Pass it Along introduces 'Super Friends' Program developed with YMCA
Pass It Along teens work with Mike Misukonis, PIA's director of programs, to plan Youth Leadership Conference, the annual gathering of high school students run by Pass It Along
Photos provided by PIA
By Laurie Gordon SPARTA — Pass It Along—a Sussex County-wide nonprofit that helps teenagers become confident, resilient and compassionate through volunteerism, leadership and self-discovery—has a new program: “Super Friends.” Developed with Fairview Lake YMCA Camps, the program is designed to “promote true community inclusion for people with developmental disabilities or, as we like to say, people with different abilities,” said Michael Misukonis, Pass It Along’s director of programs and community engagement. Twice a month — teen (first Friday) and adult (second or third Friday) — volunteers will pair up with a buddy for outdoor/indoor activities offered by the Y. Through the one-on-one pairings, participants will make real-life connections and socialize with the volunteers while engaging in activities. “This is a very unique opportunity for individuals and families to participate in a free activity that will not come out of their Medicaid budget, with no hoops to jump through to get an activity approved,” Misukonis said. “We decided to start this program because Pass It Along and the YMCA recognized a need in the community for a free, no-strings-attached opportunity for people with different abilities.” Pass It Along has created a workshop, “So…Able,” for volunteers, geared to making them more comfortable working with the population they will serve. Pass It Along is the only organization in northern New Jersey that solely targets teenagers, providing service learning as a part of each volunteer experience, enabling a one-on-one connection with the people teenagers are helping and delivering thought-provoking self-discovery workshops. The office is located at 60 Blue Heron Rd, Ste. 100, in Sparta. For more information call 973- 726-9777 or see <URL destination="http://passitalong.org. ">passitalong.org.