"Moving on up" is a theme of area nonprofits agencies in 2012. In the coming year they are building bigger and better facilities, moving into new headquarters, and seeking new office space where they can expand their missions.
The HERO Campaign for Designated Drivers is moving its four-person staff to new office space at Richard Stockton College of New Jersey in Galloway Township this month, where it plans to expand several programs in 2012, said founder and Chairman Bill Elliott.
The campaign will launch a Jersey Shore HEROES Program at bars and taverns from Barnegat to Cape May this summer, he said, in which bars will agree to offer free soft drinks to designated drivers. The campaign also plans to add up to 10 new HERO Colleges, which will adopt the designated driver campaign, Elliott said.
Elliott and wife Muriel planned to celebrate New Year's Day as guests of the New England Patriots, a team that registered more than 20,000 designated drivers at HERO Campaign booths in 2011. The campaign also plans to expand the registration program at NFL and Major League Baseball stadiums, and at Live Nation concert sites, in 2012.
The Community FoodBank of New Jersey, Southern Branch, hopes to be in its new building in the summer of 2012. Construction should start on the 29,000-square-foot facility this month, at the location of its former building on the Black Horse Pike in Egg Harbor Township, near the Garden State Parkway, said Executive Director Margie Barham.
"Unlike the old building, the new FoodBank is designed to be a food warehouse with higher ceilings, larger refrigeration and freezer space and room for forklifts and equipment to operate unencumbered," Barham said. "We will also have a loading dock, a feature we did not have in the old facility."
The FoodBank plans to start monthly workshops and to hold its First Annual Agency Conference in March, to provide education for its 250 partner agencies, which include many area food pantries. And it will continue to expand its Mobile Pantry to bring food on a monthly basis to communities that lack pantry services, Barham said. The first new mobile site planned is in Wildwood.
Family Promise of Cape May County, which houses and feeds homeless families with the help of religious congregations, wants to find a new day center. The facility is now located in a strip mall in Rio Grande, and functions as a place for adults to shower and use computers to look for work, and where pre-school children can be supervised. The space is too small for the dozen or so people it handles on a regular basis, said Executive Director Laurie Johnson.
The group would also like to find apartment buildings to function as transitional housing for families in the program, she said.
Atlantic Prevention Resources, which focuses on prevention of drug and alcohol abuse, is outgrowing its cramped offices on Main Street in Pleasantville, and would like to find new office space for some or all of its programs, said Executive Director Bob Zlotnick.
"We have been looking for a while and cannot seem to find the right place for us at the right price," he said.
The agency plans to increase programming for families and communities, and to engage parents more next year, he said. To counter the effects of funding cuts, it will start new fee-for-service programs, Zlotnick said.
Covenant House, which provides housing, education and support to homeless teenagers and young adults in Atlantic City, is considering opening a new facility in Camden, said Atlantic City Site Director Brian Nelson. He plans to increase volunteerism at the Atlantic City facility in the new year.
The South Jersey AIDS Alliance, which provides support, education and direct services to people affected by HIV and AIDS, located a new site at 112 N. 7th Street, Camden, where it will soon begin offering HIV prevention services. The agency will also continue to serve people through its offices in Atlantic City, Wildwood, Bridgeton and Millville, said President and CEO Keith Egan.
Egan said his agency most wants to change public perception about HIV and AIDS, and fight complacency, so sufficient funds are put into preventing and eradicating the disease.
"HIV/AIDS has not gone away. It is not cured. It is still unbelievably expensive to treat and it can have an impact on any of us," Egan said.
About one of every 50 year-round residents in Atlantic City is HIV positive, he said, compared to one in 300 U.S. residents. "And over their lifetimes, treating someone who is HIV positive can cost over $600,000," Egan said.
While Absecon Lighthouse on S. Rhode Island Avenue in Atlantic City isn't going anywhere, the nature of its neighborhood is about to change drastically with the opening of Revel Entertainment's new casino, said Executive Director Jean Muchanic.
"For years, 'location, location, location' has been a huge hurdle for us, trying to attract people off the Boardwalk and to travel beyond the last casino, (which had been) Showboat," Muchanic said. "This spring, 'location, location, location,' will be our most significant opportunity to attract new visitors." Revel is just a few blocks from the lighthouse.
Arc of Atlantic County, which provides services to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, plans to open at least three new group homes that will provide affordable and accessible housing, said Executive Director Debbie Davies.
Arc clients, like people everywhere, are struggling to find jobs in a sluggish economy, and Davies said the agency will also focus on the employment issue in 2012.
"Unemployment is very high among people with disabilities," Davies said. "We have established a special committee to seek creative approaches to this serious and difficult problem."
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