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Life Lessons During COVID-19

We’ve all had a lot of disruption in our lives because of the COVID crisis, but as bad as it has been, I think we’ve learned and are still learning valuable lessons from it. I for one, being the control freak that I am, had to learn patience and gratitude. As everything came to a grinding halt, I had to remember and embrace all the many blessings in my life -- so here they are!

On January 13, 2019 Bill S-469, N.J. Support Recovery License Plates was signed into law.

The New Jersey Coalition of Auto Retailers sent in the initial funding needed to start the process of getting the ball rolling. I filled out all the required paperwork to start collecting the applications from folks who wanted to buy and support the plate. I started the second part of this journey working with the office at the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission on the next steps, but just as I completed the process everything non-essential closed down, but that Motor Vehicles has resumed, we can finally get moving!

The MVC Form, SP-23, is required for all license plate applications. If anyone is interested they can fill out this form and send it directly to me.

My non-profit, Parents In Connection for Kids Inc., otherwise known, as P.I.C.K. Awareness is the designated coordinator to collect ALL forms. The plates are $50 each. All checks can be written out to Parents In Connection for Kids. . All applications will be vetted by the DMVC. When we have reached the required 500 applications we can begin the process of producing the plates. The money from these plates will be used to help reduce homelessness due to substance use, raise awareness and reduce stigma. All money will go the DMHAS where it will be held and distributed.

Please send all applications to:

P.I.C.K. Awareness

P.O. Box 74

Allenwood, NJ 08720

That’s not the only blessings in my life! I’ve used this time to really get back to doing things that I use to love. I got involved in this field because of a substance use disorder with one of my daughters. She’s doing amazing now! (Another GIANT Blessing). I have also enjoying this time at home with my beautiful grandsons, Adrian and Benji (otherwise known as Boopy-Do and Benji-Boo).

And last, but not least, I won the title of Ms. Woman N.J. International 2020. I decided to compete again because I truly believe in this pageant’s mission. The co-directors of the N.J. International Pageant, Mary Moulds and Kimberly Meehan, are extremely involved in reducing substance use. Kim’s sister lost her battle with substance use in 2010 at 29- years-old and left her young son without a mom. Due to this, Kim started “Support Sacks” to help other women who were struggling. Their mission is to provide support and acceptance to women and girls with substance use disorder, and connect them with services to assist them in living a healthy, happy and sober life. Support Sacks collects donations and supplies to help women in need with essentials and other needs. See more about it here:

In closing, I’d like to say that I’ve seen so many people adapt to our new lifestyle and reinvent themselves. We are nothing but resilient, but there is still much work to be done. Let’s use this time to remember what’s important and reach out to the less fortunate. With COVID taking up much of the reported news, we can’t forget that overdose rates have increased by 20 percent this year during this crisis. According to N.J. Health Commissioner, Judith Persichilli, between isolation, grief and job loss, overdose deaths are expected to persist and worsen. Thank you to all the essential workers and all the prevention, treatment and recovery people who have found alternative ways to reach out. From virtual meetings to online webinars, zoom, social media and boots on the ground organizations, there are still ways to educate yourself and find resources. Remember, you’re not alone!

God Bless,

Donna DeStefano

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