NJ Coalition 4 Education & Positive Choices received the 2019 Governor’s Jefferson Award

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Michele Sylvin, Director of Communications, East Hanover Councilman Brian Brokaw, Florham Park Mayor Mark Taylor and Hanover Township Committeeman Tom "Ace" Gallagher

HANOVER TOWNSHIP — On Sunday, May 19, NJ Coalition 4 Education & Positive Choices were invited to the 2019 Jefferson Awards Celebration of Volunteerism at the War Memorial /Patriot Theater in Trenton to accept the “2019 New Jersey State Governor’s Jefferson Award.”

From hundreds of nominations, only a few rose to the level of service meriting special recognition in each category.

Members of the Coalition, Hanover Councilman Brian Brokaw, Florham Park Mayor Mark Taylor and Hanover Township Committeeman Tom “Ace” Gallagher were presented with a “Certificate of Appreciation” and a Jefferson Awards Lapel Pin Medallion to wear in recognition of their service. Michele Sylvin, Director of Communications, was also at the event.

NJ Coalition 4 Education & Positive Choices was formed to fight a critical situation that is destroying the lives of our kids. Addiction, the opioid/heroin crisis, and now vaping are just some of the issues that are causing people to die, too often and much too early.  Deaths from fentanyl are rising.  Statistics show that just about everyone knows someone affected by addiction and/or some kind of substance abuse. We are losing the fight and the best way to combat the problem is to arm the public with information. Knowledge is power and the Coalition is motivated to go to war.

Members of the NJ Coalition for Education & Positive Choices have collectively used their expertise to reach out to families.  Working together, they have advanced the quality of education being disseminated to parents about substance abuse.

Discovering there was a big disconnect from the incredible drug and alcohol curriculum being taught to our children at school and the amount of information actually being shared with the parents by our children and other sources had to be addressed, the Coalition was motivated to take positive action.  Special programs were set up for parents to increase awareness and to address the latest trends in substance abuse as well as the opiate epidemic with resources on how and where to get help.

The Coalition’s mission has been the development of a positive lifestyle for youth by providing special programs to increase self-esteem and confidence.

Their many initiatives have included family picnics, volleyball tournaments, ice skating to the music of a DJ at Mennen Sports Arena, and special nights devoted to law enforcement, firefighters, martial arts, fitness and many more.

By keeping children busy with positive activities and providing alternatives, they can develop interests they might not otherwise know they had and will develop confidence in pursuing things at which they can excel.

Because of their success and favorable accomplishments, the Coalition was invited to speak before the NJ Assembly to discuss strategies for increasing awareness and providing positive alternatives for our youth. They are soon to unveil a website and an app for parents and children.

Volunteers are the unsung heroes of our state. In addition to the substantial financial impact volunteerism provides to thousands of New Jersey’s non-profit organizations, volunteers foster a sense of greater community and well-being, often directly impacting the lives of children, the elderly and less fortunate among us. Recognizing volunteers who reflect the Jeffersonian ideals of citizen involvement seems only right.

The New Jersey State Governor’s Jefferson Awards is a joint program administered by The Community Foundation of New Jersey, The Star-Ledger Powering NJ.com, and The Governor’s Advisory Council on Volunteerism, with support from corporate underwriters.  It is a local program of The Jefferson Awards.

The Jefferson Awards is a national volunteer recognition program established in 1972 by the American Institute for Public Service in cooperation with the U.S. Senate and the White House. Designed to honor volunteers in all areas of the United States, the programs are coordinated by local media partners.