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Derek Saker
Director of Communications
OHEL Children’s Home and Family Services
dsaker@ohelfamily.org
718-686-3333 direct | 347 920 0199 mobile | 718 851 2772 fax
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New Jersey Assemblyman Gary Schaer To Receive the “Legislator of the Year” Award at the OHEL Annual Gala

OHEL Children’s Home and Family Services Annual Gala Dinner, themed “Cherish the Children” will be held Sunday, February 12, 2012 at the New York Hilton Hotel, NYC. 

This year, OHEL is proud to recognize the efforts of Assemblyman Gary Schaer who will receive the “Legislator of the Year” Award. 

Assemblyman Gary S. Schaer has served in the NJ General Assembly since January 2006 and currently serves as Chairman of the Assembly Financial Institutions and Insurance Committee, Vice-Chairman of the Assembly Budget Committee and as a member of the Committee on Women and Children.

Assemblyman Schaer has successfully championed several legislative accomplishments. He has fought to expand religious rights in New Jersey by writing and passing into law six religious accommodation measures that aim to make life easier for those that observe their particular faith. He has written laws that require employers to provide time off for religious holidays, and that require alternative testing dates for students taking standardized tests and professionals such as attorneys or doctors taking a test for state licensure, among other measures. He recently introduced legislation that would require the NJ Department of Children and Families to place foster and adopted children in homes that reflect a child’s religious heritage.

“A child’s religious and cultural backgrounds are significant aspects of determining the best interests of the child,” said Schaer. “That’s why it’s so important that the placement of a child into foster care or adoption should be consistent with their religious and cultural backgrounds, unless it’s proven by convincing evidence that such placement is not in the best interests of the child.”

“A child’s religion should not be changed because of the placement into foster care or into adoption,” Schaer said. “Reasonable effort should be to ensure the continuity of the child’s religious upbringing. It’s the right thing to do.”

David Mandel, CEO of OHEL conveys that "We thank Assemblyman Schaer for taking the lead in proposing legislation on maintaining a child's religious upbringing in adoption or foster care,” said David Mandel, the chief executive officer of OHEL Children's Home and Family Services, Inc. This legislation will help ensure and provide continued stability on one of life's most important choices during a period of trauma and turmoil a young child may be experiencing as they enter foster care. We look forward to continuing to support this effort as part of the overall important work DYFS is working hard to achieve."

Assemblyman Schaer also has become known for advocacy on a number of issues including greater assistance for families, children and adults with Autism and developmental disabilities, property tax relief and reform, strengthening ethics laws, funding for New Jersey’s public colleges, and bringing increased fiscal responsibility to New Jersey’s budget.

Assemblyman Schaer is a past President of YBH-Hillel Academy of Passaic and past member of the Board of Directors of the Jewish Federation of Clifton-Passaic.

Assemblyman Schaer resides in Passaic with his wife of 36 years, Donna. They have three children, Jonathan, age 34 and a police officer, Jessica, age 30 and a nurse, and Emanuelle, age 26 a certified Swiss watch maker.

Assemblyman Schaer is joined this year by honorees that also have demonstrated an exemplary commitment to cherishing and elevating the lives of people of all ages and are among OHEL’s most loyal friends and supporters. This year’s Corporate Guests of Honor are Bollinger Insurance, Inc., Andrew Marks, Senior Executive VP and Bruce Tindal, Executive VP.  

The OHEL Gala Dinner also pays tribute to the memory of Rita Baratz, A”H, proud mother of Philip and Lisa Baratz, David and Tzippora Baratz, Michael and Ellen Baratz, and Sammy and Rachellie Baratz.  Rita and her husband Joe served as exemplary OHEL foster parents to many children in need of safe shelter and a loving home. 

Patrick, I. Borgen, M.D. will be honored with OHEL’s Humanitarian Award at the Annual Gala.  Dr. Patrick I. Borgen has cared with kindness for many people in our community and is highly respected and admired for his acts of charity. Dr. Borgen is Chair of the Department of Surgery at Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn, New York and heads the Brooklyn Breast Cancer Program at Maimonides Cancer Center. 

The OHEL Regional Family Center is centrally located in Teaneck, NJ, at 696 Palisade Avenue just off Cedar Lane. Believing that proactive intervention yields the best success, some of the services that OHEL provides include: Teacher training sessions for local Yeshiva Day and High Schools, Sexual Abuse Training for guidance departments, Divorce workshops for parents and children and workshops dealing with loss of children. OHEL is proud to have a team of seasoned therapists who provide expert counseling in a plethora of family crisis management areas. 

OHEL—and its many friends and supporters—are committed to the fundamental principle that every child deserves to be cherished. For more than forty-two years, OHEL has provided critical programs and services to help ensure that children are protected, well cared for, loved and encouraged to thrive. OHEL foster families, its domestic abuse shelters, summer camp, programs for the siblings of children with developmental disabilities, and its residential facilities are just some of the many ways in which OHEL has cherished our community’s children for more than four decades. 

Support for the Annual Gala will give children with developmental disabilities the opportunity to attend summer camp alongside their typically developing peers; respite and support to the parents of children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders; access to the best medical care for children living with OHEL foster families; among many other important programs and services.

Through OHEL Bais Ezra, OHEL Lifetime Care Foundation, OHEL Foster Care, OHEL Mental Health, OHEL’s Institute for Training and Camp Kaylie, OHEL has serves thousands of individuals and families in need in communities throughout the New York and New Jersey metropolitan areas, as well as in South Florida for more than four decades.  

While, the needs of the Jewish community constantly grow and program funding remains a fundraising challenge, OHEL continues to deliver support, care and cutting-edge services and programs of the highest quality.

The Annual Gala is OHEL’s most important fundraising event of the year. Many of OHEL’s programs receive little or no government funding, and OHEL relies on the participation of its generous friends and supporters to ensure that OHEL can continue to elevate the lives of thousands of individuals and families every day. 

Gifts to the 2012 Annual Gala and Journal will support OHEL’s Cherish the Children Campaign. 

 

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