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Friday, September 19, 2014

Learn Microsoft Excel in Blairstown during October

Blairstown-area residents are invited to learn introductory Microsoft Excel skills at Project Self-Sufficiency’s Main Street location on Thursdays, October 9th – 23rd, from 6:00 – 9:00 p.m.  Instruction will center on the creation of spreadsheets, databases and workbooks for use in tracking inventory, sorting data and creating mailing lists.  Students will learn how to add, subtract, multiply and divide rows and columns using formulas and become adept at storing, managing and interpreting data.  Students must complete the introductory level Microsoft Excel class before registration in the advanced course.  

The fee for each computer course is $10; students must be registered Family Success Center or Project Self-Sufficiency participants.  Participation in the introductory level Microsoft Excel course is required prior to registration in the advanced class.   The agency’s computer lab is located in the First Presbyterian Outreach Center at 35 Main Street in Blairstown. 

A complete roster of computer classes and employability skills courses are offered at Project Self-Sufficiency’s Newton location all year long, including classes in Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook; QuickBooks accounting software; workshops addressing techniques for job search, interviewing, resume development and financial management; and courses designed just for seniors and men. 

For more information, call the Project Self-Sufficiency office in Blairstown at 908-362-1777, or phone the agency’s Newton office at 973-940-3500.  Information about the agency’s services is also available at

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Young Mother Finds Help at Project Self-Sufficiency

Several years ago, Yolanda Dones was in a lonely and terrifying position.  Pregnant and addicted to drugs, the young woman was determined to get clean for the sake of her unborn child.  She turned to Project Self-Sufficiency for assistance with preparing for childbirth and parenthood.  “It was very difficult,” Yolanda reflects now about her past drug use.  “I knew what I was doing was wrong, but I didn’t know how to stop.”  She registered for the Healthy Families home visitation program at Project Self-Sufficiency, and was admitted to Sunrise House rehabilitation center for assistance with her addiction issues.  A trained home visitor began visiting with Yolanda during her pregnancy, and continued to meet with Yolanda after she gave birth, even though she was still living at Sunrise House.  The newborn was taken away from Yolanda for several months while she recovered.  During this time, Yolanda continued to meet with her home visitor, learning valuable tips about child development, health and wellness, literacy, parenting skills and community resources.  When her infant was finally returned to her at the age of five months, Yolanda was clean and well-prepared for motherhood.

Project Self-Sufficiency offers three separate home visitation programs tailored to meet the needs of low-income parents.  The Healthy Families program is designed for pregnant women and mothers of newborns.  Participants receive free parenting tips, baby items, information about childhood health, and other topics from certified professional home visitors.  The program combines home visits with educational outings for mother and child to help parents boost literacy levels and address health issues within their new family.  Women who are pregnant or parenting infants, as well as those with children up to the age of three are eligible.  Services are available to income-eligible residents of Sussex and northern Warren Counties.

The agency’s Healthy Families program helps prepare children for kindergarten and addresses developmental delays that might otherwise have been overlooked until the child entered school.  The Healthy Families program also gives mothers have the opportunity to meet regularly with other women in similar circumstances by attending monthly Mommy Parties held at Project Self-Sufficiency.  Participants receive the latest information about household safety, parenting, health and wellness, and other topics, while enjoying lunch and engaging in craft projects with their children.  While on site, mothers can also take advantage of the other programs and services available to families at the agency.  Transportation to the monthly gatherings is available to women in need.

Yolanda Dones thrived as a result of her affiliation with Project Self-Sufficiency.  “My home visitor went everywhere I went,” remembered Yolanda as she recalls her odyssey from shelter to halfway house to her own apartment.  “I could tell her anything.  What surprised me most was her eagerness to help.  I feel like we are part of a team.  The home visitors are very easy-going, happy people, and they love kids.”

Yolanda particularly enjoys attending the monthly Mommy Parties at Project Self-Sufficiency.  “I like that we can get together and I can ask questions.  We are all learning together and doing things together.  It’s been fun, it’s not work.”

Through Project Self-Sufficiency, Yolanda was able to obtain childcare and job training.  She has been offered a full-time job at a local agency where she is currently interning.  She has even secured a used car through the agency’s automobile donation program which will allow her to get to work and care for her daughter much more conveniently.  “I have options now,” smiles Yolanda.  “We are very happy.”

Three home visitation programs offered by Project Self-Sufficiency are available to income-eligible participants.  Factors such as residency, pregnancy and the age and number of children, help determine which program is best suited for the parents’ needs.  The Nurse Family Partnership® Program offers home visits to women in Sussex, Hunterdon and Warren Counties who are pregnant with their first child.  The Healthy Families home visitation program is available to at-risk single parents, teen parents, and two-parent families in Sussex and northern Warren Counties during pregnancy and through the child’s third birthday.  The Parents as Teachers program is designed for women who are parenting and infant or toddler in Sussex or Hunterdon Counties.  All three programs are funded by the New Jersey Department of Children & Families. 

The Healthy Families home visitation program at Project Self-Sufficiency is funded by a grant from the New Jersey Department of Children & Families.  Project Self-Sufficiency is a private non-profit community-based organization dedicated to improving the lives of low-income families residing in northwestern New Jersey.  The agency’s mission is to provide a broad spectrum of holistic, respectful, and comprehensive services enabling low-income single parents, teen parents, two-parent families, and displaced homemakers to improve their lives and the lives of their children through the achievement of personal and economic self-sufficiency and family stability.  Since 1986 Project Self-Sufficiency has served more than 20,000 families, including over 30,000 children. 

To learn more about the home visitation programs at Project Self-Sufficiency, or to receive information about any of the other services offered by the agency, call 973-940-3500, or visit

Monday, September 15, 2014

Free Parenting Classes this Fall

Parenting workshops will be offered during the fall by the Sussex County Family Success Center at Project Self-Sufficiency.  Courses follow the popular Nurturing Parenting Program curriculum.  During the workshops, separate groups for children and parents will focus on building self-awareness and empathy, teach alternatives to hitting and yelling, enhance family communication, promote healthy physical and emotional development, and instruct participants about appropriate expectations.  The sessions are free and open to the public; childcare will be provided.   All classes run from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m., with the exception of the course for Spanish-speaking parents which takes place in the mornings.  The agency is located at 127 Mill Street in Newton.  Pre-registration is required.

Classes for parents of infants, toddlers and preschool-aged children will be held on Tuesdays, September 23rd – December 9th.  Parents of school-aged children are invited to attend a separate course meeting on the same dates.

Expectant parents can attend workshops on Wednesdays, September 24th – November 19th.

A special class just for fathers will be held on Thursdays, September 18th – November 20th.  This class will combine the Nurturing Parenting curriculum with the 24/7 Dads program, coursework developed by the National Fatherhood Initiative.

Spanish-speaking parents are invited to attend a course which will meet on Tuesdays, October 7th – November 25th, from 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Sunrise House will host parenting workshops for mothers in recovery from substance abuse on Thursdays, September 25th – December 18th.  Sunrise House is located at 37 Sunset Inn Road in Lafayette.  Although the course will be held at Sunrise House, registration for the course must be conducted through Project Self-Sufficiency.

The Family Success Center at Project Self-Sufficiency is a program of support offered to all families.  In addition to parenting skills training, local families can participate in family activities, receive information about health and nutrition, take part in economic self-sufficiency programs, receive legal education, obtain referrals, and other services throughout the year.   To register for the free parenting workshops, to discuss your parenting needs, or to find out more about other programs and services available at the Sussex County Family Success Center at Project Self-Sufficiency, call 973-940-3500, or visit