Mitzner, Adriana Giordano, Zoey Mitzner, and Kathleen Finn.

Mitzner’s bat mitzvah will be held August 15 at the Fiddler’s Elbow Country Club in Bedminster, NJ. “As part of my speech,” she said, “I plan on sharing our special day at Matheny and encouraging all of my friends to volunteer in the future. I will certainly be volunteering again at Matheny, with even more friends, possibly at Halloween and during the holidays. Trust me, this is only the beginning!”