Community Bulletin Board: Criterion Sentinel (for Jan. 27)


St. Francis Cathedral School will hold an informational meeting via Zoom on Jan. 31 for prospective families.

Check the website for details.

There is also a virtual tour featured on the website.

Registration will be available on the website beginning Feb. 1.

For more information, visit or call 732-548-3107.

The school is located at 528 Main St., Metuchen.



Join the Metuchen-Edison Women’s Club to hear about Operation Chillout, its mission and how to help, presented by its founder, Ray Chimileski, at 7 p.m. Feb. 3 via Zoom.

Operation Chillout is a special state project of the New Jersey State Federation of Women’s Clubs, and is New Jersey’s oldest and only all-volunteer mobile outreach for homeless veterans, men and women, operational since December 2000. Its mission is to

respond to the crisis of homelessness with direct compassionate actions.

For more information, call Adrienne at 732-968-1255 or email


Metuchen Music and the Metuchen High School Music Program will present an online prize auction for Designer Bag Bingo Blues on Feb. 12.

Details to be announced.

Accepting donations of purses, home goods, accessories, gift certificates, dining, etc.

For more information, email




National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI-NJ) will hold a family support group for siblings of a loved one with mental illness at 7 p.m. Jan. 28.

Gain support and share with others who can relate to your personal experiences.

The group will follow the NAMI Signature Family Support Group Model and will be run by two trained facilitators.

Participants must pre-register and be 18 years or older.

Attendance will be limited. 

Register at

NAMI also offers family support groups at noon on Tuesdays and at 7 p.m. on Wednesdays; and a connection recovery support group at noon and 7 p.m. on Wednesdays.

For more information, visit




Sunheri Yaadein, a virtual Bollywood concert featuring Tina, Rakesh, Tanmayee, Pinakin, Neeti and Tushar, hosted by Madhavi, will be held from 3-5 p.m. Jan. 31.

Zoom ID is 882 1333 1879; no passcode needed.

It will also be broadcast on Facebook Live by the Indo-American Cultural Foundation of Central New Jersey, OHMKara, Indus TV and GOPIO Central Jersey.



Historian Tali Nates, founder and executive director of the Johannesburg Holocaust & Genocide Centre in South Africa, will participate in a virtual presentation at 2 p.m. Jan. 31 as part of the Daniel Pearl Education Center Speaker Series.

A historian who lectures internationally on Holocaust education, genocide prevention, reconciliation and human rights, Nates has presented at the United Nations and numerous global conferences.

The daughter of a Holocaust survivor, Nates will speak on “A Place on Schindler’s List: My Father’s Story,” a highly personal account of her father and uncle, who were both on Schindler’s List, among the 1,200 Jews saved by Oskar Schindler at the Plaszow concentration camp.

Nates will present virtually via

Email with any questions.



Middlesex College is developing apprenticeship opportunities in Advanced Manufacturing through Career Advance USA, a U.S. Department of Labor-funded grant.

Apprenticeships, developed and implemented in collaboration with employers, are earn-and-learn programs that combine formal classroom learning with on-the-job training.

Those interested in the program should register for a virtual information session at They will be held over Zoom at 10 a.m. Tuesdays, Feb. 9, March 9, April 13 and May 11.

The college is also looking for employers interested in developing workers.

For more information about the grant and how to participate, visit or contact Yarelis Figueroa at or John Miller at










The Metuchen Arts Council is joining with the Metuchen Human Relations Commission to schedule a virtual “Community Conversations” around the issues highlighted in 2021 Windows of Understanding Public Art Project. Those issues include food insecurity, youth engagement, trauma and recovery, public health and climate change.

The first virtual Community Conversation will take place at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 27 on the topics of food insecurity and youth engagement.

The Windows of Understanding Project is a joint project of the New Brunswick Community Arts Council, Mason Gross School of the Arts, the Highland Park Arts Council, the Metuchen Arts Council and the Metuchen Human Relations Commission. The initiative unites local artists, organizations, and businesses to promote compassion and awareness around social justice issues impacting local communities. The belief of the Project’s creators is that through visual language, artists can communicate methods of understanding in powerful ways that cut across cultural boundaries.

For the issue of food insecurity, artists Anisha Thind and Kim Adlerman have been asked to create art that illuminates the mission of the First Presbyterian Church of Metuchen’s Food Pantry. Likewise, for the topic of Youth Engagement, artists Robyn-Trimboli Russo, Cristina Hoyos, Wilford Charles and Joe Castronova have been asking to create art inspired by the mission of Kiddie Keep Well Camp, the Middlesex County non-profit that provides residential camping, educational, health and wellness programs to under-resourced children, teens and seniors.

All Community Conversations will start at 7:30 p.m. and can be accessed via Facebook live at 

Upcoming Community Conversations include:

  • Feb. 24: Discussion on public health and trauma and recovery will focus on the work of the Metuchen First Aid Squad and Women Aware of New Brunswick. The artists interpreting those agencies missions include Dominique Brancato, Lauren Rabinowitz, Luciana Mallozzi, Martina Hanna, Amalya Sherman and Janice Fried.
  • April 21: In observance of Earth Day, Edison Greenways Group and artists Laura Curtis and Mickey Waring will explore the issue of climate change.


In addition to the Community Conversations, the Metuchen programming for the Windows of Understanding Project will include an exhibition in the Metuchen Public Library Gallery of all the art discussed in the Community Discussion.

A virtual exhibit will also be mounted and available for viewing from the Metuchen Arts Council website at The project launches on Jan. 18, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, as a way of paying homage to Dr. King’s legacy.

For more information on Windows of Understanding, including a complete list of featured organizations, participating storefronts, and a full calendar of free events, visit or on Instagram at @windowsofunderstanding, #weseethroughhate.





Bake along with Temple Emanu-El in Edison at 11 a.m. Jan. 31, making lemon lulu cake and buttery scones from the comfort of your home.

On the day of the event, log onto Zoom and bake along with congregants Tami Rona and Jackie Litt.

The recipes will be provided in advance.

Register at

The Zoom link is, passcode “temple”.






The Metuchen Farmers Market is holding an online fundraiser.

The Pea support level, costing $20 pays for important supplies like hand sanitizer.

The Pod support level, costing $50, goes toward key equipment such as the hand sanitizer dispensing stand.

The Seed support level, costing $100, pays for one week of essential site services, such as portable restrooms.

The Radish level, costing $200, pays for a month of e-commerce site fees.

Donate by visiting; or send a check or money order to Metuchen Farmers Market, 402 Main St., Suite 100-166, Metuchen 08840.

For more information, email



Raritan Valley Road Runners, one of the largest running clubs in New Jersey, is accepting applications for a new scholarship program designed to help student runners in cross country or track and field who attend high school or community college in Middlesex and Somerset counties.

A one-time award of $1,000 will be made to each of two outstanding athletes enrolling in post-secondary education.

The scholarships are not based entirely on speed or competitions won, but rather on strong academics, sportsmanship, citizenship and financial need.

The scholarships are funded by individual donations, funds from club-sponsored races and business contributions.

Eligible applicants will be graduating from high school in Middlesex or Somerset counties in 2021 or currently attending community college in these counties. They will need to prove acceptance to a full-time (12 credits or more) associate or bachelor’s degree program. They will have a weighted GPA of 2.75 or higher as demonstrated by an unofficial transcript. And they will need to demonstrate passionate participation as a runner in a cross country or track and field in their junior and senior years of high school or while at community college. Participation in extracurricular activities and community involvement will also be considered.

For more information, application materials, or to donate to the scholarship fund, email

The deadline to apply is Jan. 31. Scholarships will be awarded in April.


High school students are invited to enter their substance use prevention messages through their original music as part of the music and song writing competition, “Your Song! Your Voice! Shout Down Drugs New Jersey,” sponsored by New Jersey Broadcasters and 959.9-FM WRAT.

The competition is designed to challenge New Jersey high school students to create original music and lyrics with powerful peer-to-peer substance use, misuse and prevention messages. Entries are accepted through Feb. 1.

All music genres are welcomed from students interested in sharing their talent and inspiring messages about shouting down drugs and raising up their voices to inspire their peers.

The winner of the New Jersey Shout Down Drugs competition, as decided by judges and announced at the end of the Prevention Concert, will receive a $5,000 music contract. The second- and third-place performers will receive $3,000 and $2,000 music contracts, respectively, with the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey.

For rules and information on how to enter, contact Diane Higgins at 973-275-7985.



The Metlar-Bodine Museum will offer “Stories of Slavery in New Jersey” at 7 p.m. Feb. 4.

Historian and author Rick Geffken reveals stories from New Jersey’s dark history of slavery. A Q&A session follows the lecture.

Dutch and English settlers brought the first enslaved people to New Jersey in the 17th Century. By the time of the Revolutionary War, slavery was an established practice on labor-intensive farms throughout what became known as the Garden State. The progenitor of the influential Morris family, Lewis Morris, brought Barbadian slaves to toil on his estate of Tinton Manor in Monmouth County.  “Colonel Tye,” an escaped slave from Shrewsbury, joined the British “Ethiopian Regiment” during the Revolutionary War and led raids throughout the towns and villages near his former home. Charles Reeves and Hannah Van Clief married soon after their emancipation in 1850 and became prominent citizens in Lincroft, as did their next four generations.

Rick Geffken is a trustee of the Shrewsbury Historical Society, past president of the Monmouth Connection, member of the Navesink Maritime Historical Association and Monmouth County Historical Association. He is currently heading up a project called The New Jersey Slave Record.

To join the Zoom lecture, visit        

Meeting ID: 844 0492 7732

The program is free, but a $10 donation is suggested. Make checks payable to The Fellowship for Metlar House, or use Venmo via Sherry-Hope1

A limited number of signed books are available from the museum, 1281 River Road, Piscataway. Call the museum at 732-463-8363 to place an order. Pickup available on days the museum is open. Cost is $23 each plus $3 shipping.

For more information, email or visit





The Jewish Community Center of Middlesex County, located on Oak Tree Road in Edison, will hold its second virtual Mahjong tournament on Feb. 10.

Play on for three rounds of 12 games.

The opening ceremony is at 10 a.m. via Zoom. Play from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Winners will be announced at 1:45 p.m. There will be Amazon gift card prizes.

The cost is $18 per person. 

 There will also be a 50/50 raffle at $5 per ticket.

Must register by Feb. 4. Zoom registration information will be sent upon receipt of tournament registration. 

Contact Diane Mael, director of Adult Services, by emailing to get an invitation, rules for scoring and registration information.

Nominations for the 25th annual Russ Berrie Making a Difference Award are being accepted through Feb. 12.

Members of the community can nominate a fellow New Jerseyan and give him or her the chance to be recognized for their service. They are people who help others in need, give their time and energy to solve community problems, and put others above themselves.

Each year, the Making a Difference Award presents $50,000 to one winner, $25,000 to two runners-up, and up to $7,500 to several others at a ceremony hosted by Ramapo College of New Jersey, which manages the awards program on behalf of the Russell Berrie Foundation.

Awards will be presented at a virtual ceremony in May.

The nomination form is available online at 



The Latino Mental Health Association of New Jersey will hold its 2021 annual conference virtually on Feb. 19 and 20.

Find meaning across Latinx identities and adapt to changing times affecting racism, colorist and invisibility.

To register, visit

Co-sponsored by Horizon NJ Health and Rutgers School of Social Work.




New Jersey Blood Services will hold a blood drive from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Feb. 28 at the Metuchen YMCA, 65 High St., Metuchen.

Everyone 17 years old and over is strongly encouraged to become a donor.

To make an appointment, visit and click on “Donate.” Or, call Paul Edgcomb at 732-887-6633.





Recognizing the bravery and commitment of volunteer firefighters and first responders, New Jersey American Water announces its 2021 grant program for volunteer fire departments, ambulance squads and first aid squads located within the company’s service areas.

Grants may be used to cover the costs of personal protective equipment, communications gear, first aid equipment, firefighting tools, vehicle maintenance and other materials that will be used to support volunteer firefighter and emergency responder operations. Reimbursement for specific training courses, including the cost of training manuals, student workbooks, and instructors is also eligible.

To apply, organizations must complete the application available at under News & Community, Community Involvement.

The maximum grant amount awarded to any organization is $2,000.

The deadline to apply is March 12. Interested applicants can find more information and apply online at

Grant recipients will be notified at the end of March.



Teens across the state can begin submitting entries for the 26th Annual New Jersey Teen Media Contest, which highlights the New Jersey Human Services’ mission to support families, especially during these challenging times.

The contest, run by the Division of Family Development, is open to all New Jersey middle and high school-aged children.

The 2021 contest challenges teens to illustrate – through art or the written word – how they and their loved ones have supported each other through all of the changes that have happened this year, from remote schooling to finding new ways to stay connected to friends and family.

All entries must be postmarked no later than March 31.

Staff from the Division of Family Development and its Office of Child Support Services will judge the contest. Winners will be selected in first, second, and third places in both the middle and high school groups, for each of the two entry categories. Typically, winning students are recognized at an awards ceremony in mid-May, but a final decision on an awards ceremony will be made at a later date based on the status of the public health emergency and related health and safety guidelines.

Winning entries from the contest will be included in the 2022 Office of Child Support Calendar, as well as potentially being included as part of the office’s marketing materials. A number of honorable mention entries will also be selected for possible inclusion in both areas.  

The 2021 calendar can be viewed or downloaded from the contest homepage,, to serve as inspiration for the teens. The website also provides the official rules, frequently asked questions, entry forms, a look at the winners and honorable mentions from previous contests and other important contest information.

Teachers and administrators can register their school by visiting or by contacting Matthew Cossel at 937-207-7627 or School registration is not required for direct student entry.

For complete submission guidelines, visit

For more information about child support services, call 1-877-NJKIDS1 or visit







Dove Hospice Services of New Jersey seeks compassionate volunteers to provide support to local hospice patients and their families.

Hospice patient care volunteers visit with patients in their homes, which can also be nursing facilities or assisted living facilities, at least once a week. They read to the patient, reminisce about their lives, play cards, help with letter writing and provide respite for caregivers.

Visits can be virtual, and are either during the day or early evening.

Volunteers may also assist with administrative work within the hospice office.

Patient care volunteers complete an application and attend a virtual volunteer training program that covers the role of a hospice volunteer. Day and evening virtual training programs are offered.

To sign up for the next virtual training class, contact Volunteer Coordinator Deborah Adams at 732-405-3035 or email


The United Way of Central Jersey’s COVID-19 Recovery Fund will assist individuals and families affected by the novel coronavirus with crucial basic expenses including rent, utilities, prescription medication/medical supplies, child care and food.
United Way will work with trusted community partners to identify individuals and families most in need of this temporary support.
Donations to the UWCJ COVID-19 Support Fund may be made online at Checks made payable to United Way may be mailed to United Way of Central Jersey, 32 Ford Ave., Milltown 08850.