It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Marian Levine on July 8, 2011. Marian exemplified the heart and soul of Corner House for over 15 years. She was not only our colleague, but also a personal friend to many, and her presence will be missed forever. Marian impacted our lives and those of the many young people who benefited from her commitment to serving their needs. She worked tirelessly to assure the success of all Corner House programs, especially those of the most at risk students.
The Levine Family and Corner House will honor Marian's memory by establishing The Marian Levine Memorial Scholarship Fund. In lieu of flower, donations may be made to the Corner House Foundation for The Marian Levine Memorial Scholarship Fund. Facilitated through the Corner House Foundation, the fund will provide post-secondary education opportunities to economically disadvantaged and disenfranchised high school students, for the purpose of furthering their educations and contributions to their communities.
Condolences may be sent to:
The Corner House Student Board members represent all four Princeton area high schools, public and private, and bring a 'student perspective' to all Corner House activities. It is with pride that Corner House acknowledges the accomplishments of these amazing young people and congratulates them on their acceptance to the following colleges:
Throughout the past year, these young people have contributed their time and considerable talents staging fun, alcohol- and drug-free activities such as the Dodgeball Tournament and "A Capella Night." In addition, this year they organized an event for parents, "Ask the Student Board Live!," a forum to ask a panel of high school seniors tough questions about teen life in Princeton and two middle school events. We congratulate all of our Student Board members and wish them well in college.
On May 31, 2011, Gary De Blasio, Executive Director of Corner House, presented the Harriet Robertson Student Leadership Award to Molly McMahan, a senior at Princeton High School and a Project GAIA member. Members of the 2011 TAG team and each of the graduating seniors from Student Board, WOWY, PYP, Project GAIA 1 and Project GAIA 2 received Certificates of Recognition for their leadership and dedication to Corner House.
Project GAIA (Growing up Accepted In America) promotes a value system which embraces diversity in action. That is, Project GAIA isn’t about intellectually buying into the value of difference, and the acceptance of difference; Project GAIA is about facing one’s own limitations when it comes to the acceptance of difference. It is about being honest with oneself and then making an effort, an honest effort, to understand the story of another individual who is outside of your realm of experience, outside of your comfort zone, outside of your own value system, perhaps.
Molly McMahan has been a Project GAIA member for two years. She has worked diligently and passionately to make GAIA’s work in the community the best it can be. She has demonstrated an active commitment to the values and ideals of Project GAIA through her words, actions, and intentions.
She attended meetings regularly. She upheld the expectations of Corner House. She always volunteered for extra jobs and took her expected responsibilities seriously.
Molly is not alone in these actions. Many of her fellow GAIA members did these things as well. What distinguishes Molly is the way in which she grew and stretched personally over the course of two years, and the way in which she exemplified the values of Project GAIA during group sessions and during our community service work.
Throughout the past year, these young people have contributed their time and considerable talents staging fun, alcohol and drug free activities such as the Dodgeball Tournament and “A Capella Night.” In addition, this year they organized an event for parents, Ask the Student Board Live!, a forum to ask a panel of high school seniors tough questions about teen life in Princeton and two middle school events. We congratulate all of our Student Board members and wish them well in college.
Corner House Foundation’s Annual Benefit honors Marie L. Matthews
Marie Matthews was a devoted supporter of Corner House who served on the Corner House Foundation Board for nearly twenty years. Helping young people reach their full potential was the motivation behind her enthusiastic commitment to Corner House. A resident of Princeton for over 45 years, she served as a director or trustee of many Princeton organizations and boards. Also well known for her extraordinary photography talent, her beautiful and inspirational photographs decorate Corner House.
With the introduction of the Marie L. Matthews Award, Corner House will recognize individuals or organizations who have gone above and beyond in their service and support of Corner House. The first award was given to Pinneo Construction for their long-standing support of the organization at many levels: as board members, with donations of personal time and money, and by encouraging their clients to get involved. Three Pinneo Construction employees are or have been board members, four clients have joined the Board, and many are generous and consistent donors.
Our thanks to the many donors to Motown Magic. It is your financial and in-kind donations that help support our quality, affordable treatment services and innovative leadership and prevention programs. Our special thanks to Christopher & Barbara Cole, Princeton Orthopaedic Associates, The Starr Foundation, Mr. Edward Matthews, PNC Wealth Management, Robert Wood Johnson, Jr. Fund of the PACF; King Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Princeton Township PBA 387, Sills Cummis & Gross P.C., Dr. Nancy Snyderman & Doug Myers, Anne & John Baker, Jenny Crumiller, Fox Rothschild LLP, Brandon & Lynette Hull, InsiderScore.com, Pamela S. Kelsey, Mason, Griffin & Pierson, The Punia Family, & Candice Walsh, N.T. Callaway Real Estate.
3rd Annual Autumn Nights Reception
2010 Corner House Student Leadership Institute
Team building exercises, open conversation, and a wonderful mixture of warm weather and sunshine rounded out the altogether successful Corner House Student Leadership Institute, held August 10-12 at the Princeton-Blairstown Center in Blairstown, NJ. The leadership teams engaged in several activities ranging from the low-ropes course to a workshop on the harmful effects of stereotyping. The four teams who took part in the Institute: Corner House Student Board, Teen Advisory Group (TAG), Project GAIA I, and GAIA II all look forward to promoting the work of Corner House in the Princeton community this coming year.
The Corner House Student Board, facilitated by Gary De Blasio and Rafael Costa, looks forward to coordinating and planning several substance-free events for area students in the 2010-2011 school year. The consistently popular “All City Dodgeball Tournament” and “A Cappella Night” are sure to be repeated along with a few novel events. The TAG team, run by the agency Prevention Coordinator Jacqui Schreiber and Program Assistant Lauren Murphy, anticipates a successful year as area role models. Their motto is to “stay above the influence.” They will also be conducting workshops for area students in grades five through seven about the negative effects of drugs, alcohol, and peer-pressure. Both GAIA (Growing Up as an Accepted Individual in America) teams, united under the strong leadership of Janet Estes and Mary Saudergrass, will be organizing workshops for the Princeton High School community. These workshops will focus mainly on the acceptance of all sexually, spiritually, and racially diverse peoples through their STOP HATE - PROMOTE PEACE campaign.
The 2010 Corner House Student Leadership Institute was extremely successful in both unifying the Corner House leadership teams and setting clear goals for each team during the upcoming school year. See photos of the event...
Corner House Celebrates Its Student Leaders With Awards, Certificates, and Good Wishes - By Ellen Gilbert of Town Topics
“Leadership,” one of Corner House’s three guiding principles (the other two are “prevention” and “treatment”), was front and center at the joint municipal agency’s student leadership awards ceremony on Monday evening, May 17, 2010 at Township Hall.
Representatives of both municipalities, Corner House board and staff members, and families were present as students, most of them seniors from area high schools, were honored for their service to the non-profit organization that seeks to combat substance abuse in the community.
“This is a wonderful group of students, great achievers, who do wonderful things for the community,” said Township Mayor Bernie Miller. “They’re absolutely amazing.”
Members of the Teen Advisory Group (TAG), a peer educator/leadership program sponsored by Corner House and the Princeton Alcohol and Drug Alliance (PADA), received training in substance abuse awareness and prevention as 11th graders. The 22 students on the TAG Team represented Princeton High School, Princeton Day School, the Hun School, and Stuart Country Day School. Each TAG member signed a pledge stating that they would not use alcohol, tobacco, or drugs during their junior year.
TAG members met one evening a week to learn about substance abuse and related issues, and to develop workshops designed for students in grades five through eight, as well as parent workshops.
A highlight of Monday’s program was the presentation of the Harriet Robertson Student Leadership Award to Shyam Modi, in recognition of his “outstanding services and dedication to Corner House.” The Student Leadership Award was created to honor the dedication and spirit of Ms. Robertson, who retired from the Corner House Foundation Board in 2008. The award includes a $1,000 scholarship.
“Shyam exemplifies the Corner House message,” said Director Gary De Blasio. “He contributes 100 percent in all aspects of his life.” Mr. Modi, who is also the recipient of a PHS gold key service award for over 200 hours of tutoring, will attend Princeton University in the fall. “There’s going to be a void next year,” he said as he accepted his award and contemplated moving on.
Princeton University senior Aran Clair, recipient of the Corner House Community Service Award, was recognized for “his commitment to the Corner House Student Leadership teams and the youth of Princeton.” Mr. De Blasio praised Mr. Clair for being “a knowledgeable voice who responded to the questions of concerned parents,” and a model of “how to have fun during college without alcohol or drugs.” Mr. Clair’s other accomplishments included helping to ensure that the University’s “bicker process” occurred without incident this year, and, as Inter-Club Council president of the eating clubs of Princeton, encouraging them to participate in community service projects.
“‘No’ is the hardest word in the English language, especially for kids who consistently say ‘no’ to alcohol and drugs while they’re in high school,” said Mr. Clair as he accepted his award.
“You really can make a difference, even if only one kid hears your message,” said Corner House Student Board president Sheeba Arif, accepting a bouquet of flowers from Mr. De Blasio.
“We can’t solve all the issues in the world, but just getting people to think about some of them seems like a pretty big achievement,” observed Ms. Arif. Describing Corner House as “a place that I cherish,” she noted the importance of “cooperation and collaboration” in the students’ efforts, and expressed pleasure at having had the opportunity to work with municipal officials.
Quoting Woodrow Wilson on the purpose of education, Emil Jhang expressed appreciation for the widened perspective Corner House training provided.
In addition to Mr. Miller, Township Committee members Lance Liverman and Liz Lempert, and Borough Councilwoman Jenny Crumiller were also present to congratulate the honorees.
“I’m going to exercise my mayoral prerogative,” said Mr. Miller as the ceremonies concluded. “I challenge those of you who are leaving for the next stage of your education to pass on what you have learned and experienced to those who will follow you. I’ve got expectations for each of you,” he added.
Corner House is currently wrapping up its interviews to select members of next year’s teams. Mr. DeBlasio happily reported that there were over 50 applications for 22 spots.
Corner House Spring Benefit
The Corner House Foundation hosted their annual Spring Fundraiser on Friday, April 30, 2010, to benefit Corner House’s leadership, prevention and treatment programs. One hundred and fifty friends and supporters enjoyed hors devours and cocktails, a silent auction, and the preview performance of Take Flight at McCarter’s Berlind Theatre. See event photos...
The highlight of the evening was an award presentation of the 2nd Annual Super Star Award to the Honorary Benefit Chair Cecilia Mathews. Accolades for Mrs. Mathews included a congratulatory letter from Congressman Rush Holt and a joint Proclamation from Princeton Township and Borough, declaring her Chairperson Emeritus of the Corner House Board. During his remarks, Executive Director Gary De Blasio noted that “today we are here not only to celebrate Corner House but to celebrate Cecilia Mathews, who for almost 20 years has served our organization with a passion and commitment to our mission.” Cecilia is the first and only person to have held the top leadership position on the Corner House Board, the Foundation Board, and the Princeton Alcohol and Drug Alliance.
Corporate sponsors of this year’s event included PNC Wealth Management, Fox Rothschild LLP, InsiderScore.com, and Mason, Griffin & Pierson, P.C. Benefactors were Marie and Edward Matthews, Jon and Jenny Crumiller, Brandon and Lynette Hull, and Doug Myers and Dr. Nancy Snyderman.
The proceeds from the benefit and auction will support Corner House’s treatment, prevention, and leadership programs for adolescents and young adults during 2010. Foundation funding is crucial in providing the agency’s clients with low cost treatment options and the staff and teen program participants with opportunities and resources that might otherwise be unavailable to them.
Corner House Volunteer Receives Mercer County Award
Minnie Craig, a member of the Corner House Board and the Princeton Alcohol and Drug Alliance, received the Cherish the Children Award at a dinner banquet on April 28, 2010 at Mercer Oaks Country Club. Presented annually by the Mercer County Commission on Abused, Neglected, and Missing Children, the award acknowledges individuals who donate their time to improve the lives of children. Mrs. Craig was nominated by Corner House based on her steadfast determination to helping young people lead positive and productive lives by succeeding in school and avoiding the consequences of substance use and abuse, gangs, and a drug-centered lifestyle. In addition to Mrs. Craig’s honor, the Cherish the Children Foundation will present a cash award to Corner House for nominating a winning volunteer. Congratulations, Minnie, and thank you for your service to our community!
2nd Annual Autumn Nights Reception
2009 Student Leadership Institute
Calling her "the personification of a student leader," Corner House Executive Director Gary DeBlasio recently presented the second annual Harriet Robertson Student Leadership Award and Scholarship to Shana Jordan, a member of the Stuart Country Day School Class of 2009. "Shana is dedicated, hard working, and committed to advancing the alcohol- and drug-free message of our agency. As a member of the Corner House Student Board and the Teen Advisory Group, Shana could always be counted on to do what needed to be done, and she did it with a warm smile and a thank you. Shana’s approach to tasks was much like Harriet’s [approach]." The Student Leadership Award was created to honor the dedication and spirit of Mrs. Robertson, who retired from the Corner House Foundation Board in 2008. The award includes a $1000 scholarship.
The evening began with the screening of the "Corner House: Leadership Programs in Action," an 11 minute video created by Emmy-award winning producer Doug Myers, a member of the Foundation Board of Directors. The film chronicles just how the Corner House Student Leaders from four different high schools—Hun School, Princeton High, Princeton Day School, and Stuart Country Day School—work together to hone their leadership skills and build a cooperative network of young people working for a better Princeton community. The video can be seen in its entirety at www.cornerhousenj.org.
Keynote speaker Princeton Township Committeeman Lance Liverman, himself a Princeton High graduate, encouraged the students to "be the best leaders they can be," and never take advantage of their gifts. "The world has not yet seen just how your contributions are going to better our world. Thank you for inspiring me."
During the evening, all of the students involved with Corner House leadership, as well as the graduating seniors from the World of Work for Youth program and the Princeton Youth Project, were recognized for all that they had accomplished during the past year. See photos of the 2009 Student Leadership awards night.
The World of Work for Youth Program is funded by a grant through the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
Spring Benefit at McCarter Theatre
The Corner House Foundation hosted its annual Spring Benefit at McCarter Theatre on Saturday, May 9th for 150 supporters. The evening included a cocktail hour and a mouth-watering dinner created by Eno Terra. Guests were also treated to a sizzling jazz performance by Teimpo Libre and the Conga Kings.
The highlight of the evening was an award presentation to the Honorary Benefit Chair, Marie Matthews, for her generous and long-standing support of the agency. Marie is a well-known philanthropist in the Princeton community and her generous support of Corner House for the last 20 years has directly contributed to the success of many programs.
New to the event were a Silent Auction and a “Try Your Luck” Hut. All items including personal coaching sessions for young baseball and soccer players, a week-long vacation stay in Arizona, and a pair of mosaic panels by local artist Rhonda Heisler, were sold. The proceeds from the benefit and auction will support Corner House’s treatment, prevention, and leadership programs for adolescents and young adults during 2009. Foundation funding is crucial in providing the agency’s clients with low-cost treatment options and the staff and teen program participants with opportunities and resources that might otherwise be unavailable to them.
Corporate support for the event came from PNC Wealth Management; Cardinal Partners; Fox Rothschild, LLP; Insider Score; Mason, Griffin & Pierson, PC; McCain Foods, Limited; G. R. Murray; Nexus Properties; and Pinneo Construction.
PADA Prom Dress Give Away
The Princeton Alcohol & Drug Alliance sponsored the Be Beautiful*Be Safe*Be Smart Prom Dress Give Away on Saturday, April 25, in the Community Room of the Princeton Township Municipal Complex. Thanks to all who donated dresses and time. More details...
Luncheon Honoring Foundation Board Members
Corner House honored its Foundation Board Members and others on Thursday, February 19th, at a luncheon at the Nassau Club, where speakers presented the range of programs offered at the counseling center. See photos of the event here...
Doug Myers, an Emmy-award winning producer and Corner House Foundation board member, donated his time to create the video, Leadership Programs in Action. Brendan Dean and James Cole, two former Corner House student leaders, produced three short documentaries to show some of the programs and activities of Corner House. Take a look...
Autumn Nights at Cottage Club
The Corner House Foundation gave focus to the vital role of Corner House Student Leaders at the Autumn Nights reception held Saturday evening November 1st at the historic Cottage Club on the Princeton University campus.
The event aimed to raise the profile of Corner House student leaders and to acknowledge the effectiveness of delivering the message of healthy living from the ground up -- through peers -- and working to create a network of young people staying drug free. The evening highlighted current Corner House student leaders and honored this year's co-chairs: Rachel Snyderman and James Cole, both former Corner House student leaders. The evening was attended by over 150 Corner House supporters, current student leaders, parents, and school and community representatives.
Second Annual Corner House All City Dodgeball Championship
The Second Annual Corner House All City Dodgeball Championship, presented by the Corner House Student Board and co-sponsored by the Princeton Township PBA was held on Friday evening, October 17th in the Princeton High School Gym. The Princeton High School team won the coveted trophy before a crowd of 350. The 2008 Corner House All-City Dodgeball Champion team members are: Thatcher Foster, Jake Golden (Captain), Nick Haft, Steven Hellstern, Jordan Metro, Max Reid, Mike Van Itallie, and Dylan Zucosky. More photos of the event will soon be available on the Corner House Picasa album.
Student Leadership Institute
At Corner House, a joint agency of Princeton Township and Borough, peer leadership is a vital component of its prevention and outreach programs. At the second annual Corner House Student Leadership Institute, eighty teen leaders, representing all four public and private high schools in the community, were focused on team building, leadership skills development, and substance abuse prevention education. Following an intensive 3-day retreat at Princeton-Blairstown Center, the students are bonded as a group and are well prepared to step into their roles as peer leaders in programs such as the CH Student Board, the Teen Advisory Group, and Project GAIA -- a conflict resolution and diversity training program at Princeton High School. According to Corner House Executive Director Gary De Blasio, the selection process for students is competitive, and this year the agency has fielded exceptional teams. Students are expected to take their commitment to a healthy, drug-free life very seriously.
Throughout the year, the Corner House student leaders develop and perform skits about the consequences of substance abuse and other negative behaviors on the individual, family, and community-at-large. The leadership teams facilitate workshops for their peers, parents, and a variety of local organizations. In addition, the CH Student Board members organize an on-going schedule of safe and sober events for high school students, often done in conjunction with the Princeton Alcohol and Drug Alliance and the Princeton Public Library.
At the 2008 Student Leadership Institute, the Corner House Student Leadership Team -- consisting of the CH Student Board, the TAG Team, and the GAIA Project -- created a tapestry. Each student created a strip of fabric to represent the strengths that they individually bring to the Leadership Team. Once assembled, the tapestry represents the powerful contribution that the Corner House Leadership Team will make in 2008-09. The following excerpts were taken from the students' own written reflections and were the source material for their fabric strips"
"My love for GAIA shows my dedication and willpower to achieve all of my goals in life." "People may see me as an outgoing party animal, but really I am a responsible, sober teen." "TAG brings hope to the parents in the community that the youth are trying to move in the right direction." "I believe that I bring a positive outlook to Corner House and the Princeton community. I attempt to see the good in people, experiences and perspectives. Ultimately, this attitude encourages others and it is my hope that it influences better behavior." "One of my strengths is being a good listener. After just one day spent with the TAG Team, I realized that there are many leaders with strong perspectives. It is important that some lead and some listen in a team. I am willing to step back and listen." "I’ve been through a lot, and I know what it feels like to be afraid to talk or ask for help. I want to be the person that people would not be afraid to talk to. I want to help." "I bring a willingness to work with others, creativity, and happiness. I want to be a positive role model in the community, make a change, and show people that you don’t have to be under the influence to have fun."
Harriet Robertson Student Leadership Award
On Wednesday, June 11th, the mayors of Princeton Borough and Township, Mildred Trotman and Phyllis Marchand, proclaimed that day as Harriet Robertson Day in the borough and township and, "urge[d] residents to applaud this magnanimous and philanthropic Princeton Township resident with boisterous cheering and sustained applause." The event was attended by civic dignitaries and community members, Corner House staff, and contingents of the Corner House student leadership teams: World of Work for Youth (WOWY), Teen Advisory Group (TAG), Project GAIA, Corner House Student Board, and the Princeton Youth Project.
After remarks by Ellen Stockmayer, Mrs. Robertson's daughter, the first annual Harriet Robertson Student Leadership Award was presented by Corner House Director Gary DeBlasio to Beth Breslaw, a leader with Project GAIA and the Corner House Student Board.