Cerebral Palsy League Gives Caregivers A Day Of Pampering And Gratitude

CRANFORD – The Cerebral Palsy League recently held a “Caring for the Caregiver Day” at its Cranford facility to cater to and pamper those who care for others every day.  More than 50 parents, grandparents, siblings and other family members who serve as primary caregivers for loved ones with developmental disabilities enjoyed an afternoon of classes, workshops and relaxing treatments provided by CPL staff and health and wellness experts from the community.

The day marked the opening of the league’s newest service area – “Your Caring Presence Family Support Services” – which will provide in-home respite care, home health aide services, personal care assistance and friendly, caring companionship.  The service is licensed by the State of New Jersey and approved by the Division of Developmental Disabilities as a Real Life Choices provider for a variety of home-related services.


“More and more, families are asking for help at home in caring for their child with a disability and we want to be there to provide whatever is needed to improve quality of life and keep families together,” said Debra Wolfel, CPL executive director.  “This special day is our way of saying ‘We love what you’re doing for your family and we know it’s hard work.’  Our new in-home family support program is our pledge to continue that acknowledgement.”

Caring for the Caregiver Day allowed caregivers of children and adults from the Cerebral Palsy League as well as other early intervention programs in the county to enjoy a day designed to be all about them, according to Maria Cassella, director of the Kaleidoscope Early Intervention Program, whose staff initiated the event.

Workshops and classes included cooking with chocolate, journaling to relieve stress, art therapy and stress management, as well as Zumba and Salsa dancing lessons.  Pampering sessions included massage therapy, manicures, make-up artistry and music.  CPL provided child care for the Saturday event.

“We see these caregivers day after day giving their time, their loving and their caring,” Cassella said.  “They have very little time to do something for themselves and they are very reluctant to spend money on themselves.  That was why a free day of pampering was such a wonderful gift for us to give to them.”

“I loved the art therapy class,” said Solena Jarzombek, mother of a child in the Kaleidoscope Early Intervention Program.  “It was a way for me to express my feelings creatively.”

Volunteering services or goods for the day were: Therapeutic Massage & Training Center of Westfield and Massage Envy of Garwood; the cosmetic counter of Lord and Taylor of Westfield; Whole Foods of Union; Shop Rite and McDonald’s of Clark; Wanda Caldelario and Stephanie Symstah, Salsa and Zumba instructors, respectively; manicurists Phyllis Grzywacz and Vanesa Calderon; cooking instructor Joanne Mason; journalist Debbie Obrian; stress management instructor Rita Lance; and art therapist Tamara Bogdanove.

Glenda Jones, mother of Cerebral Palsy League Jardine Academy student Samuel Jenkins, is catered to at the CPL’s recent “Caring for the Caregiver Day.”

Solena Jarzombek, mother of a child in the Cerebral Palsy League Kaleidoscope Early Intervention Program, found that the art therapy class allowed her to express her feelings creatively at the CPL’s recent “Caring for the Caregiver Day.”

(Photos courtesy of the Cerebral Palsy League)

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