Brightening up the workplace

Jess Evans with Tim Peters and her painting, “Spiderweb.”

Several years ago, Tim Peters, president of Peapack, NJ-based Tim Peters and Company and LLC, purchased a painting by one of Matheny’s Arts Access artists at a silent auction. “Everyone who comes into the office loves the picture and comments on it,” he says. “We love how it looks in our office. It brightens up our day.”

More recently, Peters was reading the Winter 2015 issue of Matheny Matters, Matheny’s newsletter, when he spotted an article about a visit to the Visiting Nurse Association of the Somerset Hills in Basking Ridge, NJ, by two Arts Access artists. At the bottom of the page were images of two Arts Access paintings, “Spiderweb” by Jess Evans and an untitled piece by T.J. Christian. Peters contacted Arts Access and purchased both. Then, when he came to pick up the paintings, he met with both artists, who told Peters they would like to visit his office so they can see their paintings hanging. Plans are already in the works for these visits.

Arts Access enables artists with disabilities to create art without boundaries. Tim Peters and Company creates innovative print and software-based programs for the healthcare community. The firm has been on Peapack’s Main Street for more than 30 years.

Tim Peters with TJ Christian and his untitled painting.

Nursing challenge

Standing, from left, nursing students Bret Tokash, Jerome Bautista, Kathleen Duncil, David Hummer, Kelly Richard. In front, from left, Matheny students Jameir Warren-Treadwell and Shane Szott.

“We learn how to administer medications and communicate with non-verbal patients. It’s a challenge, but it’s been a really good experience coming here.” That comment by Bret Tokash of Stockton, NJ, was typical of the reaction of his fellow Raritan Valley Community College classmates, all nursing students who visit Matheny regularly as part of our sponsored nursing school program.

Affiliations with nursing schools such as RVCC’s have created a greater nursing community for the special care that Matheny’s population requires. And the nursing students are a source of recruitment for Matheny’s nursing department. Because of the diverse needs of Matheny’s patients, nurses have to be knowledgeable and competent in a broad spectrum of practice applications.

Miles for Matheny 2015

Participants in the Lu Huggins Wheelchair Walk last year.

The 18th annual Miles for Matheny, Matheny’s annual fundraiser and community event, will be held on Sunday, May 31, at Liberty Park in downtown Peapack. This year the event will include a new Fitness Walk in addition to the Lu Huggins Wheelchair Walk, five Cycling rides and a Kids Fun Run.

The signature event, of course, is the Wheelchair Walk, in which friends and families, along with Matheny staff, walk alongside more than 100 Matheny children and adults who “wheel” through the streets of downtown Peapack to the cheers of community members and other supporters.  The Cycling event offers a choice of 10-, 25-, 35- and 50-mile bike routes, plus the highly challenging “Hills of Attrition” endurance ride, all through the beautiful Somerset Hills countryside. The Kids Fun Run is open to children  ages 3–10, who are all winners—everyone receives a medal. The new one-mile Fitness Walk will precede the Wheelchair Walk, but all Fitness Walk participants are invited to join the wheelchair participants for a second mile around downtown Peapack. All participants and supporters will be able to indulge in The Friends of Matheny’s “Breakfast of Champions.”

Funds raised at Miles for Matheny will benefit programs and services that enhance the lives of the children and adults at Matheny and serve people with disabilities in the community. For more information, call (908) 234-0011, ext. 260, or email For sponsorship opportunities, call (908) 234-0011, ext. 315, or email

Peapack-Gladstone residents cheer the Wheelchair Walk participants as they roll past 23 Mendham Road.

Mask madness

Some of the many masks that were auctioned off.

The bar and dining room at Verve Bistro in Somerville, NJ, was packed on February 18, Fat Tuesday, for the kickoff of the restaurant’s Mardi Gras With Matheny celebration, which continued for four more days, from February 19 thru February 22. The festivities included a mask auction, which began with silent bids on Fat Tuesday and culminated on the final day, along with a gumbo cook-off. There were also plenty of flashy decorations and trinkets, along with the traditional Mardi Gras beads.

Mask sales on Sunday, February 22, totaled $1,200. That, combined with partial proceeds from all five days resulted in Verve making a $2,500 donation to Matheny. Matheny staff and students contributed to the effort by making most of the masks that were hanging for sale in the bar area. Verve owner Rick St. Pierre is well known as someone who gives back to the community. In fact, in 2011, he was Somerset County’s citizen of the year. Thank you, Rick!

Some of the Matheny mask makers, clockwise, from left: Donna Sykes, Center of Medicine and Dentistry clinic manager; Haeree Park, Arts Access project and event coordinator; Eileen Murray, Arts Access director; Burt Brooks, Arts Access performing arts coordinator; and Jodi Miguel, adult services instructor.

‘Give Kids a Smile’

Dental hygienist Christine Benato talks about the importance of brushing regularly.

The number one childhood disease is tooth decay, and the American Dental Association is working to combat it. Every February, the ADA launches a special promotional effort called “Give Kids a Smile,” which is designed to educate children and their families about dental hygiene.

On February 10, the Matheny Center of Medicine and Dentistry dental staff supported this effort by devising games and other fun activities to educate students in The Matheny School about good dental care. There was a Dental Bingo game, special props and a video featuring Captain Supertooth.

The MCMD specializes in healthcare in an outpatient setting for people with mild to severe developmental and intellectual disabilities. Dental services and treatments include X-rays, cleanings, cavity fillings, extractions, restorative dentistry, oral surgery and root canals. Services are provided in partnership with the Rutgers School of Dental Medicine.

Matheny student Sara Hoffman and her nurse, Nancy Winder, play Dental Bingo.

Bulldog Bugle

The Bulldog Bugle is The Matheny School’s student newspaper. Every high school student in the school assists in preparation of the paper, assisted by faculty member and editor Felicia Querrey. According to Querrey, “From prewriting, all the way to peer editing, the students worked very hard to produce the third edition of the Bugle, which was completed in February.”

Among the highlights of the latest Bulldog Bugle:

• A story on Matheny’s Thanksgiving festival by Jessica, Kathryn and Savannah.

• A report on the holiday concert by the Matheny Choir, written by Savannah, Daniel and Shane.

• An alphabetical advice list written by graduate Raven, who also served as co-editor.

Click here to download and read the entire Bulldog Bugle.

Super Sunday

Matheny resident Yasin Reddick with defensive lineman Daryl Campbell, left, and offensive lineman James Mattia.

The New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks were set to play in Arizona, but before that contest took place on Sunday, February 1, Matheny residents celebrated Super Sunday with members of the FDU–Florham Devils, varsity players from Fairleigh Dickinson University in Madison, NJ.

The FDU Devils had a losing record during the regular season, but their post-season performance (at Matheny) was a winning one. Thanks to the players and one member of their coaching staff for helping to put the “super” into Super Sunday for Matheny residents.

Matheny’s recreation therapy program provides our students and patients with a variety of recreation opportunities and resources to improve their physical, emotional, cognitive and social well-being. In addition, our students and patients often attend professional, college and high school sporting events. Next fall, the FDU Devils will likely be on the schedule.

From left, offensive line coach Matthew Lohrey, Matheny resident Jessica Evans and offensive lineman Dimi Artale.

Welcome visitors

Matheny resident Jessica Evans and volunteer Selma Ahmed.

“When you guys come here, you make my day brighter.” That’s how Matheny adult resident Jessica Evans greeted members of the eighth grade class at the Bedminster, NJ, School, when they visited on a recent Wednesday afternoon. For as long as anyone can remember, eighth graders from the school have been volunteering at Matheny once a week.

“It’s great to interact with the Matheny residents,” said student Selma Ahmed. “We all have fun.” On this visit, the Bedminster students started work on a banner they will carry in the Lu Huggins Wheelchair Walk during Miles for Matheny, the fundraiser and community event scheduled for Sunday, May 31. Ahmed also found time to help Evans polish her nails.

The group from Bedminster is just one of several school groups who visit Matheny patients and students regularly. For more information, call (908) 234-0011, ext. 282, or email

Ariana Myers, left, and Jasmine Campos work on the Miles for Matheny banner.

Good luck charms

Long Valley Middle School wrestlers with honorary captains, Shane Szott, left, and Jameir Warren-Treadwell.

A group of Matheny residents served as honorary captains at the January 22 Grade School League wrestling match between the Long Valley, NJ, Middle School and Watchung Hills Middle School. Long Valley defeated Watchung Hills, 46-42, and the impetus to win might have been indirectly provided by the visitors from Matheny.

Several members of the LV wrestling team, along with some other LVMS students, have been volunteering at Matheny as part of the “Include Me” program; and they have developed close personal friendships with Matheny residents. About 14 Long Valley Middle School students visited Matheny weekly during this past summer; and they have continued their visits during the school year, although not as frequently.

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

Long Valley volunteer Ricky DeFrance with Matheny resident Jameir Warren-Treadwell.

Educating future health care workers

SCVT student Megan Flores drives a power wheelchair, assisted by Sean Bielefeldt, Matheny director of recreation therapy.

The Health Occupations program at the Somerset Vocational & Technical High School in Bridgewater, NJ, offers its students the chance to learn about and experience career opportunities in health care. Students participate in clinical experiences at a variety of health care settings, shadowing health care professionals while they are working.

Recently, a group of nine Somerset Vo-Tech students visited Matheny. Each of the students identified a discipline of interest and spent a morning observing and assisting therapists and pharmacists while they were working with patients. The students also learned how to communicate with nonverbal patients by using various forms of augmentative communications systems. And they got to experience what it’s like to drive a power wheelchair with both a joystick and a head array and complete transfers with a mechanical lift system.

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