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Push to Walk Collaborates with Local Universities

Push to Walk (PTW) has worked collaboratively with several area colleges and universities in creating and maintaining an internship program here at PTW’s specialized gym. These schools include William Paterson University, Ramapo College, Montclair State University, and TCNJ. Students from different majors have participated in the program including students majoring in Exercise Science, Communications, Marketing, Journalism, and Social Work.

The interns that are assigned to PTW gain valuable experience while earning college credit. PTW stands apart from other internships because the trainers and the staff work exclusively with individuals within the paralysis community. The interns learn firsthand about workouts, equipment, and current research in the field. Many of PTW’s current staff began their professional journey as interns and find it difficult to leave the clients and the organization behind after their internship hours are completed.

PTW’s Director of Operations, Stephanie Lajam, began as an intern in the summer of 2009. Since then, she has received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees while consistently remaining part of the PTW team. The relationships she has built with the clients, their families, the staff, and other networks will be everlasting.

My story is similar. My name is Amanda and I was one of the interns who found it difficult to leave after my hours were completed. It only took a few days to feel like I was part of the team. I am currently the Development Assistant for Push to Walk, and a junior at Ramapo College of New Jersey. I started as an intern in September of 2018 like many of the staff here at PTW. As an intern on the administrative staff, I was able to assist with grant writing, development tasks, and fund raising. I also worked along-side both the administrative and training staff.

At PTW the idea of community and building relationships is emphasized not only with clients, but the staff as well. Thanks to the experience and family-like atmosphere I didn’t even hesitate to answer when asked to work here part-time in January of 2019. Every action and task completed at PTW is to benefit the clients and I knew I wanted to continue to be part of that. I have since learned a lot about how a non-profit organization works, and how essential PTW is to the paralysis community. Interning, and now working here gave me the opportunity to be part of something bigger than myself; something so empowering it can change lives.

For more information on how to become an intern at PTW or to simply volunteer, please contact Stephanie Lajam at slajam@pushtowalknj.org.

NJ Devils Kenny Agostino Expresses Support for Paralysis Community and PTW

Put a few athletes in a room and they are likely to make a connection, even if one of them plays for the National Hockey League and the other is a former high school athlete who has been paralyzed for over a dozen years. This is what happened Wednesday when New Jersey Devils forward Kenny Agostino met Darren Templeton, one of the founders of Push to Walk (PTW), a non-profit organization that helps those with paralysis stay physically fit.

Darren sustained a C5 spinal cord injury after diving into shallow water at the New Jersey Shore in July 2004. He was 18 years old at the time and had played on his high school ice hockey team. The accident left him paralyzed from the chest down. Upon completing traditional rehabilitation therapy, Darren looked for a way to gain strength and improve his overall fitness. Traditional gyms in northern New Jersey could not accommodate his needs. As a result, he and his mother, Cynthia Templeton, founded PTW in 2007.

This specially-equipped wheelchair accessible gym has trainers who are certified in methods that have shown to work with people who have spinal cord injuries, multiple sclerosis, traumatic brain injuries, and other neurological mobility impairments.

Agostino, a New Jersey native who began playing for the Devils in March, visited the gym, located in Oakland, after learning that a former high school ice hockey player – and a devoted Devils’ fan – was one of the founders. His visit was eye-opening.

“The people who work out at Push to Walk are truly inspiring. They are among the most resilient individuals I have ever met. It’s clear that PTW is making a difference in their lives,” emphasizes Agostino, who supports the organization’s mission of helping individuals with spinal cord injuries and other forms of paralysis optimize their quality of life.

If you know of anyone who is struggling with mobility issues as a result of a spinal cord injury, stroke, MS, or other neurological condition, PTW can be a valuable resource. It’s not only a place where these individuals build their physical strength, but also a place where they build lifelong friendships. As a PTW Board member for the past five years, I have had the privilege of witnessing this firsthand. For more information, go to www.pushtowalknj.org or call (201) 644-7567.

Helene Kennedy
PTW Board Member

Crowd Rise Challenge: Please Help PTW Reach its Goal!

Push to Walk has been accepted to enter a Crowd Rise Challenge in hopes of being considered for a Gannett Grant. During the challenge we compete against other non-profit organizations to raise money and awareness. The challenge began earlier this week on March 18th and will continue through April 21st. Throughout the next four weeks we will be seeking donations to reach our goal of $6,000. We can also win weekly mini challenges based on total donations for the week.

We encourage all our clients, friends, and families to share the donation link so we can reach out to as many potential donors as possible. Money raised must go through the Crowd Rise link within the four weeks to be considered an eligible donation. At the end of the campaign, we must have at least $6,000 raised to be considered for a grant from the Gannett Foundation.

The Gannett Grant is a great opportunity to be considered for. Once the challenge is over, all the organizations competing will be evaluated by judges to choose recipients for the Gannett Grant itself. Your donation will help Push to Walk continue to help those with paralysis achieve their highest level of physical fitness in a positive and encouraging environment.

Donations will be accepted from March 18-April 21st. Please consider donating and sharing to spread the word! Any sized donation is appreciated.

Please visit Push to Walk's Crowd Rise page to make your donation and share for others to contribute.

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