Barnabas Institute Honors Barnegat for Excellence

Dec 20, 2017

The Barnegat Township School District and the township itself were recently honored by the RJW Barnabas Health Institute for Prevention's  DART prevention coalition. Barnegat was the only Ocean County town to receive the “Township of Excellence” award.

Two years ago, the Barnegat School District lost important funding previously provided by the township’s municipal alliance. These necessary funds assisted with Project Graduation, the mentor-mentee program, and other prevention programs provided for nearly 3,200 students who attend Barnegat schools.

In an effort to retain these important programs, the district has aggressively sought other funding sources. In July, the Prevention and Wellness Coalition of Barnegat was founded by district superintendent Karen Wood, who said the district will be applying in the spring for a Drug Free Communities grant. Although these grants generally are issued to townships, the school district sought support from RWJ Barnabas Health to begin preparing for grant submission.

In order to qualify for the grant, 12 sectors must collaborate. Some of those sectors include the school district, municipality, local business, health care provider, faith-based organizations and civic organizations.

 “I knew we had to act fast,” Wood stated. “We had to get in touch with representatives from all sectors, and begin meeting.”

She said the grant application calls for a minimum number of meetings with agenda, minutes, surveys, and data collected from the community and school district in order to apply for the Drug Free Communities grant.

Sectors represented on the Prevention and Wellness Coalition of Barnegat are the Barnegat Township School District, the Barnegat Recreation Department, the Barnegat Township Committee, the Barnegat Police Department, the Mirage Adult Community, the Heritage Adult Community, the Jersey Shore Girl Scouts, the Boy Scouts, Oasis Family Center, Barnegat Rotary Club, Barnegat Neighborhood Watch, Hearts of Mercy, Local Business Owner/Parent representative (Lefty’s), Barnabas Health and Rutgers University.

Wood said she is thrilled with the local support received in this important endeavor.

“Being recognized as a Town of Excellence is such an honor,” Wood said at the recognition ceremony on Dec. 12. “I’ve been superintendent for seven years in Barnegat, and I have always known this community to come together for our students. The newly formed coalition is impressive. They come together each and every month for the benefit of our school and our community. The issue of prevention is important to all of us.”

— Eric Englund

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