FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact:
January 3, 2005 973-621-4404
ESSEX COUNTY EXECUTIVE DIVINCENZO SPREADS HOLIDAY CHEER WITH
UNIQUE GIFT TO HELP SCHOOL FOR DEVELOPMENTALLY CHALLENGED
County Executive Returns to Essex Regional School with
Hundreds of Used Cell Phones and Grant Money
Newark, NJ – Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo, Jr. recently visited the Regional
School – Essex Campus to spread holiday cheer and make a special donation to help the school
purchase necessary equipment for their students who are developmentally challenged. During the
visit, the County Executive presented hundreds of used cellular telephones and a generous check
from the Port Authority of NY/NJ.
The Regional School, a State-run school for developmentally challenged students between the
ages of 3 and 21, collects used cell phones and sells them to the Funding Factory in Erie,
Pennsylvania. The school then uses the proceeds from the sale to replace old gate trainers, which
are used to help students walk, and voice output devices, that are used to improve students’
communication skills. Plans also are being developed to upgrade the playground at the school
with new equipment and a rubberized safety surface.
Hundreds of used cell phones were collected during Essex County’s two Computer & Electronic
Recycling Days held this year, from the Division of Community Health and by two Monmouth
County students working on a community service project. DiVincenzo also submitted a grant
request on behalf of the Regional School to the Port Authority of NY/NJ. The bi-state
transportation agency has helped out by donating $3,500.
“The Essex Regional School does a tremendous job teaching life skills and nurturing their
students. The equipment the school needs to help their students learn to walk and communicate is
expensive, so we’re glad to help,” DiVincenzo said. “Residents from every Essex community
have participated in our two Computer and Electronics Recycling Days, bringing old computers,
television and stereos. Cell phone technology is always improving and consumers are always
upgrading their phones. Instead of discarding them, we are putting the phones to good use and
helping the school. Collecting used cell phones at our recycling events was a natural fit,” he
The County Executive added that he would continue to solicit support for the school and Essex
County would continue to collect used cell phones at its recycling events.
“Thank you for your support and making it one of your priorities,” said Ralph Romano, Assistant
Schools Superintendent for the New Jersey Department of Human Services’ Regional School.
“We need as much community support as possible to help us achieve our dream of creating a
more appropriate and functional playground at our facility,” he added.
Essex County hosted two Computer and Electronics Recycling Days this year; the first was in
May at Essex County Fleet Management Garage in Cedar Grove and the second was in October
at Essex County South Mountain Arena in West Orange. More than 75 tons of computers,
televisions, small appliances and various electronic devices were collected – along with two large
containers with hundreds of cell phones.
“We are in the business of recycling and this is a unique way to recycle,” said Elmer Hermann,
Executive Director of the Essex County Utilities Authority, which oversees the County’s
Computer and Electronic Recycling Day. “I am delighted to participate in this wonderful event,
knowing that we are helping the school and the students,” he added.
The Essex County Division of Community Health also helped out by organizing its own used cell
phone drive for its employees. “I am so happy that we were able to help the Regional School,”
said Jackie Yustein, Director of the Division of Community Health. “The overall mission of our
division is to help people overcome their disabilities. We also have our Office of Special Child
Health Services, which dedicates itself to linking children with the education, health and therapy
services they need to adapt to society. The County’s partnership with the Regional School has
enabled us to find another way to help vulnerable children and learn about another valuable
resource in the community,” she added.
DiVincenzo also brought two large boxes of cell phones that were collected by two Monmouth
County High School Students who were performing a community service project for their high
school Key Club. Stephen Bohacik and Michael Kenderian, both students at Manasquan High
School, learned that Essex County was collecting the phones after hearing a news report on the
radio. The news report aired in February after the County Executive visited the Regional School
to bring cell phones and electronic equipment that were left unclaimed at the Essex County
Department of Corrections after inmates were discharged. At that time, he promised he would
continue to help the school and announced cell phones would be collected at the Computer and
Electronics Recycling Days.
Regional School Principal Dale Greenfield said the school collected $1,164 from the donation of
cell phones that Essex County made in February.
The Funding Factory refurbishes the cell phones and reprograms them with instant 911
emergency dialing. The phones are then donated to victims of domestic violence.