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CAREGIVER VOLUNTEERS OF CENTRAL JERSEY
“Caring For People by People Who Care”
Barbara Devlin, and her husband Jack, returned home to Toms River after visiting her father in West Virginia. Barbara was full of enthusiasm about an interfaith volunteer program in her father’s community that helped those who could no longer drive by taking them to medical appointments, shopping for their groceries, visiting the lonely and providing respite for the family caregiver.
They approached Monsignor Ladzinski at St. Joseph Roman Catholic Church in Toms River with this interfaith concept. He recognized the needs in our community to help the elderly homebound and was anxious to start a program here in Ocean County. In January, 1993, Caregiver Volunteers of Central Jersey opened their first office in Beachwood.
A quarter century later, we now have 60 interfaith congregations in our coalition and over 1,200 volunteers in 23 municipalities of Ocean County. In March, 2016 our agency opened in Monmouth County. We now serve 13 municipalities with more than 120 volunteers, and we continue to grow. Collectively, these volunteers reach out their hands and help more than 2,000 elderly, disabled, veterans, lonely and homebound, and provide respite for the family caregiver.
In 2002, we introduced a unique program, Alzheimer’s Respite Care. Volunteers visit at the home of an individual with dementia and relieve the family caregiver. They visit each week for up to 3 hours. This “one of a kind program” brings relief and peace of mind to the caregiver. These volunteers are trained to interact with the individual with dementia and bring joy into their lives. We are currently introducing a new initiative for this program, Connection thru Music, an intergenerational program designed to awaken memories and sense of self in individuals with dementia.
In 2009, we introduced our in home pet therapy program, Caregiver Canines®. This program brings a great deal of pleasure into the homes of those who are no longer able to care for a pet. This program has been replicated nationally and we now have 11 chapters throughout the United States.
As a 501 C3 agency, we do not charge for our services. Our funding comes from government grants, foundations, and generous donors.
As our aging population grows, the need to recruit and train new volunteers increases. With the help of our interfaith community and our generous donors, our hope is to continue to provide the vital services that transforms the lives of our elderly population.