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You could win a brand new car! Push to Walk’s 10th Annual Casino Night at Route 23 Auto Mall-Saturday, April 6, 2019

Alright, you can’t really win a car but our event host, Route 23 Auto Mall still makes us feel pretty lucky. Push to Walk will once again hold its Annual Casino Night at Route 23 Auto Mall in Butler, NJ. The local car dealership has generously cut their business hours short for years to loan out the space to host the event and 2019 is no different. President and Vice President, Scott Barna and Donna Christman recognize their social responsibility to their local community and find ways to give back through many efforts. Last year, a winter storm knocked out power in Butler and Kinnelon a few days before Casino Night. Barna, Christman, and their staff worked tirelessly to get power restored and the dealership event ready. “We were unsure if our event would take place, but Scott Barna was in constant communication with Push to Walk staff as he received updates from the power company and as his staff was able to shovel out cars and move them to have the space for event attendees to park,” said Stephanie Lajam, Push to Walk Director of Operations.

Push to Walk’s 10th Annual Casino Night featuring a Texas Hold ‘Em Tournament will be Saturday, April 6, 2019. Texas Hold ‘Em players who make it to the final table will have their chance at winning $5,000 in VISA gift cards and other prizes. Not a poker player? You can join us for roulette and blackjack. Don’t worry roulette and blackjack players will have a chance to win from another selection of prizes. All entries include starting chips, buffet, beer, and wine.

We are also offering a special deal for any 2018 tournament participants. Call us with the name of a registering newcomer (friend who has not participated before) and you will receive $50 off of your entry!

If you’d rather sit back and observe the action, you’re welcome to register as a spectator. Evening will also include a 50/50 raffle!

Poker players who register online will receive a 1,000 chip bonus! Visit our registration site to secure your spot for Saturday, April 6th, 2019, for more information, or sponsorship opportunities.

12 Years???? Happy 12th Anniversary to Push to Walk!

Twelve years ago, on January 15, 2007, Push to Walk opened its doors for the first time. I can remember the day like it was yesterday: our small space in Bloomingdale, three clients (2 of whom I hadn't even met!), two trainers and much anticipation and anxiousness. How would this go? Would anyone come? Would we survive? The question "what am I doing???" would cross my mind for quite a while after opening.

Survive we did, for that first year, and I remember my Mom bringing in a homemade cake for our first anniversary. We were learning every day, figuring things out as we went, and started to realize there was definitely a need for our services. As our tiny gym got more crowded with new equipment, more clients, their wheelchairs and caregivers/transportation providers, I knew Push to Walk needed more space.

After a considerable search we found space in Riverdale. It wasn't ideal - more like an office space we made work as a gym - but it was there we found our footing and expanded our gym space to the maximum amount possible. After eight and half years, we knew the things we wanted, and that our clients needed, and it was time to move again.

In Oakland, we found a space that is a true gym. A place with lots of open space for walking, enough equipment (is there ever enough equipment?!), offices and a conference room. But now Push to Walk is so much more than a physical space. It is about people coming together who share common stories and common goals. It is a place to work hard and be challenged, yes. It is also a place to learn from others: clients learning from clients, family members sharing information and helping each other. A place where social interactions and camaraderie are fostered and grow.

In California I witnessed this type of setting when Darren and I spent time at a specialized gym there multiple times. I am so proud that Push to Walk has not only reached that level, but exceeded it in so many ways. This is attributed to the entire staff and the team of volunteers who work behind the scenes to make sure we thrive and not merely survive. It is due to our clients and their family members who put their trust in us. It is the generosity of our donors that enable us to help our clients reach their goals.

Push to Walk's success is the combination of a WHOLE LOT of people who CARED and continue to care, from a year before opening to today. So while this month of January marks our anniversary on the calendar, there is much to celebrate each and every day as our clients with paralysis work hard, challenge themselves and reach for the stars. How proud I am to be on this journey with everyone who is a part of Push to Walk!

Cynthia Templeton, Push to Walk Founder & Community Partnerships Coordinator

The 3 Benefits of Volunteering

As a nonprofit organization we understand how valuable volunteers are. At our nonprofit, Push to Walk, volunteers are the heart and soul of what we can accomplish daily. They help directly with our clients who are paralyzed, they assist with administrative tasks like outreach, and they even help us with fundraising during our annual events. Volunteering helps every party involved as it gives much needed support to nonprofits while also teaching you many important tools that can greatly impact your life. In an effort to break down that impact we’ve listed our top 3 benefits of volunteering. If you decide that volunteering at Push to Walk is something you want to try, send us an email at slajam@pushtowalknj.org to see how you can get involved with the local paralysis community.

1. Decreases Your Stress

Looking for new ways to decrease the stress in your life? Try volunteering! We know that may sound a little odd, but volunteering has been proven to reduce stress as noted by the Mayo Clinic’s “6 Health Benefits of Volunteering” article. Through interacting with new people and donating your time to help others you can develop a new sense of appreciation for yourself. Learning to appreciate all you’re doing for the community not only decreases your stress, but it teaches you healthy ways to manage your time and biggest priorities. So the next time you’re looking for ways to decrease stress try volunteering in New Jersey and know that you’re not just helping those in need - you’re helping yourself as well.

2. Increases Your Confidence

Confidence helps with so much in your everyday life. It’s what gives you an extra push to speak up for yourself or to make bolder decisions with your future. However, confidence is a hard skill to develop because it’s really rooted in kindness. Having the courage to be kind and help others through volunteering is a great way to increase your confidence at work, with your family, and with your friends. When you volunteer, you learn to be confident for those who can’t be. You exercise your speaking and presenting skills which tend to be with new people. The more practice you get at communicating with others, the more confident you’ll be no matter where you are. So if you want to have the confidence to ask your boss for that promotion you deserve, try volunteering locally. You’ll be sure to find great volunteer opportunities near you, and in return you’ll find new ways to gain a little extra confidence.

3. Expands Your Connections

Networking is a great skill to have because it can further in your career, business connections, and social life. However, networking is pointless if you don’t have any connections to talk with. Volunteering not only teaches you the confidence you’ll need to network, but it opens new doors that can help you make great connections. From local community leaders to successful board members, volunteering connects you with a side of your community that you might not otherwise have a chance to meet. Every time you volunteer locally you expand your connections in New Jersey by meeting new, interesting leaders that now know you care about your community. So try volunteering to open your heart and also open new doors - you never know who you’ll meet.

While the benefits of volunteering are always evolving, there is one thing about it that will remain true: it changes lives. Your impact in New Jersey is needed at so many great nonprofit organizations. Whether you have enough time to volunteer once a month or once a week, it will always be appreciated. If you’re looking for volunteer opportunities near you, then try emailing us here at Push to Walk. We’ll be happy to find a position that suits your interests and we’re looking forward to hearing from you!

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