Parker Health Group
Outstanding Social Responsibility Award
Parker Health Group, Inc. is a not-for-profit, New Jersey-based aging services organization with over 115 years’ experience that is committed to empowering older Americans. Parker Health Group is a diverse community of over 1,000 dedicated and passionate employees, caregivers, volunteers, thought leaders, researchers, educators, and partners. Parker’s award-winning standards and approaches have made them pioneers of inclusive aging services, long-term care residences, home and community bases services and a national thought leader on the conversation around aging in America. Founded in 1907 by Henrietta Parker, Parker has been challenging, changing, and expanding the idea of what it means to grow older in America and how all of us can make aging part of life.
North Brunswick Domestic Violence Response Team
Outstanding Provider Award
The North Brunswick Township Domestic Violence Response Team (DVRT) has been proudly serving the communities of North Brunswick and Milltown since its founding in 1996. Comprised of volunteer victim advocates, the DVRT works in cooperation and with the support of the police departments, providing point of crisis intervention services. The DVRT maintains a 24/7/365 on call schedule, responding through police dispatch to assist at any hour of the day or night. They are a presence to victim survivors in their time of need, providing support, resources, and information such as where to find legal and social assistance in the community.
The North Brunswick Township DVRT started with 4 members. Officers in the department quickly realized the value of these volunteer advocates, and thus began the relationship of mutual respect that thrives to this day. The team now boasts 12 members, both men and women, from a variety of backgrounds and collectively speak 6 languages.
In addition to advocacy, the North Brunswick Township DVRT is a presence in the community raising awareness about domestic violence and available services. The DVRT conducts teen dating violence training at the annual Junior Police Academy and dating violence awareness training for teachers at the North Brunswick Middle School and High School. The team holds an annual collection of beauty supplies for women in support programs and shelters.
The North Brunswick Township DVRT is an enthusiastic collaborator with many service organizations in Middlesex County and is a proud member of the Middlesex County Coalition of Domestic Violence Response Teams.
Outstanding Volunteer Award
Lynn Balewicz is a Speech Language Pathologist and has a Masters Degree of Arts with a license in the state of New Jersey. She currently works at Ratiner Speech Therapy in Metuchen, providing services to communicatively impaired young children. Prior to that, she worked
at Woodbridge Development Center as a Speech Pathologist over the course of 31 years, providing therapy for developmentally challenged adults. Lynn is an active member of her Church at St. Francis Cathedral in Metuchen. Lynn joined Dina’s Dwelling about 5 and ½ years ago and has been volunteering on a weekly basis. She is passionate about supporting those less fortunate, especially women and children. She has felt both honored and privileged to be part of such an amazing organization and to work with such caring, supportive staff. She looks forward to many more years of volunteering.
Family Justice Center/Women Aware
Outstanding Advocate Award
Mildred Torres joined Women Aware, Middlesex County’s domestic violence agency, and lead partner of the Middlesex County Family Justice Center, in 2010. She is an accomplished leader and advocate dedicated to providing comprehensive support to survivors and
families affected by domestic violence, and building a coordinated community response to Abuse.
Mildred’s journey at Women Aware began 13 years ago, when she volunteered at the emergency shelter, tutoring survivors’ children. It sparked a new career as an advocate for victims of domestic violence and their children. Beginning her Women Aware journey as a
Special Victim Assistant and Legal Advocate, Mildred became Domestic Violence Response Team Coordinator, then Coordinator of Advocacy Services. Through the years, Mildred assisted thousands of survivors in understanding their legal rights, navigating the judicial
system, obtaining protection, safety planning, and much more.
Committed to the realization of a Family Justice Center for Middlesex County, Mildred was named Director of the Family Justice Center in 2021. Mildred has successfully orchestrated collaborative efforts among government agencies, law enforcement, judiciary, legal services, social services and various community partners to ensure survivors receive trauma-informed care, safety, resources and justice under one roof.
Peter Chapman, Co-Owner of Zapman Creative Haus, is a Director and Producer, whose portfolio encompasses a wide range of projects, including Commercials, Music Videos, Films, and Fashion Editorials. With a background in Production Design, Screenwriting and Directing, Peter's expertise shines through in his captivating storytelling and visually stunning creations. Peter’s latest film “A Kept Boy” was featured in 8 film festivals and is now streaming on Wildsound TV. “A Kept Boy” tells the story of a young queer teen who falls prey to an older woman who convinces him to be someone he is not, and the toxic relationship they embark upon. In addition to his film work, Peter is dedicated to empowering special needs students through video production, fostering self-expression and confidence, as he leads the Film program at The New Road School of Somerset.
Venus Jewelers Gemologist
Being Brave 2023 Host
Raised in the industry, Jason quickly realized a passion for gemology and passing along his expertise to fellow watch and jewelry enthusiasts. Never one to shy away from a challenge, Jason takes finding exceptional quality at the right price his mission. His family business, Venus Jewelers (going on its 43rd year), is a mainstay in its local community and has been voted "Best Jeweler" by mycentraljersey.com Reader's Choice contest for an astonishing nine years in a row. Jason feels a great sense of pride in continuing his family’s legacy. Jason's method is to work hand in hand with clients to create works of art that honor the most important moments of their lives. He says, “I want everyone to know jewelry is not only an adornment. It can become part of the wearer’s life story, help express their individuality, and represent milestones in their lives.” Jason is an Accredited Jewelry Professional (AJP) and Certified Sales Associate (CSA) through the American Gem Society (AGS), a Certified Diamond Grader (G.D.) with the Gemological Institute of America, and is currently working towards completing his Graduate Gemologist Degree (G.G).