Posts Tagged '“Ocean County Library Toms River”'

Prom gown giveaway visited by 2 celebrities Friday afternoon

Miss Ocean County Kyra Seeley, 18, of Middlesex looks over the prom dress rack at Mancini Hall at the Toms River Branch of the Ocean County Library.

Miss Ocean County Kyra Seeley, 18, of Middlesex looks over the prom dress rack at Mancini Hall at the Toms River Branch of the Ocean County Library.

Kyra Seeley, Miss Ocean County, and Fox News reporter Tamara Laine stopped by Mancini Hall Friday afternoon to look over the prom gowns Ocean County Library was distributing for free to area teens.

Laine also interviewed Toms River branch manager Zarita Mattox and Erin DeLucia. Erin began the distribution program six years ago when she was a Young Adult librarian in Lakewood. That first year she distributed 25 gowns. This year more than 700 gowns were distributed in five branches.

Many thanks to the local residents who donated the gently used gowns, shoes and accessories to help fulfill the dreams of area teens.

Berkeley Branch Manager Erin Delucia, left, joins Toms River Branch Manager and Chief Librarian Zarita Mattox, center during an interview with Fox News reporter Tamara Laine of Chasing New Jersey.

Berkeley Branch Manager Erin Delucia, left, joins Toms River Branch Manager and Chief Librarian Zarita Mattox, center during an interview with Fox News reporter Tamara Laine of Chasing New Jersey.

Fox News reporter Tamara Laine tries on one of three prom dresses during her segment that will appear on Chasing New Jersey on My 9 and Fox 29 at 10 pm on Monday or Tuesday.

Fox News reporter Tamara Laine tries on one of three prom dresses during her segment that will appear on Chasing New Jersey on My 9 and Fox 29 at 10 pm on Monday or Tuesday.

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OCL wraps up prom gown giveaway Saturday

OCL's four-month prom gown giveaway ends this Saturday.

OCL’s four-month prom gown giveaway ends this Saturday.

“Oh my God,” said Tiana Johnson-Sender, Manchester High School, when she walked into Ocean County Library’s Mancini Hall Thursday afternoon to select a gown for her high school prom.

“I can’t get over how many gowns there are,” she said. “I didn’t expect people to donate so much.”

The hall at the library’s Toms River branch had hundreds of gowns, shoes, handbags and accessories that it offered the teens for free.

“This is a great thing they’re doing here,” she said. “With the high prices of gowns it helps you out. For some girls it’s way too expensive to go to the prom.”

“Everyone from the library has been so nice,” said Christine Reeves. Her daughter Leanna, Pinelands Regional High School, was looking for just the right dress.

“Everyone has been helpful and supportive of the girls as they decide which gown to take,” said Christine, “and they are honest in their assessments.”

“I’d want people to be honest with me if I were choosing,” said Joanne Halloran, Teen Services librarian “If I feel it’s not flattering I’d like them to choose a better one. And sometimes a girl wants an opinion from someone other than Mom, so they ask me.”

Halloran greeted the teens and their mothers when they entered Mancini Hall and helped them wrap the gowns they selected.

This was the sixth year Ocean County Library hosted the prom gown giveaway.

This year’s gown collection began January 5th with a request to the public for donations of gently used, clean gowns and accessories. The public responded by donating more than 500 gowns and hundreds of pairs of shoes.

“The whole Young Adult team, about 20 people, worked together for months to make this happen,” said Halloran. “There was sorting and organizing to do. We distributed gowns to five branches and even those members of the YA team whose branches did not have a distribution point helped with setting up the racks and create fitting rooms in the other branches.”

The prom dress giveaway was started by Erin DeLucia at the Lakewood branch in 2010. Twenty-five gowns were distributed in that two-day event. DeLucia was the Lakewood branch’s Teen Librarian that year. She is now branch manager of the Berkeley branch and was recognized as this year’s Librarian of the Year.

This year the gowns were distributed in five branches (Lakewood, Little Egg Harbor, Manchester, Barnegat and Toms River.)

Jeannie Collacott, Teen Service Coordinator, estimates more than 700 gowns will be distributed this year throughout the Ocean County Library system, free of charge, to the teens.

The distribution will conclude tomorrow, May 2, at the Toms River branch.

Stephanie Van Sickle, Brick Township High School, was looking for s sparkly and bright gown for her prom.

Stephanie Van Sickle, Brick Township High School, was looking for a sparkly and bright gown for her prom.

Tiana Johnson-Sender, Manchester High School, said of the prom gown giveaway, “This is a great thing they’re doing here.” Her search was for a gown that was “not too puffy.”

Tiana Johnson-Sender, Manchester High School, said of the prom gown giveaway, “This is a great thing they’re doing here.” Her search was for a gown that was “not too puffy.”

Isabelle Concepcion (left) and Adriana Paratore (right) selected gowns for their homeschool formals.

Isabelle Concepcion (left) and Adriana Paratore (right) selected gowns for their homeschool formals.

Leanna Reeves, Pineland Regional High School, and her mom Christine Reeves were looking for a gown that was “flowy.”

Leanna Reeves, Pineland Regional High School, and her mom Christine Reeves were looking for a gown that was “flowy.”

Sisters Lauren Yabis and LaLaine Yabis, Toms River High School North, were searching for gowns for their prom. LaLaine wanted something long and elegant. Lauren was looking for a long, backless gown.

Sisters Lauren Yabis and LaLaine Yabis, Toms River High School North, were searching for gowns for their prom. LaLaine wanted something long and elegant. Lauren was looking for a long, backless gown.

Teen librarians Carolyn Aversano, Jackson, and Joanne Halloran, Toms River, were on hand to help teens choose the best prom gown.

Teen librarians Carolyn Aversano, Jackson, and Joanne Halloran, Toms River, were on hand to help teens choose the best prom gown.

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You can never have too many shoes. Nearly 200 pairs were donated for the prom gown giveaways. Thank you for all the donations!

You can never have too many shoes! Nearly 200 pairs were donated for the prom gown giveaways. Thank you for all the donations! You have contributed to the dreams of several hundred teens in Ocean County.

Developmental abilities leads to growth and fulfillment

TOMS RIVER –  Ocean County Library’s Toms River branch (101 Washington St.) will show the documentary “I’m an Artist” 7 p.m. Monday May 11. A discussion of the film will follow.

“I’m an Artist” is a heartwarming documentary about young adults with physical, emotional and mental disabilities and the dedicated teacher that helps them to create their own artwork and gain confidence in their life skills.

The film is a tribute to dedicated teachers and families who work very hard to make a difference in a person’s life. Their enthusiasm and support shows children with learning disabilities can achieve more growth than most people believe possible.

The program is free and open to the public but registration is required.  Registration begins April 27.

The Ocean County Library is a Professional Development Provider registered with the New Jersey State Department of Education. If educators have received approval from their school district, they may receive a Professional Development Certificate for participating in this event.

The programs are free and open to the public but registration is required. To register telephone 732-349-6200 or 609-971-0514, or go to the library’s website: www.theoceancountylibrary.org , click on the “Events & News” icon, then click on “Calendar of Events.”

Panel discussion to explore what it means to be transgender

TOMS RIVER “A Different Normal: Transgender 101” panel discussion will be held at Ocean County Library’s Toms River branch, 101 Washington St., 6 p.m. Wednesday, May 27.

Panelists Karina M. Davis and Seth Rainess will share their personal insights and experiences on what it means to be transgender and what the journey of transitioning is like for individuals and their families. An audience Q&A period will follow the presentation.

Davis is the mother of three children and her oldest is a transman. Karina has been married for three years to her husband Evan, who is also a transman.

Davis has a BA in English and is certified in K-5 and Special Education. She has been a member of Jersey Shore PFLAG’s speakers bureau for more than five years.

Rainess is a motivational speaker, Jersey Shore PFLAG facilitator and the author of the book “Real Talk for Teens: A Jump Start Guide to Gender Transitioning and Beyond,” . He holds a MS in Psychology and Rehab Counseling and has conducted seminars for transgender youth in high schools and universities.

This program is sponsored in partnership with the Ocean County Human Relations Commission. The program is free and open to the public.  For information or to register, please call 732-349-6200 or visit the library’s webpage at http://www.theoceancountylibrary.org

SBA loans seminar at TR library branch 4/30

Toms River – Are you ready to start your own business? Are you planning to grow and expand your own business?

Small Business Administration’s Lender Relations & Economic Development Specialist, Sheryl Paynter, will be at the Toms River library branch 7 p.m. Thursday, April 30th. She will provide people who are in business or thinking of starting a business information on business loans and technical assistance programs offered by the SBA.

By attending this seminar, you can learn about SBA’s 7(a) Guaranty Loan Program, the MicroLoan Program, the 504 Fixed Asset Loan Program and the most popular of all of SBA’s loan programs – SBAExpress. 

This program is free and open to the public but registration is required. Register in-person, by telephone (732) 349-6200 or (609) 971-0514, or online at www.theoceancountylibrary.org under calendar of events.

TR library to host Volunteer Fair

TOMS RIVER –Ocean County Library’s Toms River branch will host a Volunteer Fair 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday, May 12 in Mancini Hall.

Attendees will meet with a variety of county and local agencies and other organizations that are looking for your help.  Men, women and young adults are needed for indoor and outdoor tasks.  A variety of talents and skills are needed and many organizations will provide training.

A short list of work opportunities include:

Outdoors:  trail repair; planting beach grass; staffing information booths at fairs; and construction and property maintenance, including hammering and drilling.

Indoors: clerical and office work; computer and technology skills; crafts; fundraising; advocacy and educational events.

The Volunteer Fair will help you find an organization that is a perfect match for you and your talents! It will also enable you to promote yourself to prospective employers by documenting your special skills and showing your commitment to community service.

The program is free and open to the public. For information, telephone 732-349-6200 ext. 5111 or visit the library webpage www.theoceancountylibrary.org .

Everyone had fun at OCL Friends second mahjong fundraiser

Left to right: Bernice Zeldin (Toms River), Diane Handerhan and Gail Natali (both of Lacey), and Pat Terranova (Middlesex County) are all ready and eager to get the tournament started.

Left to right: Bernice Zeldin (Toms River), Diane Handerhan and Gail Natali (both of Lacey), and Pat Terranova (Middlesex County) are all ready and eager to get the tournament started.

Don’t walk into a mahjong tournament and expect it to be ghostly silent with only the clacking sounds of tiles being lifted then rapidly discarded if they do not fit into a person’s plan.

Instead you will hear mostly business-like conversations as a person announces the selected tile to the other three players seated around the game table.

And those murmured conversations, which can build up to a loud buzz, filled Ocean County Library’s Mancini Hall in Toms River Wednesday as 80 people competed in a mahjong tournament, the second within a year. The tournament was a fundraiser held by the Friends of the Ocean County Library.

“We’ve gone and captured the subculture of mahjong fans,” said Marie Goione, one of the event’s organizers. “They’ll go anywhere where there’s a mahjong game.”

The proceeds from the tournament will go to Ocean County Library.

The Ocean County Library Friends and the Friends groups that are found at many of OCL’s 21 locations raise money, donate equipment and sponsor special programs that the library’s budget cannot afford.

The $40 entry fee allowed participants to play in two sessions of three games each. Six prizes were awarded to the high scorers. Organizers also provided players a Continental breakfast and a lunch.

“Mahjong is very popular,” said Goione. Five library branches host mahjong games on a regular basis, including Lacey, Stafford, Upper Shores in Lavallette, Berkeley and Manchester.

She also offers free lessons to beginners twice a year at the Berkeley branch.

“Many area women play,” she said, “but not many men. The men who play are usually there as part of a couple.”

“Win, lose or draw, I’m guaranteed to be the highest scoring male player here,” said Dennis Taylor, Berkeley, who was there with his wife Maria. Dennis was the lone male participant in Wednesday’s tournament.

He finds the game is a mixture of skill and luck, and he finds the more he plays and practices, the luckier he gets. A rookie in September’s tournament, he handily beat last year’s scores Wednesday.

Dennis Taylor, Berkeley, was the lone mal participant in Wednesday's tournament. Yes, only 1.25% of the players were male - Dennis.

Dennis Taylor, Berkeley, was the lone male participant in Wednesday’s tournament. Yes, only 1.25% of the players were male – Dennis.

Joanne Bourne (left) was the director who made all the rulings on questions from the mahjong gamers, and Marie Goione, a member of the Friends of the Ocean County Library who organized the tournament.

Joanne Bourne (left) was the director who made all the rulings on questions from the mahjong gamers, and Marie Goione, a member of the Friends of the Ocean County Library who organized the tournament.

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Every tournament has a director, one whose rule is final. Wednesday’s director was Joanne Bourne, owner of Four Seasons Mah Jongg Tournaments, Lakewood. Like last year, she volunteered her time to make this tournament a success.

Tournament director Joann Bourne tallies up the scores to determine the six winners at Wednesday's mahjong fundraiser tournament. Her company organizes weekend and multiday tournaments ranging from Piscataway down to Atlantic City and west to Lancaster, Pa. She volunteered her time to direct this tournament.

Tournament director Joann Bourne tallies up the scores to determine the six winners at Wednesday’s mahjong fundraiser tournament. Her company organizes weekend and multiday tournaments ranging from Piscataway down to Atlantic City and west to Lancaster, Pa. She volunteered her time to direct this tournament.

Assistance by volunteers was vital for the event’s success. More than a dozen people pitched in to help run the tournament.

“People want to be involved in things they’re passionate about,” said Suzanne Scro, supervising librarian and branch manager of the Manchester branch. “They buy into a project and want to share it with the community, thereby setting an example by promoting the value of our library.”

Winners of the first round were (left to right) Debbie Sklar, Rose Balzano and Miriam Lubinsky.

Winners of the first round were (left to right) Debbie Sklar, Rose Balzano and Miriam Lubinsky.

Winners of the second round included (left to right) Barbara Celano and Pat Terranova. Second place winner Mary Ann Barbato was not available for the family.

Winners of the second round included (left to right) Barbara Celano and Pat Terranova. Second place winner Mary Ann Barbato was not available for the family.

It takes volunteers, lot of dedicated volunteers, to make a fundraiser a success.

It takes volunteers, lot of dedicated volunteers, to make a fundraiser a success.

Seated left to right: Narnegat residents Cathy Ryans, Rita Rilbin, ChryAnn Ferrarese and Eileen Person were the first group ready for play.

Seated left to right: Narnegat residents Cathy Ryans, Rita Rilbin, ChryAnn Ferrarese and Eileen Person were the first group ready for play. “We’re all avid readers and we support the library,” said Ryans.