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Summer’s end is approaching, but Unity Place of Monmouth is making sure the clients have a memorable close to the season. Throughout August, the client

s and staff work together to prepare for  a Luau, set to take place on August 30.  Home-made grass skirts the clients make, leis and a limbo contest will be part of the island-themed festivities.

Staff are working on other games, including musical leis, a variation on musical chairs, and the tacky tourist, with contestants vying to come up with the most over-the-top tourist wear.  There will be a host of creations for clients to make as they get ready for the Luau. These include fashioning Tiki Masks, colorful fans and sun visors. In addition, clients will be constructing a totem poll for the case management room.

A Luau would not be a Luau without the right cuisine. Chef Dena and Kaitlyn will serve up Hawaiian Chicken with rice and grilled pineapple. And to top it off, a pig-shaped cake will be served for dessert.

The Luau itself will take place during the two afternoon groups on the last Friday of August. There will be a Limbo face-off and a hula-hoop contest. These special events will complement the regular end-of-the-month activities such as awards for clients.

The finale will be a pie in face of counselor, with clients to vote on the counselor to be on the receiving end. The chosen counselor will have a taste of summer to remember, while the clients will have an image to bring a smile to their faces well into fall.


Turning Point of Paterson recently hosted outreach and marketing representatives Daniel Meara and Bridget Cowan, from High Point of Flemington and Unity Place of Monmouth County, respectively. The Unity and High Point staff gave an in-service training on their facilities’ programs to the full complement of Turning Point clinicians; lunch was provided courtesy of Unity of Monmouth.

This was the second visit to Turning Point within a few months for Unity Place Jamie Paris joined Bridget at that earlier meeting.

Turning Point Clinical Discharge Planner Donnell Shearin helped arrange the recent presentation and made introductions.  Turning Point has been a good partner to Unity Monmouth and High Point, and the meeting sought to strengthen the ties between the two organizations for the benefit of the substance use clients.  One of the goals of the meeting was to ensure the best possible communication between to the organizations when making a referral, exchanging clinical information that is as thorough and timely as possible.

The clinical staff of Turning Point were impressed by the creativity of High Point and Unity outreach staff, who have developed activities to mark Gay Pride Month and Mental Health Awareness Month, and National Ice Cream Day, as well as others. These special groups engage clients and they appreciate the effort made to offer them. The two PC and IOP programs are knows for the large catchment areas they transport from.

Following the meeting, Bridget and Dan were given a tour of the facility, which ended with a brief meeting with the Manager of the Admissions Support Center. The manager is said to sit in his elevated command post like Captain Kirk of Star Trek fame.

Before leaving, the Unity and High Point representatives were presented with a certificate in appreciation of their presentation and of the ongoing partnership between the treatment organizations.


There may have been no fireworks at Unity Place’s Fourth of July celebration (not allowed), but the day’s activities sparked bright smiles on the clients’ faces. Those smiles came courtesy of Unity staff and their inspired ideas for making the Fourth at Unity a day to remember.

Unity staff never seem at a loss for ideas for ways to engage clients on holidays as well as on regular days. For the Fourth, clients participated in a guess-the-weight-of-a-watermelon contest and tried to estimate the number of colored candies in a large container.

It would not be the Fourth of July without a barbecue, and there were burgers and hot dogs coming off the grill. Dessert included slices of watermelon with whipped cream and strawberries. It was the perfect way to top off a Unity Place Fourth.



Unity Place of Monmouth has always held inclusiveness as a defining principle – its very name says as much. Unity’s central tenet of being welcoming to all applies to the clients it treats for mental health or substance use and to the staff who provide that care. With this in mind, Unity is celebrating June as LGBTQ Pride Month.

LGBTQ clients have in many cases experienced severe stigma. While society has made strides in this area, there remains no shortage of bias and misunderstanding towards this population This becomes a crucial issue in their treatment. Because of stigma, LGBT people may hesitate to come out, denying their true selves and planting the seeds of an internal struggle that may last for years, even decades.

Unity staff are planning numerous events and activities that are rainbow-themed, honoring the design of the Pride Flag. Groups will center on the rainbow flag and the message it conveys. The rainbow design of the flag is the creation of artist Gilbert Baker. Baker was urged by Harvey Milk, one of the country’s first opening gay elected officials, to create a symbol of pride for the gay community, according to an article on the topic by Nora Gonzalez.

The various colors of the flag reflect both the diversity and the unity of the LGBTQ community. Unity is waving this symbolic flag throughout June. Therapy groups will explore LGBTQ issues and diversity in general. Unity Place honors the essence of Pride Month.


Unity Place of Monmouth put the finishing touches on Mental Health Awareness Month last week with a fun trivia test that pitted the clients and counseling staff against each other in a good-natured competition. This was the last and among the best activities that filled the Unity calendar throughout May.

Clients came up with a list of questions covering a range of topics ranging from mental health to movie trivia to history. To give an idea of the wide-ranging topics, questions covered the parts of brain, the year was Rocky made, and President who got stuck in a bathtub.  When the dust settled, the clients had edged out the counseling staff, 8-9. 

Clients also voted on counselors in 14 categories, including the coolest wardrobe, who is most likely to be president. The winners were:

Nikki – best wardrobe

Lorraine- lets clients into the Unity store when it’s not their day

Albert- next president

Sarah –  knows their stuff

Paul –  next director

Donna – always late to group

Carolyn – always on time

Bertina – most likely to win an Oscar

Two others on the Unity staff merit superlatives as the most creative event coordinators: Jamie and Bridget. They endured May was filled with Mental Health Awareness along with amusement.

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At Unity, our goal is to provide a therapeutic environment where each client can learn how to successfully handle life’s challenges.

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1075 Stephenson Ave.
Suite C
Oceanport, NJ 07757


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