Access-ABILITY

“Oakaloni Palace” by Cheryl Chapin.

Visual art created by artists in Matheny’s Arts Access program will be featured at the Morris Museum in Morristown, NJ, as part of “Access-ABILITY,” a series of exhibitions displaying fine art created by artists with disabilities. The Arts Access artwork will be shown from April 24 through April 27. An opening reception, 5:30–7 p.m. on April 24, will also feature readings of original work created by Arts Access writers.

Arts Access provides individuals with disabilities the freedom to create in the visual, literary and performing arts. For more information on Access-ABILITY, log onto www.morrismuseum.org or email info@morrismusem.org. For more information on Arts Access, log onto www.artsaccessprogram.org.

Untitled by Cindy Shanks.

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Many happy returns

Chuck with, from left, William Horton, Greg Skinner and Steve Proctor.

“Much of what we do today is because of the vision of Chuck’s parents.” With those words, Matheny President Steve Proctor recently wished Chuck Matheny a happy 73rd birthday. Chuck’s parents, Walter and Marguerite Matheny, founded The Matheny School in 1946 at a time when there were very few schools for children with disabilities.

Peapack-Gladstone Police Chief Greg Skinner presented Chuck with a special United States flag, and Peapack-Gladstone Mayor William Horton offered congratulations and said he was “blessed to be a next-door neighbor of Matheny.”

Chuck receives his special flag from Greg Skinner.

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Be a sponsor

Partlow Insurance sponsors the Lu Huggins Wheelchair Walk

Miles for Matheny, our annual fundraiser and community event, attracts about 1,500 people to downtown Peapack, NJ, to join in as walking partners in the Lu Huggins Wheelchair Walk, run in the 5K Road Race, ride in one of five cycling routes, race in the Kids Fun Run or cheer on the wheelchair participants.

All funds raised at Miles support the Matheny Center of Medicine and Dentistry, where more than 800 of New Jersey’s children, teens and adults with developmental and intellectual disabilities have access to the best medical, dental and therapy care possible.

You can help support this fundraising effort by being a Miles for Matheny sponsor. Sponsorship levels vary from a Premier Sponsorship at $25,000 to a Supporting Sponsorship at $500. For more information, contact Janice Kriegman at jkriegman@matheny.org, or call her at (908) 234-0011, ext. 315.

Major sponsors for this year’s Miles for Matheny include the Poses Family Foundation, Partlow Insurance, Peapack-Gladstone Bank, Porzio Bromberg & Newman PC Attorneys at Law, BP Fueling Communities, Delta Dental of New Jersey, Inc., WCBS-TV and WCBS Newsradio 880.

WCBS-TV’s Alex Denis was the official starter for both the Lu Huggins Wheelchair Walk and the 5K last year.

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On pace for a record

From left, customer Ana Norton and volunteers Nina Pellegrino and Theresa Radebaugh.

The Friends of Matheny’s Second Chance thrift shop passed the $100,000 sales mark on Thursday, April 3, the earliest date in the season that this point has ever been reached. The sale that put Second Chance over $100,000 was made a little after 10 a.m. to Ana Norton of Chester, NJ. The two Second Chance volunteers who made the sale were Theresa Radebaugh, also of Chester, and Nina Pellegrino of Bridgewater, NJ. All three received gift certificates for being the lucky buyers and sellers.

Since its inception in 1983, The Friends of Matheny has raised more than $3 million to benefit the students and patients at Matheny. The Second Chance selling season doesn’t end until after Memorial Day, so the shop could be on pace for a record-setting season.

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Training future therapists

Rutgers student Dongmin Park of Palisades Park, NJ, tries out a power wheelchair as Cindy Labar, Matheny director of physical therapy, looks on.

Recognizing that we can’t provide healthcare for everyone with a disability, Matheny has taken on the responsibility of trying to ensure that future healthcare professionals understand how to care for and treat people with disabilities.

With that in mind, a group of physical therapy students from Rutgers New Jersey Medical School visits Matheny every year to learn about the therapy and equipment required by persons with developmental disabilities. During this year’s visit, on March 28, the PT students rotated through eight stations dealing with switch access, communication devices, music therapy, pressure mapping, standing and adaptive tricycles, power and manual wheelchairs, gait trainers and recreational activities.

Rutgers student Sarah Carothers of Basking Ridge, NJ, learns how to operate a manual wheelchair.

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Handing out hope

Debbi Goodhart, left, with patients and colleagues in the Dominican Republic.

Debbi Goodhart, a Matheny occupational therapist, certainly lived up to her name recently. She was part of a 36-person medical team that  spent five days during February  in the Dominican Republic with a group called Handfuls of Hope.

Handfuls is a non-profit organization  founded by a group of individuals who had been involved in a series of short-term mission trips to the Dominican Republic. Working side-by-side with a local church, they were able to refurbish and revitalize a school building, construct a library and establish a medical clinic in an area where such resources were not available.

The organization is now supporting a medical clinic in the village of Catalina, about an hour from Santa Domingo, and regularly sends doctors and other medical professionals there to provide care and treatment for the local residents. Goodhart went on the most recent mission.

“A friend of mine, Robin Sigley, also an OT, had been there once, and asked me if I wanted to come,” Goodhart recalled. “The team treated 1,546 patients in three days. We saw a lot of arthritis and some pretty deformed body parts. In some cases, people had taken casts off broken limbs too early. Also, the people in this area do a lot of carrying of heavy objects over long distances. They have a lot of hip, arm, shoulder and neck pain. We taught them about body mechanics, about how to carry things equally on both shoulders. We also did the best we could to teach them exercises, and we provided them with elastic bandages to give them the support they needed.”

Goodhart was greatly moved by “the resiliency of these people. As poor as they are, they are interested in doing what they can to stay as well as they can in the future. I plan to go back next year.”

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On the run

5K runners at Miles for Matheny 2013.

The 5K race at Miles for Matheny is a challenging USATF Certified route with mile clocks and water stops. Results will be posted at www.compuscore.com. The route will take runners through Peapack-Gladstone and Chester Township on both town and rural roads. There will be a rolling start with a very fast finish.

Medals and certificates will be awarded to the top three overall runners, both male and female. Awards will also be given to the top three runners in each age group, male and female, in five-year increments from ages 14 and under to 85 and over.

The 17th annual Miles for Matheny will be held on Sunday, June 1, at Liberty Park in downtown Peapack. In addition to the 5K, activities include the Lu Huggins Wheelchair Walk, five different Cycling routes, a Kids Fun Run and the “Breakfast of Champions”, provided by The Friends of Matheny. All funds raised will support the Matheny Center of Medicine and Dentistry, which provides medical, dental and therapy care to Matheny’s inpatients and people with disabilities in communities throughout New Jersey. Major sponsors are: Partlow Insurance, Peapack-Gladstone Bank, Porzio Bromberg & Newman P.C. Attorneys at Law, WCBS-TV and WCBS Newsradio 880.

For more information, to register or to start a fundraising team, log onto www.milesformatheny.org or call (908) 234-0011, ext. 260.

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Fun for all

T.J. Hanlon of Bernardsville, NJ, competed in a manual wheelchair race.

“I got to see how disabled people have fun just like us. They do the same things we do, just differently.” That comment by Grace Lurker of Peapack, NJ, a fourth grader at the Far Hills County Day School in Far Hills, NJ, pretty much summarized the reactions of her entire phys ed class to a recent visit by students and staff from Matheny.

The Matheny students demonstrated how they engage in adapted sports, and the FHCDS students tried their skills in such activities as wheelchair races and adapted bowling. The visit had several goals: to let the Far Hills students learn how children with disabilities can enjoy many of the same activities they do; to reduce anxiety about how to relate to people with disabilities; and to replace that anxiety with a sense of friendship and understanding as the two groups competed as peers.

Emily Samaro of Chester, NJ, tested her skill in adaptive bowling as Grace Lurker and Matheny teaching assistant Rita Della Valle looked on.

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Celebrating the Arts

Eileen Murray receiving her award from Tom Werder.

Eileen Murray remembers when she was first interviewed for a job as a painting facilitator in Matheny’s Arts Access Program. It was 2001, and she was so excited about the possibility of working in the program, she thought, “I hope they hire me, because I’m just going to show up for work.” Fortunately, Murray was hired, and, in 2011, was named director of the program. On March 27th, she received an award as Outstanding Professional in the Arts from Morris Arts at its annual Celebrate the Arts event.

Arts Access provides people with disabilities the freedom to create in the visual, literary and performing arts. Tom Werder, executive director of Morris Arts, introduced Murray, saying that she “is committed to enriching the lives of people with disabilities.” Murray, pointing out that all Arts Access artists have physical disabilities, added that, “the work they create is astounding. I am so lucky to work with these tremendously talented artists.”

Other awardees were: Dr. James Gallagher; the Lauren & Emily Failla Foundation; John Pietrowski, artistic director of Playwrights Theatre; teaching artist Joanna Pang Atkins; MetLife Foundation; and Zufall Health Center. Morris Arts, located in Morristown, NJ, is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to enriching the community through the arts.

Eileen Murray with Steve Proctor, Matheny president, left, and Daniel McLaughlin, chair of the Matheny Board of Trustees.

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Just for kids

Kids Fun Run at Miles for Matheny 2013.

Looking for a wonderful way to introduce your kids to running for a cause? Thanks to sponsor Porzio Bromberg & Newman P.C., Attorneys at Law, you can do just that at the Kids Fun Run at Miles for Matheny.

Designed especially for the youngest racing enthusiasts, the Kids Fun Run consists of four short sprints, divided by age category, for children between the ages of 3 and 10. It gives everyone a chance to be a winner in a very non-competitive atmosphere. All Fun Run participants receive a winner’s medal. Here is a breakdown of the sprint lengths: ages 3-4, 50 yards; ages 5-6, 75 yards; ages 7-8, 100 yards; ages 9-10, 150 yards.

The 17th annual Miles for Matheny will be held on Sunday, June 1, at Liberty Park in downtown Peapack, NJ. In addition to the Kids Fun Run, other activities include the Lu Huggins Wheelchair Walk, a 5K Road Race, five different Cycling routes and the “Breakfast of Champions” provided by The Friends of Matheny. All funds raised support the Matheny Center of Medicine and Dentistry, which provides medical, dental and therapy care to Matheny’s inpatients and people with disabilities in communities throughout New Jersey. Major sponsors, in addition to PBN, are: Partlow Insurance, Peapack-Gladstone Bank, WCBS-TV and WCBS Newsradio 880.

For more information, to register or start a team fundraising page, log onto www.milesformatheny.org or call (908) 234-0011, ext. 260.

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