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Helping people move forward.
Public speaking makes Jacki Romaine uneasy, but she put her fear aside Wednesday to stand in front of 100 guests and volunteers at NewBridge Services’ Thanksgiving celebration and share her gratitude for the nonprofit.
Romaine, who has battled depression since childhood, thanked NewBridge “for bringing back the real me!”
The mother of two was hospitalized a half dozen times before she found NewBridge. “I was always looking for the quick fix,” she said. Since enrolling in NewBridge’s Crossroads day treatment program two years ago, she has learned to manage her illness and thrive. “I’m less angry and I smile more,” Romaine said. “I have hope for my future!”
About 75 NewBridge clients attended the Thanksgiving feast at the First Reformed Church of Pompton Plains, enjoying turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, mixed vegetables and cranberry relish, with pies and coffee for dessert.
“This is a tradition I’ve enjoyed for years,” said Ann Brenneman, who lives in NewBridge housing. “A lot of people are estranged from their families, but we’re all very close.” Brenneman is hosting other NewBridge clients at her apartment on Thanksgiving.
“I like seeing friends here, and the food is nice,” said Dawn Gittleman, who especially liked the stuffing.
The event was sponsored by Century 21 Crest Real Estate in Pompton Plains, Carl Stahl Sava Industries in Riverdale, and former NewBridge board member Andy Mainardi and his wife, Priscilla. Volunteers from NewBridge, Century 21 and Carl Stahl Sava Industries served the meal in Friendship Hall, which the church provided for use.
Marc Alterman, president of Carl Stahl Sava Industries, told the gathering that he admired NewBridge and its clients. What they’ve accomplished “is very inspirational to us,” he said.
Client Steve Henry said he wouldn’t miss the gathering. “It’s great to see everyone here enjoying the food and each other’s company,” Henry said. “NewBridge is like family to me.”
NewBridge Services, a 501c(3) nonprofit, is a premier provider of counseling services, housing and educational programs in northern New Jersey serving more than 8,000 adults and seniors last year alone. NewBridge treats mental illnesses and addictions; teaches skills for coping with stress, grief and challenging relationships; builds and manages affordable housing; offers school-based programs that teach children and adolescents resiliency skills for healthy emotional development; helps young adults succeed in their education and prepare for careers; and supports seniors so they can remain independent. Throughout its more than 55-year history, NewBridge has remained true to its mission of bringing balance to people’s lives by tracking shifts in communities’ needs and providing innovative, effective programs to meet them.