Jersey Gives a Damn!

The ‘Jersey Gives a Damn’ podcast captures conversation with the innovators, leaders, and changemakers making New Jersey’s communities stronger. It’s hosted by Aaron Turner, Chief Philanthropic Officer at the Community Foundation of New Jersey where it’s our privilege to help hundreds of philanthropically minded New Jerseyans have the greatest impact on the causes and communities they care about.

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Episode 6: Are the Kids Alright?

A look at teen mental health in New Jersey

Forty-two percent of New Jersey teens have reported feeling sad or hopeless almost every day for two weeks in a row. Two-thirds of teens in the US who experience a mental health challenge don’t seek help. Suicide is the third leading cause of death among Americans between the ages of 15 and 19. These alarming statics point to a real problem. In this episode, we hear from experts on what is driving this epidemic of worsening mental health, particularly among young people in New Jersey, what signals to look for, and what can be done to change course. We discuss the topic in two parts. First with Robert Kley and Jaime Angelini, leaders from the Mental Health Association in New Jersey who share some of the foundational pieces around mental health for young people. We then hear from Jackie Looby from Cornerstone Family Programs for a deep-dive on an innovative, evidenced-based program called “Teen Mental Health First Aid.” Jackie is joined by Azaria and Andrea, New Jersey high schoolers who have been trained in Teen Mental Health First Aid and seen its impact on their peers.

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Episode 5: Eva Turbiner

Zufall Health

Eva Turbiner is a public health legend, having led one of New Jersey’s largest health centers serving the un-insured and under-insured, Zufall Health, for 16 years. In this episode, Eva offers the listeners an overview of the population health needs in state, particularly for those on the margins not being served by the larger healthcare system. During her tenure at Zufall, the organization expanded from a single small health center in Morris County to a network of eleven clinical sites in seven New Jersey counties, serving 45,000 patients annually. Eva’s previous posts include Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Hudson River HealthCare and as President of Palisades Planning Associates, Inc., a health care consultancy. Eva retired from Zufall earlier this year but continues to lead the Health Center Advisory Board for the National Center for Health in Public Housing, among other distinguished board positions over the years. Eva has been a leader of note in advancing health justice in New Jersey and nationally and brings that hard-earned perspective as a board member here at the Community Foundation of New Jersey.

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Episode 4: Jim White

Covenant House

Jim White is the Executive Director of Covenant House New Jersey, which has for 30 years been serving homeless and trafficked youth between the ages of 18 and 21, operating in 5 cities across New Jersey – Newark, Asbury Park, Atlantic City, Elizabeth, and Montclair. Services include providing intermediate and transitional housing for young people and a continuum of care which we will hear more about from Jim. Covenant House NJ also advocates on policy issues, including homelessness, trafficking, foster care, physical & mental health, LGBTQ+ issues, pregnant and parenting youth, affordable housing, employment, and racial discrimination. Jim provides a deep dive into the twin challenges of youth homelessness and the trafficking of young people, including the causes and ways to help set them on a course to thrive. This powerful conversation draws on Jim’s extraordinary 40 years at Covenant House supporting youth in crisis. Tune in – this is a good one!

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Episode 3: Pastor Pam Jones

Communities in Cooperation

Pastor Pam is a force of nature and an advocate for building the resiliency of New Jersey’s youth, the justice-involved, the unemployed, the under-employed, and other underserved populations and fragile families.

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Episode 2: Mark Dinglasan

New Jersey Office of the Food Security Advocate

Mark unpacks the main drivers of food insecurity nationally and in New Jersey, talks through some common misconceptions around the issue, and highlights the most promising interventions. Mark also shares his personal and professional journey to this imporant work. At the end of the episode Mark has two book recommendations for those interested in social impact work: 1) Tattoos on the Heart by Father Gregory Boyle and 2) The Whole-Brain Child by Daniel J. Siegel, M.D. and Tina Payne Bryson, Ph.D.

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Episode 1: Ryan Haygood

New Jersey Institute of Social Justice

Ryan shares with listeners the big social justice issues of the day – in New Jersey and nationally – and how his organiation is driving change. He also lays out how donors and citizens can engage with this work and make a difference.

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Thank you for listening!