Their annual wiffle ball tournament has become so popular in the last five years that they've had to turn people away, and a start-of-summer golf outing has also become a staple event. So for a Jackson nonprofit, planning an "offseason" fundraiser seemed like the next logical step.

James Volpe
James Volpe and his sister in 2010 (Photo courtesy Christine Volpe)

"We thought we would try and do something in the winter, to get people together from around the community as well as fundraise money," said John Mucia, vice president and co-chairperson of the James Volpe Foundation. Volpe was a senior at Jackson Memorial High School in 2011 when he was killed in a car accident in Manchester.

Following the fatal crash, Mucia and other friends of Volpe's decided to band together to give back to their community, in a positive way, in Volpe's name. They certainly have done so -- raising tens of thousands of dollars, paying for equipment and registrations for youth sports leagues, and endeavoring to help less fortunate families during the holiday season.

The foundation also awards five scholarships each year to seniors at Jackson Memorial and Jackson Liberty high schools, and was instrumental in the recent acquisition of a driving simulator at Jackson Memorial. Mucia said James Volpe's younger brother, Justin, was involved in that process through his work with Students Against Destructive Decisions.

"As of right now, we don't set a monetary goal, an actual figure," Mucia said. "The way we set goals for ourselves is really the amount of people we could help."

Next on that list of goals is the organization's first-ever Winter Dinner Dance, for which sales have been extended through Tuesday at The buffet-style dinner is being held Saturday, Feb. 27 from 7 to 11 p.m. at the Knights of Columbus hall in Jackson. Feedback has been positive so far and ticket sales are going well, according to Mucia, who added this is an adults-only event: 18 years or older to enter, and 21 years and older to drink.

"Our other events are more geared towards families and kids, so we want to make this event geared a little bit more towards adults," Mucia said.

Patrick Lavery is New Jersey 101.5's evening news anchor. Follow him on Twitter @plavery1015, email, and listen for his live reports Monday through Thursday nights between 6:30 and 11 p.m.

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