‘Give Kids a Smile’

Dental hygienist Christine Benato talks about the importance of brushing regularly.

The number one childhood disease is tooth decay, and the American Dental Association is working to combat it. Every February, the ADA launches a special promotional effort called “Give Kids a Smile,” which is designed to educate children and their families about dental hygiene.

On February 10, the Matheny Center of Medicine and Dentistry dental staff supported this effort by devising games and other fun activities to educate students in The Matheny School about good dental care. There was a Dental Bingo game, special props and a video featuring Captain Supertooth.

The MCMD specializes in healthcare in an outpatient setting for people with mild to severe developmental and intellectual disabilities. Dental services and treatments include X-rays, cleanings, cavity fillings, extractions, restorative dentistry, oral surgery and root canals. Services are provided in partnership with the Rutgers School of Dental Medicine.

Matheny student Sara Hoffman and her nurse, Nancy Winder, play Dental Bingo.

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Miles for Matheny 2015

Participants in the Lu Huggins Wheelchair Walk last year.

The 18th annual Miles for Matheny, Matheny’s annual fundraiser and community event, will be held on Sunday, May 31, at Liberty Park in downtown Peapack. This year the event will include a new Fitness Walk in addition to the Lu Huggins Wheelchair Walk, five Cycling rides and a Kids Fun Run.

The signature event, of course, is the Wheelchair Walk, in which friends and families, along with Matheny staff, walk alongside more than 100 Matheny children and adults who “wheel” through the streets of downtown Peapack to the cheers of community members and other supporters.  The Cycling event offers a choice of 10-, 25-, 35- and 50-mile bike routes, plus the highly challenging “Hills of Attrition” endurance ride, all through the beautiful Somerset Hills countryside. The Kids Fun Run is open to children  ages 3–10, who are all winners—everyone receives a medal. The new one-mile Fitness Walk will precede the Wheelchair Walk, but all Fitness Walk participants are invited to join the wheelchair participants for a second mile around downtown Peapack. All participants and supporters will be able to indulge in The Friends of Matheny’s “Breakfast of Champions.”

Funds raised at Miles for Matheny will benefit programs and services that enhance the lives of the children and adults at Matheny and serve people with disabilities in the community. For more information, call (908) 234-0011, ext. 260, or email pcats@matheny.org. For sponsorship opportunities, call (908) 234-0011, ext. 315, or email jkriegman@matheny.org.

Peapack-Gladstone residents cheer the Wheelchair Walk participants as they roll past 23 Mendham Road.

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Super Sunday

Matheny resident Yasin Reddick with defensive lineman Daryl Campbell, left, and offensive lineman James Mattia.

The New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks were set to play in Arizona, but before that contest took place on Sunday, February 1, Matheny residents celebrated Super Sunday with members of the FDU–Florham Devils, varsity players from Fairleigh Dickinson University in Madison, NJ.

The FDU Devils had a losing record during the regular season, but their post-season performance (at Matheny) was a winning one. Thanks to the players and one member of their coaching staff for helping to put the “super” into Super Sunday for Matheny residents.

Matheny’s recreation therapy program provides our students and patients with a variety of recreation opportunities and resources to improve their physical, emotional, cognitive and social well-being. In addition, our students and patients often attend professional, college and high school sporting events. Next fall, the FDU Devils will likely be on the schedule.

From left, offensive line coach Matthew Lohrey, Matheny resident Jessica Evans and offensive lineman Dimi Artale.

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Welcome visitors

Matheny resident Jessica Evans and volunteer Selma Ahmed.

“When you guys come here, you make my day brighter.” That’s how Matheny adult resident Jessica Evans greeted members of the eighth grade class at the Bedminster, NJ, School, when they visited on a recent Wednesday afternoon. For as long as anyone can remember, eighth graders from the school have been volunteering at Matheny once a week.

“It’s great to interact with the Matheny residents,” said student Selma Ahmed. “We all have fun.” On this visit, the Bedminster students started work on a banner they will carry in the Lu Huggins Wheelchair Walk during Miles for Matheny, the fundraiser and community event scheduled for Sunday, May 31. Ahmed also found time to help Evans polish her nails.

The group from Bedminster is just one of several school groups who visit Matheny patients and students regularly. For more information, call (908) 234-0011, ext. 282, or email volunteers@matheny.org.

Ariana Myers, left, and Jasmine Campos work on the Miles for Matheny banner.

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Good luck charms

Long Valley Middle School wrestlers with honorary captains, Shane Szott, left, and Jameir Warren-Treadwell.

A group of Matheny residents served as honorary captains at the January 22 Grade School League wrestling match between the Long Valley, NJ, Middle School and Watchung Hills Middle School. Long Valley defeated Watchung Hills, 46-42, and the impetus to win might have been indirectly provided by the visitors from Matheny.

Several members of the LV wrestling team, along with some other LVMS students, have been volunteering at Matheny as part of the “Include Me” program; and they have developed close personal friendships with Matheny residents. About 14 Long Valley Middle School students visited Matheny weekly during this past summer; and they have continued their visits during the school year, although not as frequently.

Volunteers are needed at Matheny days, evenings and weekends. Individuals or groups can serve as recreation assistants, classroom aides, tutors or just friendly visitors. For more information, call (908) 234-0011, ext. 282, or email volunteers@matheny.org.

Long Valley volunteer Ricky DeFrance with Matheny resident Jameir Warren-Treadwell.

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Educating future health care workers

SCVT student Megan Flores drives a power wheelchair, assisted by Sean Bielefeldt, Matheny director of recreation therapy.

The Health Occupations program at the Somerset Vocational & Technical High School in Bridgewater, NJ, offers its students the chance to learn about and experience career opportunities in health care. Students participate in clinical experiences at a variety of health care settings, shadowing health care professionals while they are working.

Recently, a group of nine Somerset Vo-Tech students visited Matheny. Each of the students identified a discipline of interest and spent a morning observing and assisting therapists and pharmacists while they were working with patients. The students also learned how to communicate with nonverbal patients by using various forms of augmentative communications systems. And they got to experience what it’s like to drive a power wheelchair with both a joystick and a head array and complete transfers with a mechanical lift system.

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Bowled over

Misty Hockenbury celebrates her gold medal win.

Matheny athletes brought home four gold medals and three silver medals from the Somerset County Special Olympics bowling tournament held Saturday, January 17, at Strike ’N Spare Lanes in Green Brook. The gold medal winners were: Jessica Evans, Misty Hockenbury, Lee Lubin and Yasin Reddick. Silver medals were won by Mike Cornely, Chris Saglimbene and Cindy Shanks.

The Somerset County Special Olympics provides year-round training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with disabilities. Participation in Special Olympics is an important part of Matheny’s recreation therapy program, which provides a range of recreation choices to improve physical, emotional, cognitive and social well-being.

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Giving kids a smile

Mengchi Steven Yang, DDS, with a young dental patient.

As part of National Children’s Dental Health Month, the Matheny Center of Medicine and Dentistry (MCMD) will provide free preventive dental screenings and education and, if necessary, make referrals for continuing treatment for children ages 12 and under with special needs.  The one-day program, called Give Kids a Smile, will take place at Matheny on Tuesday, February 10. It’s part of the American Dental Association’s (ADA) annual push to bring attention to the No. 1 childhood disease—tooth decay.

“Giving back to the community is so important,” says Mengchi Steven Yang, DDS, the MCMD’s dentist. “This program, more than a decade old, will touch the lives of so many of New Jersey’s special needs children. I am proud to be a part of it.”

Children who come to the Matheny Center of Medicine and Dentistry on February 10 will receive a dental screening, oral health care instruction, fluoride treatments and free dental hygiene materials, including toothbrushes, floss and toothpaste. To make an appointment, parents should call 908.234.0011, ext. 785.

Last February, in New Jersey alone, more than 2,800 children visited 121 dental sites across the state. Give Kids a Smile is supported by Colgate, Henry Schein Dental, Delta Dental of New Jersey and private donations.

The Matheny Center of Medicine and Dentistry specializes in providing health care for people with mild to severe developmental and intellectual disabilities in an outpatient setting. Dental services and treatments include x-rays, cleanings, treatment of cavities, extractions, restorative dentistry, oral surgery and root canals. Services are provided in partnership with the Rutgers School of Dental Medicine.

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Creativity with clay

Matheny ceramics display at recent Rutgers New Jersey Medical School Fall Arts Festival

Matheny’s ceramics program continues to grow. Twelve pieces created by Matheny adults were displayed as part of the Rutgers New Jersey Medical School Fall Arts Festival in Newark, which ended on January 7. And the ceramics program will have its second exhibition at the Bridgewater, NJ, Public Library in June. A reception will be held June 3 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

Matheny’s adult education programs are designed to instill a sense of self-respect and provide an opportunity for self-expression for adult residents and adult day health services participants. The ceramics program teaches them the fundamentals of working in clay, incorporating the elements of design and the principles of art.

The pottery and sculptural works are created through hand building techniques of pinching, coiling and slab building. Students also produce works thrown on the wheel with use of adaptive equipment. Working processes also include communication books and hand-over-hand methods. The program is coordinated by Jodi Miguel, a Matheny adult services instructor.

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Volunteering and giving back

Stefanie Wolff holds one of many boxes of art supplies she donated to Matheny. At left is her mother, Susan Wolff; at right is Janice Kriegman, Matheny development officer.

Stefanie Wolff, a seventh grader at the Marlboro Memorial Middle School in Marlboro, NJ, learned about Matheny when she visited her cousin, Jenna Polyeff, a Matheny resident. As a result, Stefanie volunteered at Matheny, participating in music and storytelling events.

Recently, as her bat mitzvah project at Temple Beth Ahm in Aberdeen, NJ, Stefanie spoke about her volunteering experience and collected art supplies, which she then donated to Matheny. Stefanie had also attended Jenna’s bat mitzvah, which was held last May in Matheny’s Robert Schonhorn Arts Center.

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