The Aaron & Rachel Meyer Memorial Foundation
Where Giving Matters
The Oasis A Haven For Women and Children, Paterson, New Jersey
Nancy Montes, a Peruvian immigrant and mother of 3 children was a victim of domestic violence when she first arrived at Oasis. Suffering from low self-esteem, poor English language skills and minimal job skills, Nancy enrolled in our self-esteem workshops and began taking ESL classes. Over the last 3 years, we have watched Nancy blossom as she graduated from ESL level 3, enrolled in Oasis GED classes and Computer Training class, all while continuing to be an active participant in our weekly self-esteem workshop.
Today Nancy wants to give back by helping others suffering in her Community. Through the confidence and support Nancy continues to receive at Oasis, she has chosen to become more active in youth advocacy by joining the local citizen’s advisory council of the New Jersey State Child Placement Advisory Council (CPAC). The Council’s mission is to “monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of the Child Placement Review Act in promoting the welfare of children placed outside their home in order to advise New Jersey’s three branches of government and advocate for the safety and best interests of children in placement.” Working with other volunteers, Nancy reviews child placement decisions made by the Division of Youth and Family Services (DYFS) for children living in Paterson, making recommendations to the court for safe placement of each child under review. The 1978 Child Placement Review Act established New Jersey as the second state to mandate DYFS third party review of placements of children outside their home. Placement boards are created in every county. Nancy’s role is to act as an independent advocate for the best interest of each child under review in her community. Nancy credits Oasis with giving her the ability and self-confidence to pursue helping others!
In her own words, Nancy describes her experiences at Oasis…
“My heart is full of love for Oasis. Oasis has helped me through a difficult transition dealing with domestic violence. Education and the opportunity to learn English and Computer Skills has helped me tremendously. Workshops on self-esteem provided by Oasis are key to my being successful in my life. For me, Oasis is a home like place where compassion is cherished. I am able to help other people in my community because of the support I continue to get from Oasis.”
Nancy is our first participant in Oasis’ new pilot Life Coaching Program, meeting weekly with volunteer Life Coach Susan Furey.
This past fiscal year, Oasis achieved the following milestones:
*Over 350 women registered for Pre-GED, GED, ESL and Computer Training Classes this school year
*83 Children attended our After-School and Summer Camp Program
*62,752 hot meals were served to needy women and children attending our educational programs and to women in the community during Community Lunch, Over 10,000 volunteer hours were contributed to all programs, 21% more than 2007 and 50% more than 2006!