Like a ‘Second Family’

tj rasmussen, nicky

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

first chance 2015 bonnie gould

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.”

mitzner bat mitzvah zoey misty

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

mitzner bat mitzvah project

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!”

Lowe’s Heroes

Each year, as part of the Lowe’s Heroes program, employees from the Lowe’s home improvement chain volunteer thousands of hours of their time to help out with projects that benefit communities.

Lowes groupfix2

Lowe’s Heroes, from left: Ronald Gagliociello of Andover Twp.; Brandon Neuman, Long Valley; Anthony Defrancesco, Budd Lake; Sean Temple, Mount Arlington; Jordan Holman, Budd Lake; and Colin Depuy, Hackettstown.

At Matheny, we have our own Lowe’s heroes – volunteers from the Flanders, NJ, store, who have weeded our vegetable garden and constructed cedar planters. They’re also planning to do some heavier work in other garden areas at Matheny – removing overgrown bushes and pruning the trees

Thanks, Home Depot!

This past April, a group of about 20 employees from the Home Depot stores in Bridgewater, NJ, visited Matheny to create planting gardens for a Matheny School science project and to do major makeovers for the nature trail and ball field. In addition to completing all this work, the Home Depot team toured Matheny, enthusiastically embracing our mission and showing genuine concern about the well-being of Matheny’s students and patients. Plans are in the works for more projects in the fall.

home depot 1 plaque

From left, Sandy Josephson, Matheny director of public relations and development; Home Depot employees from the Bridgewater Promenade store, Morris Archer, Russ Bloss, John Pingitore (store manager), and Rich Aaron; Matheny trustee Larry Thornton.

Home Depot _202 placque

Home Depot employees from the Bridgewater Town Centre store, from left, Lorin Suplee, Tyana Bell, Jeff Pemberton (store manager), John Wells and John McCall.

In appreciation of Home Depot’s efforts, Matheny staff members and a member of the Board of Trustees visited both Bridgewater stores recently and presented special plaques thanking the Home Depot employees for their “dedication and commitment to our children and adults with special needs.”

Congressional Visit

Congressman Leonard Lance, who represents New Jersey’s Seventh Congressional District, is also co-chair of the Congressional Arts Caucus. On July 20, he visited Matheny and met some of the artists in Matheny’s Arts Access Program.

Arts Access empowers individuals with disabilities to create art without boundaries. Assisted by professional artist-facilitators, participants can take part in the visual, performing, and literary arts. This past April, Arts Access received a $10,000 grant for Arts Engagement in American Communities from the National Endowment for the Arts. The grant will support Full Circle 2015 Perspectives, the annual celebration of Arts Access to be held Saturday, November 7, in the Robert Schonhorn Arts Center on the Matheny campus.

aa lance t.j.

Arts Access artist T.J. Christian explained the art facilitation process to Congressman Lance during his visit to the studio in the Robert Schonhorn Arts Center.

Congressman Lance has been a strong supporter of Arts Access and served as Honorary Chair of Full Circle 2013 Reflections, the 20th anniversary celebration of the program. In his role as co-chair of the Congressional Arts Caucus, he presided over the Artistic Discovery Contest, a nation-wide high school arts competition, sponsored every spring by members of the U.S. House of Representatives. Eileen Murray, director of Arts Access, was one of the judges in that competition. Congressman Lance has also served as a member of the New Jersey Council on the Humanities, and, prior to his election to Congress in 2008, was a trustee of the Newark Museum and the McCarter Theatre in Princeton

Day of Caring


janssen, blaxill, cheryl, kristen

Kristen O’Dowd of Colts Neck, NJ, right, and Cheryl Wieczorek of Middlesex, NJ, help Matheny student Megan Blaxill make her luau mask.

“I just want to make sure they are having a good time.” That comment typified the enthusiastic spirit of several Janssen Pharmaceuticals volunteers who recently helped  Matheny School students celebrate an end-of-the-year luau. The volunteers, from Janssen’s Raritan, NJ, offices, participated in several activities including mask making and adapted sports games.

The visit was part of a program called Days of Caring in which groups of Janssen employees work together to help further the missions of non-profits. The Days of Caring events, according to the Janssen website, “give employees the opportunity to give back to their communities and take part in rewarding volunteer experiences.”  Janssen, a pharmaceutical company of Johnson & Johnson, provides medicines for an array of health concerns in several therapeutic areas including attention deficit hyperactivity, general medicine and mental health.

Janssen group

The Janssen volunteers gathered outside for a group photo at the end of the day.

Matheny’s Special Athletes

Matheny athletes took home nine Gold and six Silver medals at the 2015 New Jersey Special Olympics Summer Games held at the College of New Jersey. Misty Hockenbury, Lee Lubin and Shaleena Tomassini won two Gold Medals each: Hockenbury and Lubin won their Gold Medals  in the 25-meter motorized wheelchair obstacle race, and 50-meter motorized wheelchair slalom; Tomassini won for the 100-meter wheelchair race and the 200-meter wheelchair race. Other Gold Medal winners were Bari-Kim Goldrosen for power lifting; Jameir Warren-Treadwell for the wheelchair tennis ball throw; and Ellen Kane for the 25-meter motorized wheelchair obstacle race.

Silver medals were won by Yasin Reddick in the 30-meter wheelchair motorized slalom and the 50-meter motorized wheelchair slalom; Amanda Kochell and Jason Weiner for bocce mixed doubles; Warren-Treadwell for the 25-meter wheelchair race; and Kane for the 50-meter motorized wheelchair slalom.  Kochell and Weiner also won a Silver medal bocce unified, in which they teamed up with two Matheny staff members,  recreation therapists Shannon O’Brien and Meghan Walsh.

state 15 ellen misty

Misty Hockenbury, left, and Ellen Kane celebrate their wins in the 50-meter motorized wheelchair slalom.

state 15 jason amanda

The unified bocce team, from left, Shannon O’Brien, Jason Weiner, Meghan Walsh, and Amanda Kochell.



Competition in Special Olympics is part of Matheny’s recreation therapy program, which provides students and patients with a variety of recreational opportunities and resources to improve their physical, emotional, cognitive, and social well-being.

Picture Perfect

The building of the Matheny Center of Medicine and Dentistry was a top priority for Steve Proctor when he joined Matheny as president in 1998. The Center was completed in 2003 and continues to serve both Matheny’s inpatients and people with disabilities in the community who need medical and dental care by doctors and dentists who understand how to treat and care for them.

proctor portrait hojnacki, edana, thompson

Steve Proctor, speaking to the crowd of well-wishers. From left, Friends of Matheny Nancy Hojnacki, Jean Wadsworth, Edana Desatnick, Karen Thompson.

So, it was fitting that the building should be renamed The Steven M. Proctor Medical Building after Proctor, who retired in December 2014. On June 9, 2015, the Friends of Matheny held a dessert reception there to unveil a portrait of Proctor, created by artist Joseph Sundwall.  Proctor, clearly moved by the event, thanked all the people he had worked with through the years, whose top priority, he emphasized, has  always been the care and well-being of Matheny’s students and patients. He added that the opportunity to be at Matheny was “a gift from God.”  He also expressed appreciation for all the contributions made to Matheny by the Friends of Matheny and paid a special tribute to former chair of the Board of Trustees, Daniel McLaughlin.

Team Goldman Sachs

goldman sachs 15 group

After the work was completed, the Goldman Sachs group gathered in the Matheny lobby for a group photo.


The rains came, and so did the Goldman Sachs volunteers.  As part of a global volunteer initiative called Community TeamWorks, several volunteers from Goldman Sachs offices in New Jersey and New York visited Matheny on June 5, completed major renovation projects on Matheny’s grounds and installed lots of new plants and flowers. The weather didn’t exactly cooperate, but, donning ponchos and other rain gear, the GS volunteers completed their outside tasks and still had time to tour Matheny and visit some of the classrooms.

goldman sachs 15 tree 2

Goldman Sachs volunteers braved the elements to work in the garden outside the Matheny Center of Medicine and Dentistry.

Under the Community TeamWorks program, some 50 GS offices partner with more than 900 nonprofit community partners worldwide.

1 2 3 54