Moorestown resident named president of It Takes A Village NJ, after previous president passing

It takes a village

It Takes a Village New Jersey, located in Moorestown, is a non-profit, volunteer organization that helps the elderly, disabled and returning vets who need assistance, free of charge. The organization was started by a caring Moorestown couple, Irwin and Trudi Herman, in 2011.

When Irwin, the president of ITAVNJ, passed away at the end of last year, ITAVNJ was in need of a new president. Moorestown’s Jason Scala has stepped up to the plate to become the new president and has been successfully filling the duties so far.

“I guess Trudi saw some of Irv in me; he was a mechanical engineer, too. So she asked if I would fill the position,” Scala said.

“I think it is wonderful (he is president); he is just a caring, sweet guy. (I hope) he brings youthful enthusiasm and people who might help and become volunteers. We’re helping people and making them happier,” Trudi said.

Scala lives in Moorestown with his wife Sarah, and her two daughters Claire and Ella, and works in Trenton as a mechanical engineer, just as Irwin did before his retirement. He found out about ITAVNJ when he saw the flyers up in the old library and called to find out more about ITAVNJ.

“ITAVNJ is a great organization. Trudi is a wonderful, thoughtful person who has volunteering in her blood. I admire the work she and Irv have done throughout their lives … It’s heartening to know that there are so many people out there willing to donate their time to help others,” Scala said.

Scala is no stranger to volunteering. Serving with a church youth group caroling to the homebound, he learned what a difference a small effort can make.

“The idea that there are people out there who don’t have anyone to rely on or to talk to is difficult for me to accept. It’s great that the Village is here to help ameliorate that,” Scala said.

Since attending the training a number of years ago, he has helped Trudi with the many hats she wears for ITAVNJ.

When Trudi asked him to be president, Scala was hesitant at first. He said, with the number of clients and volunteers, he was concerned he would not be able to commit the time needed to everyone. But running on Trudi’s philosophy of doing your best and not stressing about it, he has felt confident ITAVNJ will get people the help they need one way or another.

His duties as of now are to serve on the board and help the Village grow.

“I’ve been to two board meetings so far and feel like I’m still settling into the role,” Scala said.

Scala is looking forward to helping get enough volunteers to meet the clients’ needs. Right now, ITAVNJ has more clients than volunteers.

“I also hope that we’re able to get a steady stream of donations that will help guarantee the future of the Village,” Scala

ITAVNJ’s mission is to help elderly and disabled neighbors of any age and returning veterans remain safely and independently in their homes by providing free support services, such as going out for groceries and running errands; visiting, calling or reading to the visually impaired; giving caretakers a break; and driving clients to local doctors, libraries and stores. Towns served include Moorestown, Cinnaminson, Delran, Hainesport, Maple Shade and Mt. Laurel.

Volunteers do not provide services such as giving or dispensing medication to clients, cleaning the household or premises or giving personal care and bathing.

Coming up next for ITAVNJ are its general meeting and volunteer training.

ITAVNJ is always in need of volunteers. New volunteers are invited to an hour-long training session held on the last Tuesday each month with a social worker from Princeton House Behavioral Health in Moorestown, Jennifer Giovainazzi. This month, the meeting is Tuesday, March 29 from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Church Street Station, 400 N. Church St., Suite 100. Those interested should call if attending.

The general meeting will be held on Tuesday, April 7 at the Moorestown Library from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. with special guest speaker Linda Cushing, director of the Burlington County Office on Aging and Disabilities. She will explain the services the county offers the disabled and seniors. Also at the meeting will be the premiere of the ITAVNJ song, written by Trudi and edited and put to music by Neil Arot, and a free raffle. All are welcome.

For further information about ITAVNJ, to refer a new client or to volunteer, go to www.itavnj.org, email ItTakesAVillageNJ@gmail. com or call (856) 396–5783.

The Lyrics to the song are:

Intro:
It takes a village along life’s rocky way
To life a neighbor up and help them through their day
Oh it takes a village. It only takes a village
Won’t you help us build a village? And make some dreams come true

It takes a village, a caring loving group
To help a needy neighbor with a nice warm bowl of soup
Oh it takes a village. It only takes a village
Won’t you help us build a village? And make some dreams come true

We need you, yes we do
So we can see it through
So help us make some dreams come true

It takes a volunteer, just one at a time
To lay a foundation of a village that’s strong and kind
Oh it takes a village, it only takes a village
Won’t you help us build a village? And make some dreams come true

Oh it takes a village. It only takes a village
Won’t you help us build a village? And make some dreams come true