Category Archives: #HipNJ Cares

#HipNJ Cares highlights the Garden State’s heart of gold. We feature passionate charity efforts and the philanthropic all-stars behind these important initiatives!

Bella's Butterflies

Bella’s Butterflies At The 2018 New Jersey Walk to Cure Arthritis

#HipNJ‘s own Lisa Marie Latino sits down with Isabella and Connie Masullo to discuss their participation in the 2018 New Jersey Walk to Cure Arthritis in West Orange. The event will be held at the Clipper Pavilion on May 5, 2018.

At the young age of three, Connie could tell that Bella had trouble walking. After seeing that her daughter was hesitant to put weight on her legs, she brought her for a medical assessment. From the initial round of visits and blood tests, they received a diagnosis of Lyme’s Disease for which Bella received a leg brace. Instead of helping little Bella, the brace made it worse and Connie insisted that she see another specialist. The Pediatric Rheumatologist  finally diagnosed Bella with Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis which Connie describes as “devastating”.

It took about eight months to find the right balance of medications, but with Connie’s perseverance and Bella’s inspiring attitude, they managed to find an answer. Connie describes the difference before and after proper medical intervention as being “night and day”. Bella now enjoys her dance competitions and a very active lifestyle. 

The origin of this and other arthritic diseases is still unknown, with doctors and researchers working hard to find a cure. To help raise money for the cause, their team Bella’s Butterflies is participating in the 2018 Walk to Cure Arthritis. Bella will be handing out flyers at her school, Jefferson Elementary in Roxbury, to any enthusiastic participants. 

You can join Bella’s Butterflies or donate to the team through the Arthritis Foundation website.

Rowan University

Robert O. Carr Funds $1.5 Million in Scholarships to Rowan University

Students facing financial challenges, who wish to pursue degrees at Rowan University in Glassboro, now have the opportunity to benefit from the generosity of Robert O. Carr, a internationally celebrated author, entrepreneur and philanthropist.

Carr, through his organization Give Something Back, recently announced a $1 million donation to Rowan to fund scholarships for low-income students. This latest donation represents the second $1 million donation that Carr has made to the University, and Rowan was the first New Jersey university to benefit from Give Something Back’s generosity. The organization also made a $500,000 donation to one of the University’s community college partners, Rowan College at Gloucester County, to fund similar scholarships there.

“We deeply thank Mr. Carr for his vision and commitment to higher education and improving the lives of students and families for generations to come,” said Rowan President Dr. Ali Houshmand. “Rowan and its students owe a huge thank you to Mr. Carr and Give Something Back, whose goals of increasing access to an affordable, quality education align with those of the University.”

Give Something Back scholars are lower-income (Pell Grant eligible), academically driven students who have faced adversity. Many are the product of working-class families who live below the poverty line. Most are first-generation college students, and some have incarcerated parents or have grown up in the foster care system.

The organization selects scholarship recipients early—in the ninth grade—in order to prepare them for college. Give Something Back scholars are held accountable for their academics while still in high school. They are required to maintain a minimum 3.0 GPA in high school, take a college preparatory course load, and demonstrate strong character throughout the program.

Since 2003, Give Something Back has made contributions of more than $35 million in scholarships to help more than 1,500 students across seven states. Carr was inspired to help lower-income students make their dream of higher education come true because of his own experience with poverty. A $250 scholarship helped him to attend the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana.

For more information on this story, click here.

Mindy Scheier

Don’t Miss #HipNJ Mom Mindy Scheier’s Inspiring TED Talk

#HipNJ resident Mindy Scheier, President and CEO of Runway of Dreams, was selected to share her inspiring story in a featured TED talk! WATCH NOW and spread the word that Clothing CAN Make A Difference!

About Runway of Dreams: Runway of Dreams Foundation (RODF) was founded in 2014 by Mindy Scheier – a fashion designer and mother of a child with a disability. Her journey began when her son Oliver, who has a rare form of Muscular Dystrophy, wanted to wear jeans to school like his friends. She soon realized that millions of people around the world were also struggling to access fashionable clothing that meets their needs. She envisioned a world where adaptive clothing for people with disabilities was mainstream. After spending 20 years in the fashion industry and opening a design school for kids, Mindy decided to combine her experience and her passion by creating the Runway of Dreams Foundation.

The Runway of Dreams Foundation is a nonprofit that works toward a future of inclusion, acceptance and opportunity in the fashion industry for people with disabilities. Founded on the basis that clothing is a basic human need, the Runway of Dreams Foundation develops, delivers and supports charitable initiatives to broaden the reach of adaptive clothing and promote the differently-abled community in the fashion industry. Through adaptive clothing donations, employment opportunity initiatives, adaptive design workshops, awareness building campaigns and scholarships programs, the Runway of Dreams Foundation is empowering people with disabilities with opportunity, confidence, independence and style.

For more information, visit RunwayofDreams.org.