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Mental health organizations celebrate awareness day

Staff Writer

WEST LONG BRANCH—Understanding that having a child with complex needs can be difficult without the right assistance, the non-profit organization MonmouthCares along with Allaire Community Farm served as the hosts to an event celebrating the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day.

“[The day] seeks to raise awareness about the importance of children’s mental health and to show that positive mental health is essential to a child’s healthy development from birth. This National Day has been celebrated as part of the May being the National Mental Health Awareness month for as long as we can remember,” Chad Majczan said, MonmouthCares’ manager of community relations and resource development.

Aiming to create a day of help and fun, MonmouthCares, Allaire Community Farm and other Children’s System of Care partners hosted families and their children got to go on tractor rides, pet animals at the petting zoo and ride ponies on May 4, at the Allaire Community farm located on 2840 Allaire Road, Wall.

“We agreed to host [the event] because we believe strongly that the community needs to be made aware of the wide spread problems impacting our children regarding mental illness. It is a topic not often spoken of unless it’s hits home personally. We desire to bring childhood mental illness into the open so that we can better help children and families who are struggling,” JoAnn Burney, co-founder of Allaire Community Farm said.

Located in West Long Branch, MonmouthCares, Inc. is a private non-profit organization that partners with families to facilitate care for children with complex needs. The organization believes in a model of care that is family-driven, culturally competent, and community-based. The organization is a Care Management Organization that is part of the New Jersey Division of Children’s System of Care, according Majczan.

On top of providing fun activities, parents also got the opportunity to meet with various mental health agencies representatives from across Monmouth County for resources.

MonmouthCares, the New Jersey Children’s System of Care, Family Based Services, 180 Amanda’s Easel, Mental Health Association of Monmouth County, Community YMCA, CPC Children’s Mobile Response Services, and Monmouth Medical Center were some of the mental health agencies that attended, according to Majczan.

“The idea behind inviting [mental health agencies] was to give families resources in their community that they could access if they needed help with mental health,” Majczan said.

MonmouthCares’ mission is to facilitate positive change so that children with emotional and behavioral challenges, along with their families, have the greatest opportunity to live, thrive, and develop in their communities. These youth may also have intellectual, developmental, substance use, and/or physical health challenges. The organization have been part of the Children’s System of Care since 2001, according to Majczan.

“[The organization] and the Monmouth County Children’s System of Care partnered with Allaire Community Farm because the Allaire Community Farm is a sanctuary where passionate people make an impact on their community by creating an encouraging environment that fosters healing and hope,” Majczan said.

Majczan continues to say that the farm uses its animals to help children with special needs.

“Its an animal rescue with a mission of inclusion. Its goal is to utilize rescued animals and the working farm environment to nurture with nature special needs and at-risk populations, along with their families. This is accomplished through programs, events, and outreach throughout the year that focus on animal therapy, equine therapy, organic gardening, and vocational training towards purposeful agricultural employment and self-esteem building,” Majczan said.

For more information on MonmouthCares visit www.monmouthcares.org or call 732-222-8008.

To learn more about Allaire Community Farm visit www.allairecommunityfarm.org or call 732-859-1511.

Contact Vashti Harris at vharris@newspapermediagroup.com.

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