From the Township of South Orange Village:
The Township of South Orange Village is pleased to launch its Community Care & Justice (CC&J) social media presence on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. CC&J will use its social media presence to share news and information related to its mission of empowering community members in optimizing their own wellness and in turn protecting the community’s most vulnerable and its youth.
The Community Care & Justice program was initiated by South Orange Village President Sheena Collum and seeks to “reimagine” traditional models of public safety through the larger lens of community wellness, with a greater emphasis on crisis prevention through education and first responder referrals to social service providers. The program is overseen by Trustee Donna Coallier, Chair of the Village’s Health and Public Safety Committee, and led by Program Director Jayme Ganey, MA, LPC.
“We have built a powerful CC&J network that comprises first responders, school resources, neighboring municipalities, community organizations, mental wellness and education organizations, and academic institutions with social justice initiatives,” said Director Ganey. “We’ll be sharing content from our network that can benefit the local community.”
“So many in our community contribute time and money to wellness efforts, particularly for the underserved,” said Trustee Coallier. “We want to use the CC&J platform to amplify their news and inspire more wellness activism. We’ll also share news and events that are driven by our CC&J team.”
CC&J initiatives include academic and social work-supported community outreach, education and conversations that equip community members with care and compassion tools to further their own wellness and help them to serve community youth and those that experience racial bias or inequities, crime, bullying, housing insecurity, substance misuse, in-home violence, mental health crisis, and other public health concerns.
CC&J Outreach officially began receiving referrals in fall 2021. To help first responders to make referrals and better serve the community, the Outreach Team provides mental health awareness training to the South Orange Police Department and the South Orange Rescue Squad. Referral follow-up includes supportive counseling and case management services for those impacted by issues such as mental health crisis, racial trauma, substance use, domestic violence, sexual assault, homelessness, and more. CC&J Outreach also schedules “office hours” at police headquarters where they are able to speak with officers about mental health concerns and collaborate on the referral program.
CC&J educational programming covers a broad mental health and wellness spectrum ranging from anxiety and depression awareness to addressing racial trauma and bias. Initiatives have included a wellness series launch offering youth anxiety management, suicide prevention and other relevant mental health topics along with several collaborations with Seton Hall University including an 8-week Social Justice Activation collaboration led by Dr. Jamila T. Davis and Dr. Juan Rios. Other Seton Hall collaborations include the Peace and Community Justice speaker series and an immersive virtual reality platform through which a participant can “embody” an avatar encountering racism.
For more details, the 2021CC&J Year in Review can be found on the Village website: https://www.southorange.org/DocumentCenter/View/6651/2021-CCJ-Year-in-Review. Facebook users can follow CC&J at www.facebook.com/groups/ccandj; Instagram users can follow CC&J at www.instagram.com/cc_n_j; Twitter users can follow CC&J @CC_N_J.
Those interested in volunteering their time to further CC&J programming efforts should reach out to Director Jayme Ganey at firstname.lastname@example.org. Those who would like to make a tax-deductible donation to Community Care & Justice can make out a check to the Township of South Orange Village with “Community Care & Justice” indicated in the memo, and mail it to South Orange Village at 76 South Orange Avenue, South Orange, New Jersey, 07079.