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Mayor Eric Hinds and Recreation Department members Bob Ward and Debbie Dow were honored Wednesday evening by the Holmdel Township Board of Education for their commitment to bettering the lives of local children and young adults.
In 2004, Hinds helped co-found the Hope for Children Foundation (HFCF), a non-profit organization that provides funding, support and financial aid to children’s hospitals, public schools, homeless shelters, organizations that serve children with developmental and physical disabilities, and many other charitable groups.
“Without a group of strong and inspirational people surrounding me in my youth, I wouldn’t be where I am today. So we’ve put together a team of equally strong, inspirational and kind-hearted individuals at HCF to serve as a guiding light for others,” said Hinds, the HFCF President, who was joined at the award ceremony by his wife and HFCF Treasurer, Karen Hinds, and contributing member Heather Sperduto.
“The precedent we place on giving back to the community comes from a place of love, and I’m fortunate to have so many people around me, including our Township personnel, who share that same passion. We don’t do what we do to receive recognition, but it is an honor to be recognized by the Board of Education,” added Hinds.
Ward, Recreation Director, and Dow, Recreation Leader, were honored as Community Contributors for their efforts with the special needs population in Holmdel.
Over the past two summers, Dow has work with the school’s transition program for special needs individuals, which allows students with disabilities to work alongside the Township’s summer camp staff to help lead activities and shadow camp counselors.
The recreation department has also collaborated with Holmdel High School’s Special Services Department to offer more social and recreational programming for middle school and high school-age residents.
Additionally, Ward and Dow are part of the Hazlet/Holmdel/Aberdeen/Matawan Therapeutic Recreation Program (H.A.M.), a group dedicated to providing special needs individuals with after school programming, entertainment opportunities and work activities aimed at improving the physical, mental social and economic health of those enrolled.
“There’s no greater feeling for us than using our platform to make a positive impact on the community, especially when we can reach those members who are sometimes underserved,” said Ward. “We thank the Board of Education for this recognition, and look forward to providing future programming to our local special needs population.
“It’s wonderful to have been honored by the Board of Education, and it means a lot, but seeing the smiles come across these kids’ faces, and the smiles of their parents and family members, that’s the ultimate reward for us,” said Dow.
For more information about the Hope for Children Foundation, please visit www.hfcf.org.
For more information about Township programming for special needs individuals please reach out to Debbie Dow (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Bob Ward (email@example.com), or call 732-946-2820 ext. 1227.
For more information on the H.A.M. program please call 732-583-4200 ext. 173 or email Michele.Hausmann@aberdeennj.org