The University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey's Mom2Mom program launched in the fall of 2010, serving as a resource for mothers with special needs children. That program has now expanded statewide.

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"We now have a 24-hour, 7-day a week helpline available to parents across our state who have special needs children," said Allison Blake, Department of Children and Families Commissioner.

Since its start, the Piscataway-based Mom2Mom helpline has served residents and families of Essex, Union, and Morris Counties, reaching over 900 families. Despite its great success, there was still a growing demand to help mothers statewide. That expansion has been made possible thanks to a partnership with the Department of Children and Families.

"They just did not have the capacity to meet the needs of all families across the state," Blake said.

Callers dialing into the free helpline receive a variety of services, including peer counseling, crisis support, clinical assessments, network referrals, and most importantly, the listening ear of a mother, who has been through a similar scenario.

"The model really is peer support," Blake explained. "So it truly is parent to parent, mom to mom."

Mom2Mom also offers monthly group support meetings, live chatting through the group's website, and a forum on their Facebook page.

"When they need someone just to talk to about their own experiences, this is a resource we've able to make available to really provide support to those parents," Blake said.

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CONTACT is a non-profit agency operating a suicide and crisis intervention hotline serving Mercer County residents. CONTACT helps people looking for someone to listen to them, to ease their despair, and to help them share the daily burdens of life. The agency has over 200 volunteers and has been operating for over 35 years. Last year in 2012, at least 2 million adults and untold numbers of youths contemplated taking their own lives, according to the Centers for Disease Control. To learn more about CONTACT, check out their website.

Absecon Lighthouse

The Absecon Lighthouse is running a benefit raffle, "Hop In, Check In, Dine In, to support educational programing for children. Tickets are $10, and the winner will receive a weekend at The Borgata Hotel Casino and Spa in Atlantic City. Tickets can be purchased by calling Absecon Lighthouse at 609-449-1360. For more information, visit their website.