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Monmouth County news briefs, April 20

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Gretchen Schmelzer will present “Emergence from COVID: Wellness, Healing and Resilience” in person at Brookdale Community College, Lincroft, and virtually on Zoom from 11:45 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. April 26.

As a therapist and trauma survivor, Schmelzer wants people to know that sometimes what feels like a big setback is actually an unexpected difficult step forward, according to a press release.

The presentation will be an honest conversation about exhaustion and the reset and repair necessary for self-care and collective well-being. The presentation will be in the Student Life Center Navesink Rooms, 765 Newman Springs Road, Lincroft, parking lot 7.

The event is free and open to the public and sponsored by the Brookdale Community College Wellness Center. To participate virtually, visit https://www.brookdalecc.edu/event/gretchen-schmelzer-lecture/


United Way of Monmouth and Ocean Counties (UWMOC) is teaming up with the nonprofit food truck Food for Thought by the Sea to serve meals and the community during the United for Impact Food Truck Festival – the first event of its kind for both organizations.

In partnership with DowntownFreehold.com, UWMOC is hosting the United for Impact Food Truck Festival on April 24 from noon to 6pm on West Main Street in Freehold Borough. Guests will enjoy food, beer, vendors and live music from the Joe Baracata Band, the Eddie Testa Band and Step Aside.

The suggested donation of $5 per person will help advance UWMOC’s mission to bridge the gaps to education, financial stability and health for every person in the community, according to a press release.

Food for Thought is one of nine food trucks that will be serving at the event, but the only one that is operating as a nonprofit. Based out of Asbury Park, which has an unemployment rate more than twice the national average, Food for Thought provides local youths and community members with work opportunities that will improve their skills and train them for future careers, according to the press release.

United Way of Monmouth and Ocean Counties and Food for Thought were brought together by Tom Hayes, Director of Customer and Community Relations for New Jersey Natural Gas, which is engaged with both organizations and is the largest funder of the Food for Thought food truck, according to the press release.


In partnership with the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, Monmouth Arts is offering an infusion of $30,000 in “Renew 2022” funds to support Monmouth County’s cultural community.

This opportunity will focus on reviving Monmouth County live performances and events that fuel the reopening and recovery of nonprofit arts organizations, according to a press release.

Renew 2022 grants will provide support for free in-person arts events and live performances presented by small nonprofit arts organizations or artists or artist collectives that focus on community engagement. Grants will be provided for work across all artistic disciplines, according to the press release.

Grants will be awarded in the amount of $1,000 to $5,000. Priority will be given to those who are first-time applicants to Monmouth Arts as well as for arts events and activities that benefit under-resourced communities. Special consideration will also be given to all project types that allocate more than 50% of the budget to artist fees. All funds must be used before Dec. 31, 2022, according to the press release.

“The pandemic deeply impacted Monmouth County’s artistic community, specifically nonprofit arts organizations and artists. Monmouth Arts’ Renew 2022 grants affirm our commitment to area artists and support the return of arts programming in our community. We encourage first-time applicants to apply, as well as organizations with projects that benefit disenfranchised communities and artists,” said Teresa Staub, executive director of Monmouth Arts.

Groups are invited to go to https://www.monmoutharts.org/arthelps to see the full guidelines and application. The deadline to apply is May 23.


Christian Brothers Academy, Lincroft, has announced that Cornelius “Neil” Begley, a member of the class of 1996, has been chosen as the 10th principal in school history.

A science and mathematics teacher at CBA from 2003-09, Begley returns to the
academy after spending 13 years at St. Leo the Great School in Lincroft as vice
principal and principal.

“It is an honor to come back to a place which helped form me into the man I am
today,” Begley was quoted as saying in a press release. “Having spent many years at CBA, both as a student and an educator, I am excited about my new role as principal. I look forward to working with the students, faculty, staff and parents as we continue the rich traditions of CBA.”

Begley will succeed Ross Fales as CBA principal, as Fales elevates to school president on July 1. Begley will be responsible for leading the all-boys, college preparatory school’s day-to-day academic operations and essential student functions, according to the press release.

At CBA, Begley was a varsity basketball player, an inductee into the National Honor Society, vice president of Student Council and a member of the Math Team. He lives in Monmouth County with his wife, Jayme, and their two children.

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