Downtown Woodbridge’s Main Street Special Improvement District (SID), an organization established to promote economic revitalization, investment and improvements to the downtown, will offer Downtown Dollars, a community-based digital gift card that makes it easy to spend local.
This new initiative is sponsored by the Woodbridge Metro Chamber of Commerce. With their sponsorship, SID is able to offer a special holiday bonus to every $50 and $100 gift card purchased.
Purchase e-gift cards at downtownwoodbridge.com and view a list of participating businesses who accept the gift cards.
Purchasers are provided the ability to write a personal message and send this card to family, friends and colleagues via email, text, or printing out.
Middle school students and their parents can find out about opportunities in career and technical education at upcoming open houses on the five campuses of the Middlesex County Vocational and Technical Schools.
MCVTS offers 36 career majors, as well as a traditional academic curriculum, to Middlesex County students, along with interscholastic sports and extracurricular clubs and activities.
The East Brunswick Campus will hold in-person open houses on Dec. 11 and Jan. 22, 2022, both from 10 a.m. to noon.
The Perth Amboy Campus open houses will be Dec. 18 and Jan. 29, 2022, from 10 a.m. to noon.
The Piscataway Campus schedule is Jan. 29, all from 10 a.m. to noon.
No tuition is charged to residents of Middlesex County.
The mah-jongg tournaments at the Jewish Community Center (JCC) on Oak Tree Road in Edison are coming back in person starting Dec. 12.
Doors open at 9:15 a.m. Six rounds of play begin at 10 a.m.
Continental breakfast, lunch and snacks will be served.
Giveaways, door prizes, auction and raffles. Cash prizes.
Players must be able to complete four games in 50 minutes.
All participants must provide proof of COVID vaccination with registration forms. Mask wearing is optional.
The cost is $56 per person.
For more information, call Diane Mael at 732-593-5967.
Jurassic Quest heads to the New Jersey Convention and Expo Center in Edison from Dec. 29 to Jan. 2, 2022.
Jurassic Quest includes more than 100 life-like dinosaurs, dinosaur-themed rides, live dinosaur shows, interactive science and art activities, a Triceratots soft play area, bounce houses and inflatable attractions (socks required) and photo opportunities.
Come face-to-face with a moving, life-size, 50-foot-long megalodon.
Meet the babies, hatched only at Jurassic Quest: Cammie the Camarasaurus, Tyson the T-Rex and Trixie the Triceratops – and catch one of the dino trainers: Safari Sarah, Dino Dustin, Captain Caleb, Prehistoric Nick or Park Ranger Marty.
Tickets start at $19 at www.jurassicquest.com or on site, and include a 100% ticket guarantee that in the event of a show cancellation or postponement for any reason, ticket purchases will be automatically refunded for the full purchase amount.
Tickets are for a timed arrival window. Guests can walk through the dinosaur experience at their own pace, and strollers are permitted.
General admission tickets include access to the dinosaur and marine exhibits, arts and crafts activities, and dinosaur shows. There are rides and activities that require activity tickets available on site, or guests can upgrade to the Kids Unlimited Rides ticket. Green screen photography and animal art tattoos are available at a separate cost.
Entry is free for children under age 2.
Hours are 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Dec. 29 and 30; 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Dec. 31; 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Jan. 1; and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Jan. 2.
The expo center is located at 97 Sunfield Ave., Edison.
New Jersey Youth Soccer (NJYS) announced the Frank Bollaci Memorial Scholarship.
A long-time president of the South Brunswick Soccer Club, Bollaci was also a coach and seasoned referee with the NJ State Referee Committee.
Beginning this fall, the Frank Bollaci Memorial Scholarship will award $1,000 to a deserving college-bound senior.
All applications, along with a short essay and high school transcript, must be received by Dec. 18. The essay should give an explanation of what soccer means to the applicant and how soccer has impacted his/her life. Also describe community service.
Scholarship winners will be notified by NJYS by Jan. 4, 2022. Winners will receive an award and also have the opportunity to be recognized via a press release and online interview promoted by NJYS.
The recipient of the scholarship will also receive recognition of the accomplishment through the NJYS Annual Awards presented by RWJBaranbas Health, which will take place in early 2022.
Applications are being accepted at www.surveymonkey.com/r/GQSLK9L
The New Jersey School Boards Association is encouraging students to submit entries to the Garden State Film Festival’s student submission category, “New Jersey Hometown Documentary Short” by the Jan. 8 deadline.
This category is reserved for works that are written, directed and shot by New Jersey high school students. Films must focus on some aspect of their hometown, including topics like profiles of interesting persons, places, time periods or subjects related to the arts.
This film submission category has been created to encourage young filmmakers’ creativity while instilling a sense of pride in their hometowns and state, according to information provided by the NJSBA.
Students are encouraged to submit entries on their own or through their school by the Jan. 8 deadline. The Garden State Film Festival’s professional jury will select winning films in various categories. The festival will take place from March 23-27 in Asbury Park. For more information, visit GSFF.org
The Partnership for Maternal and Child Health of Northern New Jersey, in collaboration with the New Jersey Department of Health, announced the launch of the 10th annual Protect Me With 3+ poster and video contest.
The contest challenges New Jersey youth in middle and high school to raise awareness about the importance of adolescent immunizations including tetanus, diphtheria, acellular pertussis (Tdap), human papillomavirus (HPV), meningococcal conjugate (MenACWY) and flu vaccines. Additionally, the contest has expanded to include entries for COVID-19 vaccination awareness.
Middle school and high school students can participate in the contest by submitting a hand-drawn poster or an original computer-generated poster that integrates key facts about one of the adolescent vaccines listed above. High school students also have the option to submit a video up to 30 seconds long instead of a poster.
In addition to accepting posters via mail, the contest is also accepting poster and video submissions electronically at www.protectmewith3.com/submit.
If a student is selected as a finalist, the agency will provide them with a pre-stamped envelope to mail their original poster.
Judges will then select the top three winners in each category.
The submission deadline is Jan. 23, 2022. Prizes will be awarded to the top three entries in the video and poster categories, and the winning entries will be showcased during various statewide immunization awareness activities.
Additionally, students who submit entries by Jan. 1, 2022, will be entered into random drawings to win prizes courtesy of Protect Me With 3+ event sponsors.
For more information about Protect Me With 3+ sponsorship opportunities, visit www.protectmewith3.com/sponsors.
The top five finalists in each of the three categories will be posted on www.protectmewith3.com for public voting in March. The winners will then be announced and honored at an awards ceremony in May.
New Jersey teachers are encouraged to make the Protect Me With 3+ contest a class project. As an added incentive, prizes will be awarded to the classrooms with the most eligible submissions in each of the three categories. For more information on lesson plans and interactive materials for schools, visit http://www.protectmewith3.com/schools.
Information regarding eligibility, video and poster submission guidelines, and contest rules can be found at www.protectmewith3.com.
The Middlesex County Sheriff’s Office will hold an 8-week-long Sheriff’s Civilian Academy for residents of Middlesex County in Spring 2022.
The academy is designed to educate residents on the various functions and duties of the Sheriff’s Office.
Applications are being accepted for the program, which will be held at the Middlesex County Fire Academy located in Sayreville.
The first session is scheduled for 7 to 9 p.m. April 5, 2022. Classes will continue weekly on Tuesdays. One Saturday class will be held. The program culminates with a graduation ceremony scheduled for May 24.
Each session will highlight functions of the Sheriff’s Office including defensive tactics, K-9, transportation, fingerprinting, DARE, courts, civil process and foreclosures, among others.
Participants will tour the Middlesex County Sheriff’s Office and the Main Courthouse in New Brunswick.
Applications are due no later than Feb. 15, 2022. The application will be used to determine suitability for the program. Applicants must be at least 18 years old, reside within the County of Middlesex, have no felony convictions, not be wanted for any crime, and submit to a limited background check.
For more information, call 732-745-3382.
The Pinelands Preservation Alliance’s Annual Juried Photo Exhibition has a scheduled opening for March 26, 2022.
All photographs must be made within the New Jersey Pinelands National Reserve. The reserve is found in portions of Atlantic, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Gloucester and Ocean counties. All wildlife, flora and fauna must be photographed in their natural environment.
Submission date is Jan. 30, 2022.
More than $2,000 in cash prizes will be awarded: $1,000 for First Place Best in Show; $350 each for First Place Landscape, Flora & Fauna, and Other (People, Towns, Architecture, Culture, History, Recreation, etc).
Photographs submitted for exhibition will be selected by a credentialed jury with final selections chosen by Michael Yamashita, an acclaimed National Geographic photographer.
Acceptance notification is planned from Feb. 14-18. Awards, including cash prizes, will be announced at the reception on March 26.
All selected photographs will be exhibited at the historic Bishop Farmstead in Southampton from March 28 through April 30, and all submitted photos will be on display in the online gallery opening by April 15.
Open submissions are $30 for up to three images and $5 per image for each additional image. A total of six images can be submitted per photographer.
All participants must use the Smarter Entry system to register. Photos must be JPEG format, and files cannot exceed 8MB in size.
Learn more at www.PinelandsPhotoExhibit.org or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Friends of the Metuchen Library are asking for donations of books.
Email email@example.com to schedule a dropoff appointment.
Cub Scout Pack 53 is celebrating its 70th year, and is holding registration for boys in grades kindergarten to 5. The pack is based out of the Fords section of Woodbridge and Clara Barton section of Edison.
Activities generally include fishing, hiking, BB guns, archery, service time, parades, the Pinewood Derby, the Raingutter Regatta and more.
Visit pack53fordsnj.shutterfly.com for more information.
Or, email firstname.lastname@example.org
The Kosher Meals on Wheels program through Jewish Family Services of Middlesex County is in need of substitute drivers to deliver meals, sometimes with limited notice.
Currently, there are openings on Mondays along the Highland Park route and along the Edison/Metuchen route. Areas include Woodbridge, Edison, Metuchen, Highland Park, East Brunswick and Old Bridge.
Call 732-777-1940 for information on how to apply.
To assist unemployed and underemployed county residents with their job search, Middlesex County’s One-Stop Career Centers within the Office of Career Opportunity are offering virtual career-related services.
In addition to accessing the One-Stop Career Centers for assistance with job searches, resume reviewing, career counseling, and career services for low-income residents, job seekers and underemployed residents are encouraged to sign up for SkillUp, a free online training portal with more than 5,500 courses focusing on business, project management, accounting, human resources, information technology, and customer service. To sign up, visit http://www.middlesexcountynj.gov/Government/Departments/BDE/Pages/SkillUp.aspx
The New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development also recently launched Job Source, offering a variety of tools designed to help fuel a successful job search experience. Users can create a free account and get tips and templates for job search, resume writing, cover letters and many other free services.
State-run One-Stop Career Centers are currently only operating remotely, with career-related services available virtually and by telephone. A return date for appointment-only services at the state-run centers has not been determined.
For more information, contact the Office of Career Opportunity at 732-745-3970 or if interested in job training contact Middlesex County One-Stop Career Centers at 732-745-3955 (New Brunswick) and 732-293-0642 (Perth Amboy) to schedule an appointment.
More information can be found at www.middlesexcountynj.gov/Government/Departments/BDE/Pages/Office_Workforce.aspx
The Central Jersey Chapter 148 of the Korean War Veterans extend an invitation to any veterans, regardless of the branch of service, who served during the Korean War from June 25, 1950, to July 27, 1953, in any location; or who served in Korea from July 27, 1953, to the current date.
The group meets at 10 a.m. for a breakfast meeting the second Wednesday of every month from May to December at the Monroe Township Municipal Building, downstairs on the first floor.
Requirements for membership include paying dues of $25 to the Korean War Veterans Association and $10 to the chapter each year.
Korean War Veterans National Life membership if one is over age 80 is $75.
The chapter is involved in various functions during the year, including fundraising to help veterans at the New Jersey State Veterans Memorial Home in Menlo Park, the Lyons Veterans Hospital Lyons, and the Vineland Veterans Hospital in Vineland.
For more information, contact membership chair Charlie Koppelman at 609-655-3111 or KWVANJ148@yahoo.com
Dove Hospice Services of New Jersey is seeking compassionate volunteers to provide support to local hospice patients and their families.
Hospice patient care volunteers visit with patients in their home, which can also be nursing facilities or assisted living facilities, at least once a week. Visits can be virtual and are during the day or early evening. Volunteers may also assist with administrative work in the hospice office.
To sign up for a virtual training class, contact Deborah Adams at 732-405-3035 or email Deborah@dovehs.com
Middlesex County residents looking for local farmers, grocery stores or food pantries – as well as public transportation routes to get there – can download the interactive map-based Accessing Healthy Foods app.
The Center for Therapy & Counseling Services is offering a Teen Girls Support Group.
This free group offers girls ages 13-17 a safe place to connect, share stories and be encouraging. The goal is to enhance self esteem, self confidence and communication skills.
Each group is led by trained facilitators.
Girls meet weekly at 7 p.m. Thursdays, virtually.
Registration is required by calling 732-254-0600.
Or, email email@example.com for more information.
The Center for Therapy & Counseling Services is located at 15 W. Prospect St., East Brunswick.
The Edison Recreation Department Teen Center is now open at the Minnie B. Veal Community Center.
Open basketball is held from 3-5 p.m. weekdays, from 7:30-9:30 p.m. Wednesdays and Fridays, and from noon to 2 p.m. Saturdays.
All teens must have a valid Teen Center Membership I.D. to participate in teen activities.
The half-year non-refundable membership for teens is $5 per resident and $10 per non-resident and is valid through Dec. 31.
Sign up online at www.edisonnj.org. Click on “Register for Recreation Now” and follow the instructions.
All members must adhere to the Teen Center rules.
For more information, call the Edison Recreation Department Monday through Friday at 732-248-7310 or the Minnie B. Veal Community Center at 732-248-7316.
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Coastal & Northern New Jersey (BBBSCNNJ) is inviting Middlesex County residents to become a volunteer Big Brother or Big Sister to a local child.
BBBSCNNJ currently has 20 children on its Middlesex County waiting list, mostly boys.
BBBSCNNJ provides one-to-one mentoring for youth ages 6-18. Volunteer Big Brothers and Sisters spend quality time with their Littles each month, enjoying free or low-cost activities during which the child may learn new skills, explore new interests, or expand their experience beyond their family and neighborhood.
There are no special skills required, and BBBSCNNJ’s experienced staff provides continual support.
To be matched with a Middlesex County child, apply at mentornj.org.
The Metuchen Farmers Market will be open from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays through November.
Walk up only; no curbside or drive-through.
For updates, visit www.metuchenfarmersmarket.com
The Woodbridge Township Farmers Market will be held from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. every Saturday in the Town Hall parking lot, 1 Main St., Woodbridge.
Parking will be available at the NJ Transit lot on Eleanor Street.
Face coverings required. Social distancing will be expected.
Sign up at https://forms.gle/nxuZUi5AMJe1RcyJ8
Middlesex County’s Parks and Recreation Department will accept reservations for picnic groves at nine county parks via a new online reservation system.
The parks included in this new reservation system include Alvin Williams Park in Woodbridge; Donaldson Park in Highland Park; Fords Park in Woodbridge; Johnson Park in Piscataway; Joseph Medwick Park in Carteret; Merrill Park in Woodbridge; Roosevelt Park in Edison; Thompson Park in Monroe; Warren Park in Woodbridge.
These picnic groves offer visitors a socially distanced way to host picnics and small gatherings in an outdoor setting.
Fees vary for each location and are contingent on the Executive Order in place at the time of event.
To reserve a picnic grove online and view a list of accommodations provided at each grove such as electrical outlets, charcoal grills, shelter, etc., visit www.middlesexcountynj.gov/About/ParksRecreation/Pages/PR/Reservations.aspx.
A list of rules and regulations for the use of picnic areas will be listed on that page.
Saint Peter’s University Hospital in New Brunswick has launched the Substance Abuse and Addiction Loss Support Group for families who are coping with loss due to addiction.
The free and confidential support group meets virtually on the second Thursday of every month from 7-8:30 p.m.
Inspired by Saint Peter’s Opioid Task Force, the Substance Abuse and Addiction Loss Support Group is for families and close loved ones of people who have passed away from addiction.
The support group is open to everyone in New Jersey and serves as a safe space for families to discuss their grief.
To join the Substance Abuse and Addiction Loss Support Group, call Jeanne Delacruz, a social worker at Saint Peter’s who facilitates the support group, at 732-745-8522 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Gain stability from an in-demand occupation; apply for a Women’s Center career training grant from Jewish Family Services of Middlesex County.
Qualified persons who are active members of the JFS Women’s Center must submit an application and attend an interview. Grants are available for short-term training programs for in-demand jobs.
Eligible candidates must qualify as a “displaced homemaker,” a woman who is a single mother, divorced, separated, widowed, or living with a disabled spouse/partner.
For more information or to schedule an appointment, email womenscenter@j fsmiddlesex.org
Central Jersey SCORE, a non-profit resource partner of the Small Business Administration, is looking for volunteers to assist people looking to start a business or grow an existing small business.
The organization is recruiting business owners and executives, both current and retired, who want to share their experience and knowledge with today’s up-and-coming entrepreneurs.
The Central Jersey Chapter of SCORE serves Middlesex, Somerset and Hunterdon counties.
Central Jersey SCORE provides in-person mentoring and webinars, both offered virtually in line with current pandemic restrictions. In addition, the SCORE website offers tools and templates on a wide variety of topics and numerous online courses and webinars to assist small business owners through every aspect of business development and management. Services are offered free of charge.
Anyone interested in volunteering with SCORE or seeking additional information should email email@example.com
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.