Residents of Kintock’s Bridgeton residential treatment and work release program are putting into practice important steps to successful reintegration through their consistent commitment and volunteer efforts at the Bridgeton Cohanzick Zoo.
Each week, approximately, five Bridgeton residents volunteer 30 to 35 hours to assist in maintaining the grounds and provide support to the zookeepers at the Bridgeton Zoo. Among the activities they assist with are raking leaves, mowing the lawn, cleaning animal enclosures, painting building, trimming tree branches, and weeding. Residential Supervisor, Joseph Cortez, along with the zookeepers oversees the activities.
“Participating in this and other community service projects gives residents the opportunity to play a positive role and contribute to the community, something they may not have ever done before. This is beneficial not only in supporting treatment goals, but ultimately will help them as they transition back into the community,” explained Marcos DeJesus, Site Administrator at Kintock Bridgeton.
“The Kintock crew is an excellent source of manpower to which we do not normally have access. They are able to accomplish daily maintenance tasks, keeping the zoo clean and aesthetically pleasing for guests. Their presence frees up the small staff of zookeepers to spend more quality time on animal-related duties. We are very appreciative of their hard work,” noted Alison Bohn, Keeper/Education Coordinator at the Cohanzick Zoo.
The ongoing arrangement with the Cohanzick Zoo came about after two staff members, Michael Kenney, Director of Operations and Frank Buczynski, Senior Operations Manager reached out to the zoo’s curator to suggest collaborating with Kintock to allow residents to volunteer at the zoo. Under the arrangement, a group of five residents work on the zoo detail for 30-day increments. Kintock provides transportation to and from the zoo, along with a Residential Supervisor to oversee their work.
“I am very pleased at the wonderful work that our residents are doing in supporting the community and look forward to continuing to partner with the zoo in this mutually beneficial arrangement,” said Mr. DeJesus.