The MAPS Foundation of South Jersey Inc., developed by Margate resident Rose Silverman in 2001, works to alleviate discomfort and increase productivity for those living with multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer's disease or Parkinson's disease.

For the past decade, the nonprofit organization has provided aid to those in need of medical treatment, and as a result, has helped assist local law enforcement, Atlantic County Sheriff Frank Balles said.

MAPS, which is directly affiliated with eight sheriff departments - including Atlantic County's - pays monthly costs for clients that benefit from Project Lifesaver, a tracking program utilized by the sheriff's departments nationwide. The initiative uses state-of-the-art technology in the form of a wristband transmitter that helps locate Alzheimer's patients if they wander from their homes or nursing facilities.

"MAPS has helped us out greatly," Balles said. "And there are always people on the waiting list."

The program itself costs a patient about $300, explained Balles, with an additional $10 maintenance and battery fee each month. At first, many did not get involved simply because of the expense, he added.

Currently, MAPS helps support more than 50 clients in South Jersey with Project Lifesaver. According to reports provided by the Sheriff's Department, in late January, a Somers Point man with dementia was reported missing, having walked from his home. Within five minutes, he was found and brought back due to his transmitter bracelet.

"They not only benefit us, but they are helping other sheriff's offices throughout the state," Balles said of MAPS' involvement.

The MAPS team is able to pay the monthly installments, relying heavily on its main fundraiser, the Sounds of the Season Festival of Dance and Song, Silverman said, which is held each December.

"If we don't have the fundraiser, we're not going to make it," Silverman said, worried after receiving a recent email from Resorts Casino Hotel in Atlantic City stating that it could no longer accommodate MAPS.

"We knew it was too small an area that we were in," Silverman said of their 11th winter fundraiser.

The event, a four-week showcase of song and dance, has taken place at Caesars Hotel and Casino, Tropicana Casino and Resort, and Trump Taj Mahal.

This December, 28 local dance studios and 36 school choirs, including Charter Tech High School for the Performing Arts, the Tighe School and Ventnor Elementary, performed to passersby, friends and family to collect funds.

The event raised about $10,000, Silverman said.

"It's a show unto itself," Silverman said, referring to the elaborate costumes worn by the performers. "And we need it so that the money can be applied to next year."

As of 2012, MAPS has provided medical equipment and relevant aid to 141 clients in the South Jersey area.

But, as the economy continues to worsen, Silverman and her board members were forced to adjust their rules and regulations to accommodate as many clients as possible without folding.

"We have about 65 to 70 clients that are eligible (based on their income levels) to receive our assistance," she said. "We faced the fact that we couldn't keep up."

Silverman and her board of 13 believe that their December fundraiser not only benefits MAPS, but the local casinos as well, through the large crowds they help generate. The former New York resident hopes a larger casino will hop on board.

"What we need is a casino like Borgata or Revel or Harrah's, set up for evening entertainment. That would be ideal for us," she said.

Silverman and MAPS still hope to hold their annual spring luncheon and walk-a-thon to solicit more donations.

To learn more about the services MAPS provides or to donate, call 609-822-9093 or visit

Contact Caitlin Honan: