Who We Are
The goal of CONNECT is to engage and unify the community through a philosophy of mental health awareness, wellness, recovery and support.
CONNECT Mental Health project was formed in 2011 in response to the impact of one too many suicides in the community. This project includes volunteers from all backgrounds.
One of CONNECT's founding members, lifetime Jefferson Township resident and 2014 Jefferson Township Citizen of the Year Debi Merz, was recently recognized by the New Jersey Mental Health Association. She was a recipient of their annual Golden Bell Leadership Award for her efforts to erase stigma and provide mental health awareness in Jefferson Township. Originally named Jefferson Township Mental Health Project, the group was re-branded in 2012 as JT CONNECT, signifying the need to “connect” the community by raising awareness about mental health, erasing stigma and providing acceptance and support so people would be willing to reach out for help.
As a non-profit, CONNECT has been supported by the Jefferson Township Municipal Alliance Committee (“JTMAC”) in providing CONNECT with the original “seed money” to get the group started. In October 2014, with the help of the Junior Woman's Club of Jefferson Township, CONNECT was the recipient of their 16th Annual Wrobo Run 5K proceeds. These donations really propelled CONNECT to be able to extend the number of programs it can provide to the community.
CONNECT is always looking for committed community members and organizations to partner with who would like to be part of this ongoing effort. Please contact JT CONNECT for information on becoming a volunteer or to participate in one of our many programs.
CONNECT’s most recent accomplishment came in April 2015 when they reached out to The Codey Fund for Mental Health to ask about obtaining “Stigma Free” signs for Jefferson Township. Former Governor Codey traveled to Jefferson and presented the signs to Mayor Felter and the CONNECT group on behalf of The Codey Fund for Mental Health. These signs were placed at the entrances to Jefferson Township from Route 15 and Berkshire Valley Road and also at the municipal building. They signify that individuals with mental illness will find acceptance and support within Jefferson Township.
CONNECT continues to break down barriers and stigma surrounding mental illness by making a positive impact on the community through education and helping those in need.
Those wishing to contact us please email:
Find us on Facebook at facebook.com/Jefferson Township Connect
Together, we can: