Department for Persons with Disabilities,
Diocese of Paterson

1 Catholic Charities Way, Oak Ridge, New Jersey 07438 -



"Some thoughts from a, 14 year old high school student, helping with the cleaning project last week.  I decided to share it with you." (Submitted by Sister Joan)

 “Last week, my father and I went with a group of well-meaning, young people to assist in the cleaning of a group home for people with mental disabilities. The group worked very hard, right from the start, cleaning one house per day at speeds that I thought we would never attain. I was impressed by their hardworking spirit, great wealth of character, and the way that they enjoyed themselves while completing the tasks set for them. On our last day at the center, we enjoyed a stunning performance by some of the home’s residents and refreshments that were provided by the administrators of the home. I was elated to see the residents and my peers enjoying themselves together and how much it meant to all of us to be there reveling in each other’s presence. Meeting the residents made the whole trip worthwhile because we were no longer working for a faceless group of people, but rather ones that were happy with our work and always had ready smiles. It is my personal belief that everyone was touched over the course of the week and I hope to return one day to serve the center again.”

Thank you for the opportunity to do this Sister, I greatly appreciate it. Attached is my work, I hope that you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Many Thanks!


Check out the slideshow featuring many of the Workcamp Volunteers and our Residents.




All the volunteers from Workcamp who worked very hard in our 3 homes in Oak Ridge finally got to meet and spend time with the folks whose rooms and homes they cleaned at a picnic last Thursday at Wiegand Farm. Up to that point they had been been working for a faceless group of people whom they only heard about. Well, that all came to an abrupt end on Thursday when everybody came face to face for FUN, FOOD and FROLIC!

There was music and singing by the residents and volunteers. Some of our lovely Residents did a version of 'My God and Hail Holy Queen' from the film 'Sister Act' . And, Some of our handsome Residents did a version of 'Big Girls Don't Cry and Sherry' from the Broadway Hit 'Jersey Boys'. Robert W. performed 'A Lovely Bunch of Coconuts, Michelle C. sang 'Devoted To You ' from Grease and Kelly M. and Penny Sue G. performed 'The Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow' from Annie.

All the Residents got up to say thank you to the Volunteers by signing to the song 'I Will Follow Him' also from the film Sister Act. The Workcamp Volunteers not to be out done got up and performed 'Greased Lightning from the film Grease and were joined by the Residents for a resounding finale.


Wish List Item: Storage Shed for Calabrese House Group Home in Parsippany  

Calabrese really needs a shed for snow blower and summer stuff.  There is no room and very cumbersome to bring items downstairs to basement. 
Although snow blower is covered by a tarp, it is getting ruined by being outside along with other summer stuff.  This shed would be perfect and is $547.

New Orleans Volunteers - DPD and other Catholic Charities Staff go on work crew in October 2006  

The third Catholic Charities group of volunteers worked for a week in New Orleans to help rehab homes there. Lisa Beasley (far right)
and Don Rossi (front right) from Gruenert Center are DPD staff.  This is Don's second trip!


Another successful and fun-filled Art Class on July 26, 2006 offered by two of our wonderful friends from Blessed Kateri Parish- Chriss Murphy
and Amy Betano. Chriss and her husband, Glen, were instrumental in the Confirmation students coming in the spring to offer a great picnic and
 do some planting and landscaping around our homes in Oak Ridge. Amy is a Junior at Sparta High and is a member of the Honor Society and
Marching Band at her school. They came in June and our “local artists” made a patriotic place mat with Chriss and Amy and at this session,
they painted beautiful treasure boxes. In August, they will work on tote bags at the class. Chriss said she and Amy are grateful for the opportunity
 to share the Christian mission with the DPD and we are so happy to have them come so well prepared and with all of the materials to lead the art
 classes. I would like to personally thank them and also the staff from our programs who always help the artists at work. ~Sister Joan.


Thanks to Margaret, Sue, Lynette, Margaret Papageorge, director and Serena DeLeeux, associate director at Wehrlen House for helping out at the Casey Classic fundraising event. They enjoyed the event and did a great job socializing with the golfers at the awards dinner.  Their charm paid off - a very generous person purchased a beautiful new flat screen TV at the live auction and gave it to the Wehrlen House ladies on the spot, and it was delivered and set up at Wehrlen House the next day! 

  Nine DPD staff members completed a Developmental Disabilities Certificate Program. Donations to the Staff Development Fund made this possible. The Certificate Program was offered through a joint effort between the Boggs Center, UMDNJ - Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and Rutgers Center for Children and Families. It covered a wide spectrum of topics concerning individuals with developmental disabilities from diagnosis through end of life in a variety of settings. The program gave an insight into how the provision of services has evolved, the best practices to adopt and where we stand to play a role in providing high quality services. It was also a rich source of information that equipped us better to deal with the daily challenges we face in our jobs.

Isabel Almonte-Marte, Director of Kelleher Apartments in Butler said " I am very grateful to the generous souls that support the DPD and the Staff Development Fund for making it possible for me and several of my colleagues obtain a Certificate in Developmental Disabilities. The program consisted of 12 trainings of 6 hours each. They were spread out in the fall and spring semester".  

"For me, it was a thrilling experience, because it allowed me the opportunity to see that I can do it and do it well.  It's been ten years since graduating from Montclair State University.  It was great to attend these trainings, I loved sitting in the front and being an active participant. It felt so great to be on campus and back to the classroom. Now that the program is complete, I can’t wait to go back to get a masters degree in the field. Continuing my education in this field is my passion, and working as a helping professional this ministry. My job doesn’t end when I punch out and go home; I just take a break."  

"I hope that generous people continue supporting the Staff Development Fund so that we are able to get the academic skills necessary to better care for the individuals that we serve. Thank you so much for this. Your support and contribution made it possible.  I am committing myself to pass on the knowledge I have obtained to the rest of the staff in the agency".



Laurie Bashant is a wonderful example of a staff member with tremendous dedication and competence. Laurie is associate director at Alexander House.  Laurie takes responsibility above and beyond, as an example, she cancelled a weekend trip because of scheduling needs at the home. She often goes above and beyond the call of duty.  The DPD provides the best quality care because of Laurie and the many dedicated staff who give so much love and care!

(pictured to the right are Howie and Laurie at the Murray House Dinner Dance)

Long time Basile Apartments beloved resident Thomas (Tim) Leavy  passed away in July 2006. (8/1/1936 - 7/12/2006). Thomas (Tim) Leavy was the “grand old man” of Basile. When you think of Basile, you started with Tim.  He was the elder statesman among the guys. Tim was quite a character.  He had a passion for sports and every morning he would update everyone on the scores of the local baseball, football, hockey and basketball teams along with a brief analysis of the performance. Tim was a great gentleman and a man of faith.  He was personable and he had a certain charm.  We all know that Tim is in a better place.