Making a difference

Volunteers from North Hudson form ‘Inspire Lives’

Inspire Lives was born when one North Bergen resident, along with her fellow neighbors and coworkers, decided that she wasn’t doing enough for their community and for those in need.
Eyismery Arenas’ solution was to form a community volunteerism group around six months ago. The 29-year-old reached out to her fellow North Hudson neighbors and coworkers and asked them to volunteer their time for a multitude of causes. She said that approximately nine people are actively involved, but many more have volunteered. She hopes more will want to do so in the future.
“You can do a positive thing, anywhere from [helping] children to, of course, the elderly,” she said. “Whatever it is, we want to volunteer. That is what our goal is.”


“You can actually give and volunteer. It doesn’t have to be just about money.” – Flor Lopez

The group got one of their first opportunities at the Stanley M. Isaacs Neighborhood Center in New York City last year. They were supposed to deliver meals on wheels, but due to low staff, they wound up staying and delivering lunches to the elderly at the center, said Arenas.
“It was an amazing experience,” said Flor Lopez, 28, of West New York, who explained that helping the elderly, some of whom were homeless or all alone, made her want to do more.

Planning to do more

Arenas said she has plans to expand the group. Her website, which sells tickets for vacations and concerts, will help contribute to the cause. She hopes that sponsors might help her launch, and once it is on line, half of the commissions from her travel website will go toward a charity of the purchaser’s choice.
The group is also scheduled to return to the Stanley M. Isaacs Neighborhood Center in February.
Members of the group are also going through the process of becoming children advocates for the Hudson County Child Advocacy Center. If chosen, they will work as advocates in the judicial system on the behalf of abused and neglected children.
Another goal is to start food drives at ShopRite at Columbia Park, which has told the group that they would welcome their fundraising. With the canned goods raised, they hope they can enable some of the area’s food pantries to open more than the normal once or twice a month.
Arenas has an even larger goal that would span all 50 states in the country. One of the members designed a huge bow for Breast Cancer Awareness. She hopes to travel in each state for one day, asking people to sign the ribbon and to give a dollar for the cause.
While she hopes others will join her, she said she is committed to doing it by herself if no one does.

Why give your time?

Arenas said that her group is comprised of adults who would just like to make a difference.
“I’m older now, I’m more mature now, I’m wiser now, so there is more out there than just me and my friends,” said Lopez. “There is so much out there that you can actually give [to]. I really wanted to do something good [and] this was a great opportunity. You can actually give and volunteer. It doesn’t have to be just about money.”
Lopez, a teacher’s aide, said that she has passed on information about the group and wants it to grow with more volunteers than just her friends and coworkers. With one person at a time, she thinks they can make a difference.
To get involved, contact Arenas at (201) 522-3248 or
Tricia Tirella may be reached at

© 2000, Newspaper Media Group