In 1976, Curtis Colby befriended a boy named Joey, whose father had died. Curtis spent time mentoring him as a volunteer and discovered Joey's younger brother also was in need of a strong male role model. This connection was the original impetus for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Monmouth & Middlesex Counties, which connects youth with responsible and positive adult mentors through community- and school-based programs to help change their lives for the better. Youth aged 6–14 who have one-on-one relationships with mentors have reported increased self-esteem, an improved ability to express their feelings, and better attitudes toward school.
CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) for Children of Monmouth County helps watch over children who have been removed from their homes due to abuse or neglect and advocates for their best interests in court. After 30 hours of intensive training, CASA volunteers ensure that each child?s voice is present in court proceedings, with the hope of securing safe, permanent homes where children can grow and thrive. Each advocate champions one child or group of siblings, researching the case, interviewing parties relevant to it, and providing valuable information to the court so judges can make the best decisions concerning the child?s future. Volunteers work with the child for as long as necessary?from a few months to a few years?until he or she is placed in a safe home.
Since its inception, all the plays that Two River Theater has produced have shared a common thread: capturing the human experience. Bridging the gap between players and audiences, their intimate performances have made them a New Jersey treasure, leading to three Theater of the Year awards from the New Jersey Theater Alliance and The Star Ledger, as well as designation as a Major Impact Organization by the New Jersey State Council of the Arts. Giving them space to play along the way are two theaters: the 350-seat Joan and Robert Rechnitz Theater, where six-play subscription seasons and holiday shows unfold, and the 99-seat black box Marion Huber Theater.
The Watershed Butterfly Festival, presented by the Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association, will teach families about their local environment. Kids can get face to antennae with butterflies and other insects at the insect zoo, and families can explore nature on hayrides, walks, and at the festival's interactive enviro-zones. After learning all about a butterfly's lifecycle and rambling along on a trail, guests can take in the fest's butterfly parade. Other entertainment will include live music from Grammy-nominated kids' artist Miss Amy and classic rock from The Dadz. Food and art will also be available from local artisans.
Helmed by lifelong artist Cindy Laliwala, The Painter's Loft unleashes children's and adults' inner creativity through welcoming workshops for all skill levels. Adult sessions allow guests to bring drinks and snacks, encouraging guests to socialize while they learn to paint a special themed picture. Children's classes, meanwhile, begin with lessons that focus on drawing and painting skills and advance to cover an array of art forms, teaching kids how to create watercolor paintings, carvings, and even mosaics.
Across five full days of action, kids young and semi-young will undergo a comprehensive camp curriculum chock-full of running, throwing, catching, blocking, teamworking, confidence building, high-fiving, and more. If desired, campers ages 11–14 with at least one year of tackle football experience may enroll in the accelerated-skills sections, which feature advanced lessons in the same non-contact environment. All campers are led by professional educators from the high-school and collegiate level, and each day's knowledge bowl soars even higher with visits from Eagles greats, ranging from Fred Barnett to the great Pete Retzlaff (Philadelphia Eagles players vary by camp location). By teaming up with experienced players and coaches, kids will be treated to comprehensive instruction that goes beyond purely mechanical skills.