Rising Stars Award



We are proud to honor all eight Rising Stars finalists for the dedicated and varied services they offer to our communities. 

Creature Comfort Pet Therapy, nominated by Mary Beth Cooney, is an organization of certified volunteers and their pets that provide over 300 visits each month to people who suffer from grief, pain, illness, abuse, homelessness, mental illness, and autism. The animals bring comfort and healing to people of all ages. 

Farmstead Arts, nominated by Virginia Brennan, and this year’s Rising Stars grant recipient, is a center for fine, performing, and practical arts offering year-round programming of concerts, theater performances, art exhibitions and special events like barn dances and holiday boutiques. Artists in residence offer all varieties of art classes and workshops.

Literacy Volunteers of Somerset County, nominated by Elizabeth Hutcheon, operates a comprehensive tutoring program focused on non-English speaking adults who live or work in Somerset County. The mission is to ensure that these adults acquire the English language skills needed to become productive members of the community as employees, parents, and engaged citizens.

Moms Helping Moms, nominated by Jane Kurek, provides low-income families in NJ with the essential baby items that they need to give their children a safe, healthy, and happy start in life. Through partnerships with community organizations, they collect and distribute diapers, clothing, formula, nursing supplies, strollers and countless other baby essentials to hundreds of families.

Morristown Festival of Books, nominated by Wendy Supron, is an annual 2-day event held in the fall each year in Morristown. It celebrates the power of the written word and brings the community together. The festival is open to the public and features world-class authors, book signings, discussions and numerous activities.

Music for All Seasons, nominated by Mary Jane Robertson, facilitates the performance of live musical events to people in a wide range of institutions, including children’s hospitals, retirement facilities, juvenile detention centers, nursing homes, medical centers, halfway houses, prisons, and veteran’s facilities. Music for All Seasons helps aid the physical, mental, and spiritual healing process.

Platinum Minds, nominated by Jeanne Metzler, is an educational and leadership development organization dedicated to assisting boys from environmentally challenged neighborhoods with achieving their full academic potential to become leaders in their communities. They provide scholarship programs, mentoring, and foster literacy for boys in underserved educational settings.

Refugee Assistance Morris Partners, nominated by Mary Lewis, assists Middle Eastern and other refugee families to transition to productive lives in Morris County. Known as RAMP, the organization provides a full range of core support services to assist the families, including community orientation; finding employment opportunities; identifying appropriate social services; educational assistance; transportation; and medical care. The objective is gradual independence for each of the resettled families.