$100,000 in scholarships awarded to those enrolled in CarePlus services
Paramus, N.J. (June 11, 2019) – The CarePlus Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that supports the innovative and life-changing programs and services of Care Plus NJ, Inc. (“CarePlus”) and its subsidiaries, hosted its 21st Annual Courage Awards Gala on Tuesday, June 4, 2019 at the Terrace at Biagio’s in Paramus. The gala benefited the clients and programs of CarePlus while celebrating those who tirelessly advocate on behalf of the mental health community.
As the organization’s largest fundraiser of the year, the proceeds generated from the gala will be dispersed over many important channels within the organization, including funding educational scholarships for those enrolled in CarePlus services, housing and medication assistance, substance abuse services, outpatient treatment and therapy for children and adults, as well as advocacy and community education.
As a not-for-profit and community-based provider, CarePlus is a fierce advocate in the fight to break the stigma surrounding mental and behavioral health, taking integrated and holistic approach to behavioral health care and substance use disorders. Committed to helping clients rise above stigma and strive for mental wellness, the organization awarded $100,000 in scholarships this year to individuals enrolled in CarePlus services. The scholarships fund various professional trainings and educational programs from PhD programs to master’s degrees, to mindfulness trainings and trade schools, as well as to pursue a variety of personal growth and professional development avenues. To date, CarePlus has awarded more than $500,000 in scholarships, with the amount dispersed increasing annually.
Jade Greer, a CarePlus Foundation scholarship recipient, said, “CarePlus has genuinely changed my life. They offered me access to therapy, psychiatrists, and specialized treatment. But most importantly, they offered me a life I never saw myself living. I cannot express enough how grateful I am that the Tenafly School District brought CarePlus into our schools.”
In a speech that brought the room to tears, Greer added, “This scholarship will fund my dream of pursuing a degree in political science. I dream of a world where no one is denied metal health care due to their socioeconomic status, where no one is forced to spend their nights alone crying, where no one is left to deal with the ups and downs of life. I’m pursuing political science to make this life better for me, and for everyone else.”
As the speaker at this year’s event, Greer was recognized as the Selma & Bernard Dubnick scholar in honor of longtime friends and supporters of CarePlus who advocated to start the scholarship fund.
In addition to dispersing scholarships to those enrolled in CarePlus services, the 2019 Courage Awards honored those in the mental health community that uphold the values of the gala’s annual theme of “Rising Above” the status quo, going above and beyond to make a difference in the lives of those with mental illness. This year’s honorees included:
John Uzzi for his admirable dedication to the success of CarePlus as a board member, event chair, and committee volunteer, as well as for his selfless services in Bergen County and beyond.
SASCO-Otterstedt for its longtime partnership with CarePlus and for its ongoing generosity in supporting CarePlus as a significant sponsor for major events throughout the years.
CIT-NJ Center of Excellence for its remarkable efforts in training New Jersey law enforcement and mental health professionals to respond most effectively, and with compassion, to those experiencing psychiatric crisis.
“With consistent innovation and community problem-solving, CarePlus is poised to be recognized as a national model of integrated care,” stated Laura Siclari, CarePlus Board Chair and 2019 Courage Awards Co-Chair. “We do not take that lightly. Our organization has truly risen above many challenges to get to where we are today, and none of that is possible without the support of our community partners, including this year’s Courage Award honorees.”
This year, the inaugural Joe Masciandaro Scholarship was awarded to Cynthia Escarcega, who is pursuing her Master’s in Business Administration. The award is named in honor of CarePlus President and CEO Joe Masciandaro’s 40-year legacy. Each year moving forward, this award will recognize an outstanding staff member pursuing educational or professional goals.
“We also have to acknowledge the excellent performance of CarePlus staff,” Siclari continued. “This year we are thrilled to present the inaugural Joe Masciandaro Scholarship, which is designed to continue the legacy of professional development, advocacy and leadership.”
Another first for the annual gala, CarePlus launched a Transportation Fund in an effort to remove a major obstacle to care that 3.6 million Americans face annually. The CarePlus Transportation Fund was established to serve individuals who do not have a vehicle or have a disability that prevents them from driving by helping to provide vehicles for programs and supporting innovative approaches such as CarePlus’ partnership with UberHealth.
To learn more about the CarePlus Transportation Fund or to make a donation, please contact the CarePlus Foundation at [email protected] and 201-986-5070, or visit https://www.careplusnj.org/new-transportation-fund-launched/.
For more than 40 years, Care Plus NJ, Inc. (“CarePlus”) has been a pioneer in integrated primary and behavioral health services for adults and children in northern New Jersey. Based in Paramus, New Jersey, CarePlus is committed to providing the most comprehensive integrated treatment options through 72 programs designed to meet the full spectrum of health and wellness needs for adults and children in the communities it serves. Specializing in acute care, CarePlus provides immediate, high-quality health services and support programs for individuals in crisis. Nationally ranked for excellence in customer satisfaction by the Mental Health Corporations of America, CarePlus is mission driven ensuring that anyone who needs it has access to specialized care. To learn more about CarePlus and its wide range of programs and services, visit https://www.careplusnj.org/.