By Freeholder Director Tom Arnone
The past two weekends have been filled with fun festivities throughout the county and the list of activities throughout the rest of March includes parades, plays and performances. March is the month to celebrate the end of winter by getting outside and with two holidays happening this month, there are plenty of great events to choose from.
There’s nothing like a parade to usher in the month and the St. Patrick’s Day celebration in Belmar on Sunday, March 6 was the perfect place to do it. Those of you who were in attendance may have seen me, along with my colleagues, on our 2016 float – it was a great way to participate in the parade – we had the best view! I also had a great time at the Asbury Park St. Patrick’s Day Parade on Sunday, March 13 walking with Freeholder Serena DiMaso, along with Mayor Moor and members of the Council and look forward to keeping the festive spirit alive in the Highlands by walking in their parade on March 19. March 20 marks the first day of spring, so take the kids outside (if weather permits) and join the Monmouth County Park System for a nature walk at 10 a.m. at the Manasquan Reservoir to look for signs of the new season. Log onto www.visitmonmouth.com for a full list of activities throughout the County.
Speaking of kids, by far one of the most rewarding programs I am involved in is the Monmouth Ocean Foundation for Children (MOFFC). I share this honor with our Monmouth County Sheriff, Shaun Golden as we are both members of the board of directors. The Foundation’s mission is to supplement the needs of local children attending specialized educational programs operated by the Monmouth Ocean Educational Services Commission (MOESC). The foundation draws together the various resources of businesses, community groups, and individuals who are interested in enhancing educational opportunities. As a result of reductions in educational funding through the years, enhancement programs have been seriously hindered and the Foundation supports the development of enrichment programs and services not financed with tax dollars.
Both Shaun and I, along with staff at Monmouth-Ocean Educational Services, plan to support a program/facility for adults with autism because they “age out” of the current services available within our county at 21 years old. This facility would provide programming, services, therapies, and life skills training as these adults deserve a safe environment where they can continue to thrive, close to home.
As the vice chairman of the board for MOFFC, I look forward to sharing more details as they become available, and bringing together services for the autistic adult that have been desired in our community for a long. Getting this program funded and operational is an initiative that I will be very involved with moving forward and will be relentless in perusing. I will need your assistance in achieving this goal – please join me in providing necessary resources for some of our most vulnerable adults. If you would like additional information on MOFFC or the Shore Center for Students with Autism, or to donate, please visit the following websites: www.moesc.org, www.moffc.org, www.theshorecenter.org.
Thank you for your continued support!
-Freeholder Director Tom Arnone can be reached at [email protected]