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NewBridge clinician wins statewide award for helping homeless
Wayne resident dedicates career to finding homes for homeless; mentally ill
Pompton Plains, NJ - May 9, 2006 - For years, Jack spent countless hours visiting clients wherever they "lived"-huddled under bridges, or even in cars-in the hope of finding them a home. He focused on helping the most vulnerable. These were the people who were "easy" to forget about. With full caseloads and busy lives it's a lot simpler to help people that seek out help. Jack went after those who weren't even willing to meet him halfway and he did it without question, concern or doubt.
After reading the above excerpt, it's easy to understand why Jack Muzikowski of Wayne, N.J., Director of Residential Services at NewBridge, won the 2006 New Jersey Association of Mental Health Agencies' (NJAMHA) Courage & Compassion Award for Outstanding Commitment.
The competition was fierce for this statewide award, which was presented to Muzikowski in the presence of New Jersey's mental health leaders, colleagues, and his wife, Jan, during NJAMHA's annual conference on May 3, 2006 at the Forsgate Country Club in Monroe Township, N.J.
Known within mental health services as a professional who "takes on the tough cases," Muzikowski has made a career of seeing the potential in people and trying to help them achieve a better life. He once argued that one particular man living at Greystone Psychiatric Hospital could thrive within the community if he was given the opportunity to indulge in his favorite pastime-golf-once in a while. Years later, the man has fulfilled Muzikowski's optimistic predictions and is a productive member of society-and a golfer.
"Jack is a shining example of the caliber of clinical professionals at NewBridge who have dedicated their careers to helping persons with mental illness," said Robert L. Parker, Executive Director, NewBridge. "He sees the potential, he sees the worth, of those with the most chronic mental issues. And he's spent his career helping them to find a better quality of life."
In addition to his ability to see the best in people, this father of two teenage children is also known for his wit among colleagues. During his speech at the awards ceremony, Muzikowski combined his trademark humility and humor into a speech opening that took a twist on a popular commercial.
"Parkway and turnpike tolls to get to the dinner, $2.35. Tie, on sale at discount for the occasion, $4.00. Razor blades to make face presentable, $5.29. Receiving recognition that you may have actually helped someone at one time or another, priceless," he said.
Even though he makes light of his tremendous accomplishments, those he have helped past and present, truly believe that Muzikowski has changed their lives. One man, once homeless, now works as an apartment manager and counselor, and credits Muzikowski's belief in him for giving him hope for the first time in 15 years. Others echo this sentiment, as do his colleagues, and together make clear their point: One person truly can make a difference in the lives of others.
About NewBridge Services
NewBridge Services, Inc., a non-profit community organization founded in 1963, provides innovative mental health, substance abuse, housing, children’s and senior services and education programs. Whether dealing with stress, grief, or substance abuse or in need of parenting, relationship or caregiving advice, NewBridge offers counseling programs, educational forums and life-enriching services to help people bring balance to their lives. For more information call 973-839-2520 or click here.
Contact: Patty Colvin
973-839-2521 x 259