The Volunteer Center of Bergen County
strengthens the community by connecting people through service and developing
PEOPLE and believe that through volunteer service people have the capacity to enrich their own lives and improve the quality of life in their communities.
DIVERSITY and recognize that all people have time and talents to share, and that communities are strengthened when people connect across their differences through volunteer service.
COLLABORATION and realize that we are at our best when we collaborate.
EXCELLENCE and commit to implementing innovative and effective strategies, holding ourselves accountable for results, and sharing our knowledge and best practices with others.
People helping people since 1966...
programs are in bold).
The Volunteer Center of Bergen County was founded in 1966
by the Junior League of Bergen County and a group of concerned residents who saw
the need for a clearinghouse matching prospective volunteers with agencies that
needed their help. This continues as a key service and is the primary concern of
our Community Volunteer Services department.
From 1972-1982, and again from 2002-2013, the Center sponsored the Retired
& Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP).
In 1977, the Chore
Service was initiated with senior volunteer handymen/women providing
minor household repairs for the elderly and/or disabled.
The next year, in collaboration
with the Div. of Youth and Family Services, we took over management of
Volunteers in Protective Services (VIPS), a program in which trained and caring
adults help children who have suffered abuse, neglect or isolation. The
programs’ name was changed to Mentoring Youth in 2010. Both
Chore and Mentoring Youth have provided service continually since the
In the late 1970s,
again in collaboration with the Junior League, we established DOVIA (Directors
of Volunteers in Agencies), an educational and networking organization for
volunteer directors. This group became DOVIA of Bergen and Passaic Counties in
In 1996 we launched
the Bergen Bike Tour, which is organized by CPAs, banking and
corporate leaders with proceeds shared between the Volunteer Center and
Tomorrows Children's Fund at Hackensack University Medical Center.
After hosting the Bergen County Golf Classic - in partnership with United Way - for 16 years, the Volunteer Center will present its own golf outing, LINK Bergen, in July 2014. Proceeds from the event will benefit all programs sponsored by the Volunteer Center.
Volunteers from the Workplace was established in 1981 when CEOs from several companies requested assistance in involving their employees in service activities. Corporate volunteering has been a key activity of the VCBC since then. In 2000, in partnership with several companies and United Way, we launched the Northern New Jersey Business Volunteer Council, with a strategic focus on mobilizing companies and their employees to meet the needs of children and families. In 2013, the corporate services department, Business Volunteer Connect, expanded its services to the business community by providing fee-based consulting services on customized volunteer projects, skills-based volunteering, board service and placement and start-up assistance for new employee volunteer programs (EVP). The VCBC continues to administer the Business Volunteer Council, providing a venue for networking and professional development for EVP managers.
In 1987, Volunteer Ventures was
formed to develop evening and weekend group volunteer projects targeted to busy
adults with limited time availability. Volunteer Ventures was phased out as an
ongoing program in 2009. However, we continue to refer volunteers seeking
involvement in short-term episodic volunteer projects to activities at partner
agencies across the community.
In 1993 we launched our
signature Derby Day fundraising event, always on the first
Saturday of May.
In 1994 we became custodian of funds
for the Bergen County Summer Campership Fund, a public-private
venture in which children of low-income working families are given the
opportunity to attend summer day camp.
Parent Aides for Teens (PATs)
was initiated in 1995, adapting the VIPS model to help teen mothers become
responsible parents; this program was terminated in 2006 due to lack of
sustainable funding. Mentoring Moms was established in 1995 as
an expansion of VIPS to provide peer mentors for overwhelmed mothers in need of
guidance in parenting and life skills.
In 1999, we began annual
publication of our extensive database of volunteer opportunities in the
Guide to Volunteering, well-received and distributed throughout
our community. In 2000, our searchable database of volunteer opportunities was
posted on our website: www.bergenvolunteers.org.
In the wake of Tropical Storm
Floyd in 1999, we formed the Bergen County VOAD (Voluntary Organizations
Active in Disaster) which assists the B.C. Office of Emergency
Management, American Red Cross and other first responders in preparing for and
responding to disasters. Our leadership of the VOAD has proved effective in
mobilizing volunteers and agencies in response to subsequent events: the terror
attacks of September 11, Katrina, the floods of April 2007 and the violent
storms of March 2010. We are also involved in regional and national disaster
response planning. In response to Hurricane
Sandy, we ramped up our efforts and are leading the VOAD’s Long Term
Recovery Committee, an alliance of 50+ organizations intent on
providing assistance to residents of Bergen County who were impacted by the
In late 2003, we suspended sponsorship of DOVIA in
order to focus on providing training to build capacity of nonprofit agencies to
better fulfill their missions; our focus is on Volunteer Management
Training and Board Training, for nonprofit boards as
well a for individuals interested in serving on a board.
In 2007 we began development of Bergen
LEADS, a community leadership program designed to give the next
generation of leaders insight into the challenges and opportunities facing
Bergen County. The program was launched in September, 2008; we now have 132 graduates and 29 participants in the Class of 2014.
The Volunteer Center
of Bergen County is an affiliate member of the Points of Light &
HandsOn Network, whose mission is to inspire, mobilize and equip people
to take action that can change the world.