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!

runway of dreams

Runway of Dreams

#HipNJ’s Kelly Dillon visited Bloomingdales at the Mall at Short Hills to attend the Runway of Dreams Spring 2015 fashion show.

Prominent #NJ fashion stylist Engie Hassan was celebrating her five-year anniversary for her company, EngieStyle, and decided to host this fabulous event to benefit Runway of Dreams. Engie gave us insight on the upcoming styles for Spring. Hint: you might want brighten that wardrobe with vivid colors and invest in some crop tops!

“I came across Runway of Dreams through a friend and I loved their mission statement!” said Engie.

Runway of Dreams is an organization that collaborates with fashion industry brands to modify and adapt clothing lines for differently-abled children and teens.

“One in twenty kids in the United States alone have a disability,” said Runway of Dream’s founder Mindy Scheier. “Runway of Dreams mission is to be able to inspire and motivate the fashion industry to make adaptive versions of their mainstream clothes.”

Mindy Scheier was inspired by her son, Oliver, who has muscular dystrophy. Clothes just weren’t fitting him correctly which sparked Mindy’s mission to revamp the fashion industry so all kids could feel comfortable and stylish.

Bloomingdales got on board with the organization and featured adapted clothes for the first wheelchair runway model, Jillian Mercado. Now a proud brand ambassador for Runway of Dreams, Jillian acts as an inspiration and fashion icon for disabled children and teens.

Bloomingdales generously donated 10% of all sales from the event to Runway of Dreams.

For more information on Runway of Dreams, please visit

Boomer and Carton Charity Hockey Game

#HipNJ attended WFAN’s Boomer and Carton celebrity hockey game at Ice World in Middletown to benefit the Nichols Family Trust and the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation’s “The Big Idea” initiative.

Boomer & Carton had guest of honor Mike Nichols on their show, which sparked the inspiration behind this great event. Mike suffered a spinal cord injury while playing hockey for Monroe High School. The Nichols Family Trust teamed up with the Christoper & Dana Reed Foundation. Together, they pushed “The Big Idea” initiative to raise funds for spinal cord research with a focus on epidural stimulation.

The Christopher & Dana Reed Foundation’s mantra is “Today’s care. Tomorrow’s cure.” They are dedicated to improving the lives of people with spinal cord injuries through grants, information, and advocacy. They brought this passion to the hockey game and were able to raise funds for this worthy cause.

Fans and supporters showed up from all parts of New Jersey to see some of hockey’s greats, including Ed Hospodar, Bruce Driver, Colin White, Grant Marshall, Randy Velishchek, Steve Webb, Ron Greschner, John McLean, Aaron Asham, and Brian Mullen. Boomer Esiason and Craig Carton even hit the ice and were ecstatic about the turnout for the event.

If you’re an avid hockey fan, then this #HipNJCares segment is definitely for you!

For more information on the Nichols Family Trust, please visit For more information on the Christoper & Dana Reeve Foundation, please visit

joe torre, andy pettitte

Joe Torre Safe At Home Foundation Gala

Joe Torre and the New York Yankees are synonymous with class, and that was on full display at Joe Torre Safe at Home Foundation‘s 12th Annual Celebrity Gala.

A-listers from the worlds of sports, media and Hollywood collided on the Pier 60 red carpet, and #HipNJ’s Lisa Marie Latino was there for it all.

“Joe is a wonderful human being, and he does so much to change the lives of women.  I’m proud of everything they do,” said television personality (and proud #HipNJ resident!), Dr. Mehmet Oz.

Safe at Home Foundation was founded in 2002 by Joe and his wife, Ali Torre.  Joe and his siblings were victims of domestic violence growing up, and he wanted to “stop the cycle”and save lives.

“It’s hard to dig back into your childhood and tell some dark stories about what happened to you personally,” said Yankees great David Cone.  “Not only does that take courage, but to take the step to do something about it says a lot about the man that he is.”

The gala, who honored Yankees legend Andy Pettitte, supported the Foundation’s programming initiative, Margaret’s Place, named in honor of Joe’s mother. This violence prevention and intervention model offers students an opportunity to explore issues of violence in a stable, non-threatening environment, while helping them understand that they are not alone or to blame. There are currently 11 Margaret’s Places in New York City and Los Angeles, where they have reached more than 45,000 students through countless school-wide campaigns, healing activities, educational opportunities, and private and group counseling.

“I’m here to support Joe because I love him so much, he’s a great guy and he’s done so much to the city of New York,” said television personality Meredith Vieira. “He’s done so much…particularly for kids who live in abusive homes.  What he’s saying is you’re not alone, and you need to talk, and there is hope.”

“We know we’re doing something that works,” said Joe.  “We’ve had kids come in our program who were thinking about joining a gang, and all of a sudden they are going to college.  We want to let them know when they come out the other end of this thing, they have a shot and we’re going to be there for them.”

For more information, visit