Local Ballot for Election Day ~ Nov. 6th

Harrison Township Committee:

Incumbent Louis Manzo (Harrison First) and Don Heim (Harrison First) are seeking re-election against David Schulze (R) and Edward Selb (R).

 Clearview Regional High School District Board of Education:

Scott Muscarella and incumbent Sherry Mongiovi-Dvorak are running uncontested.

Harrison School District Board of Education:

Incumbents Joseph Schwab (Accomplishing More Together) and Theresa Vaites (Accomplishing More Together) are seeking re-election against Marissa Straccialini (Accomplishing More Together), Stephen Houpt (Kids First), Megan Robinson (Kids First) and Jennifer Liberi-Middleton (Kids First).

In the race for Harrison School District board of education to fill an unexpired term, Jennifer A. Bowen is running uncontested.

Be sure to exercise your right to vote on Tuesday 11/6.  See you at the polls!

Meet Jenn Elsworth ~ Disney Travel Expert

Want to go to Disney World, on a Disney Cruise or even the Aulani Resort and Spa in Hawaii?  Jenn Elsworth is your girl!  She can help with all of your vacation planning needs at no cost to you!

Meet Jenn Elsworthkids2

Jenn Elsworth grew up in South Jersey and moved to Mullica Hill with her family in 2007. She has two daughters ages 19 and 14 and a 12 year old son.  She’s very family oriented and a huge Flyers fan.   When she’s not busy playing taxi driver, cook, maid and therapist, Jenn also happens to be something of an expert in planning family vacations!

Jenn is a researcher at heart who has always researched the heck out of her own vacations.   Soon all of her extended family began asking her to help plan their vacations.   Before long all of her friends figured out she was the ‘go to’ person for all of their travel questions!

“I am always the one that people go to when they want to know something but don’t have the time to research it themselves,” Jenn explains.

And she is more than happy to help!  In fact, when the opportunity arose to become a member of the World of Wishes Travel team, Jenn knew it was a perfect fit.

World of Wishes Travel

As a World of Wishes Travel agent, Jenn specializes in Disney Destinations including Disney World, Disneyland, Disney Cruises, Aulani, and Adventures by Disney.


There is so much that goes into Disney planning, and doing the research can be overwhelming!  Yet, you really need to plan well to make your trip a success.  From dining reservations to Fast Passes to getting the best deals, Jenn can assist you every step of the way.  Best of all, since she is paid by the suppliers, her planning services are FREE for you to use!

Jenn is truly an expert in all things Disney…and beyond.  Here are just a few of her certifications:

  • Graduate of Disney’s College of Knowledge
  • Universal Studios Resort Specialist
  • Royal Carribean Expert Level
  • Official Freestyle Certified with Norwegian Cruise lines
  • Seaworld/Busch Gardens certified


Perhaps most important is that Jenn pours her heart into vacation planning and treats every trip like her own:

“I am completely invested in my clients vacations,” Jenn says.  “I just had a family go to Disney last week and I was genuinely so excited for them. I just wanted them to have the best time. It was like they were an extension of my own family.”


If you’re not planning a Disney trip but have something else in mind, Jenn can plan and book any other destinations as well.   She just finished planning a great trip to Ft. Lauderdale and can help with cruises, tropical vacations and more.

For more information on how Jenn can help with your next vacation, email her at Jennifer@worldofwishestravel.com, visit her website:  www.worldofwishestravel.com/team_member/Jenn and follow her on Facebook.com/wowjennelsworth.



Meet Breigh Chadwick: A Woman On Wheels

She’s the 2015 New Jersey Cat 4 State Road Race Champion. She has biked 100 miles in Tennessee to raise money for diabetes research and biked 220 miles along the Shenendoah National Park for fun. Whether she’s educating our future drivers on how to share the road with cyclists, helping organize the Tour de Safety/Bike Rodeo, supporting the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, biking hundreds of miles through Spain, or racing in the criterium, Breigh Chadwick clearly lives life out loud on two wheels.



Breigh grew up in Bucks County, Pennsylvania and is a graduate of the University of Delaware. While in college, her parents relocated to Mullica Hill and eventually she would follow suit, building a home in the same town. She, her husband Mike, and two children (ages 12 and 10) have lived in Mullica Hill for the past three years. She is a Registered Nurse with a former career in sales before she began her new gig as a Stay-At-Home Mom.

Shifting Gears

Although Breigh was an athlete all of her life, ironically biking was not always her thing. In fact, she was not only disinterested, but resistant to it. A competitive Division I collegiate volleyball player, Breigh was always very active and athletic. She ran, worked out, and was pretty outdoorsy. But biking? It was her husband, Mike, who had a history with cycling. When he rekindled his passion for the sport, Breigh was a bit unenthused with this new, expensive, time consuming hobby.

Mike always encouraged her to join him, but she wasn’t feeling it. “I thought it was the stupidest thing ever,” she laughs. “And, I had this irrational fear of getting hit by a car. Then, he immediately got hit by a car.”  Though Mike sustained serious injuries, he recovered completely and was back on the bike again. The whole ordeal confirmed two things in her mind: 1. biking was “dumb,” and 2. you would get hurt.

In 2012, Mike tried a different angle. He encouraged Breigh to check out the new women’s tri club in town. “I don’t swim and I don’t bike,” she thought to herself. So, she resisted the idea of a triathlon. She was a runner however, so she joined the club that year vowing to stick soley with the running events. She did everything from 5Ks to a marathon, but when she ended up suffering from a common running injury it opened the door to try something new. The Tri Club hosted a very popular, weekly group bike ride called The Rhodes’ Rides. She borrowed a quasi defective mountain bike and joined the group one evening. “I did the ride and got a beer after. It was fun,” she said.

Eventually, Breigh stopped riding the broken, borrowed mountain bike and bought a proper road bike. She signed up for our own local Queen of the Hill Sprint Tri and crushed it on the bike with very little training. Breigh may have thought the bike was “dumb,” but the problem was she was good at it. She was fast. Very, very fast.


Wheels In Action

Next thing Breigh knew, she was joining Mike on the Nashville JDRF 100 mile ride and began doing the group rides with Action Wheels. It was there that she learned things like how to rotate group lines, pull, and follow a wheel. “That’s when I really started liking the whole group ride thing,” she says. By the end of that year, Breigh became a member of the Action Wheels Race Team, competing in road races, time trials, and criterium.

Along with her many cycling accomplishments, including the 2015 title of NJ Cat 4 Road Race State Champ, Briegh won second overall at the 2015 Queen of the Hill Spring Tri, has four Broad Street (10 miler) finishes, four half-marathon finishes, and completed one full marathon. In 2014, she relayed the Challange A.C. Full Ironman distance — a swim, bike, run totaling 140.6 miles. Briegh did the 2.4 mile swim leg, her husband did the bike leg of 112 miles, and a friend ran the marathon leg. Their relay team earned an impressive 2nd place finish!

Mike has since become an Ironman, racing the entire 140.6 miles solo, and Breigh and family were there to cheer him on! Breigh will be competing in the 2016 Half Ironman in A.C. this Fall, a triathlon totaling 70.3 miles.

Racing Forward, Giving Back

You might think that Breigh spends all of her time training and racing, but she devotes an enormous amount of time giving back to the community. She works diligently to empower young girls and women through sports. She is a coach for the Clearview Youth Volleyball organization and was a volunteer coach for several years with Girls on the GLOW. She continues to assist GLOW with special sessions. For instance, she brought the Action Wheels women’s race team to an event last year and spoke both about bike safety and opportunities for women in racing.

A member of the Mullica Hill Women’s Tri Club, Breigh assists on their Bike Safety Initiative. She and Natalie Matthias co-developed a lesson plan and teach high school Driver’s Ed students about sharing the road with cyclists. Their presentation includes what happens to cyclists when they are hit by a motorized vehicle and they explain the rules of the road for both drivers and cyclists. They have presented to Kingsway and Clearview so far this year, and plan to expand into other school districts. This outreach is critical for educating our next generation of drivers.

Breigh and Mike are also very involved in supporting JDRF (Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation) by raising money and participating in the Ride to Cure annually.

 Bike Safety Awareness: The Tour de Safety and Bike Rodeo

To kick off National Bike Safety Awareness Month, the Mullica Hill Women’s Tri Club has created an awareness ride and family-friendly bike safety education day. Breigh has been one of the behind-the-scenes forces in the creation and organization of  this incredible event.


Held Sunday, May 15th at the 4H Fairgrounds right in Mullica Hill, the Tour de Safety and Bike Rodeo will educate families, cyclists, pedestrians and drivers all about safely navigating the roads together. The Bike Rodeo, presented by Safe Routes Mullica Hill, is geared toward young children. This fun activity will give them an opportunity to practice their bike skills and learn about safety in a fun, non-competitive environment. The venue will also have food and apparrel for sale, along with other fun things like helmet decorating.

The Tour de Safety is a non-competitive awareness ride presented by the Mullica Hill Women’s Tri Club. Riders can choose from three different distances: the 50-mile ride, a 25 mile ride, or a family ride of 5 miles for all adults and kids (no training wheels or big wheels, please).

Both events require registration which can be done through Active.com or at the event (just come about a half-hour in advance of the event in which you wish to participate). The Tour de Safety costs $10-$25 per rider, depending on the distance, but the Bike Rodeo is FREE.

A portion of the proceeds from this event will benefit the iCanShine Foundation, a non-profit organization providing recreational activities, instruction, and opportunity for individuals with disabilities. The remaining proceeds will be used by The Mullica Hill Women’s Tri Club, a 501(c)3 non-profit, for programs and initiatives that improve bike safety in our community.


Written by: Alicia J. DiFabio, Psy.D.

Meet Valerie George: Helping Our Children Make Change



“I wanted to be a pilot,” says Valerie, reflecting back on her younger self. Now?  She’s more like an Air Traffic Controller as she juggles life as both a Hockey and Soccer Mom to three active boys and her involvement with various community and service activities.

Valerie, her husband, and three boys (ages 8, 10, and 15) have lived in Mullica Hill for approximately seven years. She grew up right over in Williamstown but left New Jersey to attend college in Florida. She arrived at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University on a full ROTC AirForce scholarship with dreams of flying planes. During her freshman year, fate threw in some new plans. She met and fell in love with the man who would become her husband. He hailed from a neighboring South Jersey town and was also in the ROTC. They eventually married and moved … a lot. During her husband’s military career they lived in many different places, including Tennessee, Virginia and even two years in Korea.


However, she and her husband eventually circled back to South Jersey, a place that has always felt like home. They bought a house Elk Township and eventually migrated to Mullica Hill. Valerie loves this town and has become an active member of the community through the Mullica Hill Women’s Tri Club, her sons’ sporting teams, and involvement in her church. She co-leads two bible studies and also assists with the Youth Group at her church. Valerie also enjoys running. She has participated in many of the popular local races, including the Philly Half Marathon, Run the Bridge, and Broad Street. She has also done several triathlons, including the inaugural Queen of the Hill Sprint Tri and the Riverwinds Tri. However, most people know Valerie as the inspirational figure leading a fantastic philanthropy group for kids right here in Harrison Township.

Our Children Making Change

Valerie has been the Harrison Township Group Leader for Our Children Making Change for the past five summers. Our Children Making Change (OCMC) is an organization that allows children to raise money for charity through their own creative efforts. The group takes place over approximately 6 weeks of the summer so children (and parents) have time to devote to fundraising activities without the heavy schedules of the school year. By teaching children the value and power of philanthropy, kids learn they are never too small to make a big difference. Through this experience they also learn teamwork, creativity, social skills, public speaking, event planning, and financial management. They not only get the rewarding feeling of helping others, but also build confidence … all while having FUN.

Five years ago, Valerie was deep in the trenches of motherhood, raising four young boys, ages 2, 4, and 9. She had no knowledge of this grassroots group called OCMC as it was brand new and based solely in Margate at the time. Valerie’s husband worked in Egg Harbor Township and had learned of OCMC through a co-worker whose wife was the founder of the organization. When Valerie’s husband encouraged her to attend OCMC’s closing ceremony, she wasn’t completely thrilled with the idea. “My youngest was two,” she laughs “so, he kinda had to drag me there.” Once there, however, Valerie was not only impressed, but inspired.

“They had, like, 200 kids in their group,” she remembers. The kids ate pizza and enjoyed a magic show to celebrate their weeks of hard work and fundraising. What impacted Valerie most were the presentations given by the founder of OCMC and the speeches given by each charity as they received their check. She was deeply moved when a little girl was recognized by the group for donating every dime of her Bat Mitzvah money to charity. “I was in awe of the whole thing,” says Valerie. She decided right there that she would commit to starting a group in Harrison Township, and gave her word to the OCMC founder that night.

When the following summer rolled around, Valerie held true to her commitment. She had already done a little leg work. “I had walked around my neighborhood in the spring and had about 35 kids right away. I knew we could do this,” she says. That first year, the Harrison Township Group raised $8,500. Each year, their numbers grew, as did the dollar amount raised. Last summer, over 100 children participated in Valerie’s group and they raised $11,104 for four deserving charities. “The closing celebration each year always leaves a significant impact on me and why I invest time and energy into such a worthwhile cause — our children and the community they live in.” says Valerie. “I pray that after children participate in OCMC they walk away realizing they can make a difference in people’s lives and that it’s important to try.  Each and every gift is important and completes our community.”


The premise of OCMC is quite simple. All the kids within a specific area, like Harrison Township, break down into smaller teams. These teams can be anywhere from 2 to 10 kids with one parent leader.  These smaller units work with each other to raise money for the four selected charities. Each child is asked to make a personal pledge to raise $100. So, for instance, a group of 5 kids would have a goal of raising $500 for their team. They can do things like babysitting or dog walking or extra chores around the house. They often coordinate larger fundraisers such as yard sales, lemonade stands, and bake sales. The entire group of all hundred-plus children get together twice over the summer. Once is at the Kick Off meeting in late June where everyone gets their t-shirt and votes on the four charities that will be supported that summer . They reconvene a second time for the big end of the year bash where the checks are given to a representative of each charity and the kids are rewarded with a pizza party and other fun activities.

The charities are different every year and elected by the children. During the Kick Off Meeting, each team has the opportunity to present a charity that is close to their heart. After all groups present,  the decision is made quite democratically by the children themselves. They vote for their top four and Valerie tallies up the four charities with the most votes. Having the children nominate a charity and present it to the group ends up being a great learning experience. It requires them to learn more about the organization, write a speech and practice public speaking. Once the charities are selected, the official fundraising period begins.  Some groups get really creative and have events like GLOW Runs, huge Kick Ball Tournaments, or provide Singing Telegrams! With kids, there is no lack of imagination so the sky is the limit.

“The thing that has [made the] greatest impact on me is the way the children are able to use their gifts and talents,” says Valerie. “Some children that are athletic host a sports camp for children younger than them, or sponsor a run, or host a kickball tournament.  Some with artistic abilities have sold their artwork for donations.  Then they have gone on to become more accomplished in their art and have donated the proceeds to a specific charity near and dear to them.  Others that are musically inclined have hosted block parties and accepted donations for their band playing.  And still others may have the gift of hospitality and prepare food for their friends.  Some are very business minded and are very good at organizing events and activities that will raise a significant amount of money.  It truly is an outlet for all children to use their God given gifts to benefit others.”


As well as being a Group Leader, Valerie also sits on the Board of Directors for OCMC. They are on a mission to spread the word in the areas where they already have a presence and to encourage new groups in new states. OCMC now has groups peppered around the country, including Baltimore, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Boston, in addition to the two groups in New Jersey. In total, over 2,000 children have helped their communities by coming up with creative ideas, throwing fundraisers, and working hard with chores. Their collective efforts have raised over $300,000 for various charities… and counting.

Some of the non-profits for which OCMC has raised money include: HOPE for Atlantic City, Boys and Girls Club (local chapter), Ocean City Humane Society, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation – Greater Philadelphia Area Chapter, Make a Wish Foundation, Community Food Bank of New Jersey – Southern Branch, The Little Rock Foundation, Atlantic County Women’s Center, Habitat for Humanity, Wildlife Aid, Inc., The Lions Association for the Blind, Osteogenesis Imperfecta Foundation, ALS Foundation (local chapter), Hearts United Against Cancer, Kids Alley, The Special Olympics of South Jersey, The Cape May County Zoo, Stand for the Silent, The Alcover Center for Grieving Children, The Claudia Fund, The Tug McGraw Foundation, and The GSD Children’s Fund.

“I love giving children the opportunity to learn about charities in their local community, and a way for them to contribute significantly to those charities.  These young children have raised almost $50,000 in the past 5 summers.  I am in awe of what the young people in our community can do to make an impact.”

Originally, Valerie’s dreams were to be up in the air, but now her feet are planted firmly on the ground right here in the heart of Mullica Hill. There is no doubt in anyone’s mind that she is exactly where she is meant to be, doing exactly what she is meant to do. And this town is all the better for it.


by: Alicia J. DiFabio, Psy.D.

Meet Megan Sakhleh

If you have a child in the Harrison Township School District, you have probably heard the name Megan Sakhleh. Second Term President of the PTA and teacher in the district for 14 years, Megan is a staple in our community, educating our children and supporting the teachers, administrators and parents.

Family Portrait 2012_2

Megan and her family only moved to Mullica Hill from Glassboro about four years ago. Her main reason? “It’s the best education around.” Her two sons, Elijah (age 9) and Ethan (age 6), and her pilot husband couldn’t be happier with the community and all it has to offer. She has lived practically right next door to Mullica Hill all of her life, attending Clearview High School and working for a decade and a half in Harrison School District. So, it seemed inevitable that she would put down roots in this town. “I feel like I’ve been in love with Harrison Township for twenty years,” she laughs.

Horse back riding on Fancy

A life-long South Jersey Girl, Megan grew up as the youngest of five kids living on a 50-acre farm in Mantua Township. “We had all kinds of animals,” says Megan. “I rode horses since I was three and competed in eventing as well as show jumping until I was 15 years old.” She and her siblings were active in the 4-H Club and Megan continues to be an animal lover to this day. “My husband says our house is like a zoo because we have a Shih Tzu dog, a Red Eared Slider turtle, a Bearded Dragon and fish,” she says. “I would have many more pets if my husband agreed to it!” 

Though Megan was born, raised and continues to live in Gloucester County, that doesn’t mean she hasn’t explored the world. “I love to travel,” she says. “I love life and adventure.” She has been to Korea, China, Italy, Germany, Canada, Mexico, St. Maarten, Jamaica, Bahamas, Puerto Rico, and St. Thomas. In addition, she has been to 32 of the states. “Traveling to all 50 states by my 50th birthday is on my bucket list.”

“Family is most important to me,” Megan says. She describes her entire family as very close. “We all love each other dearly, vacation together annually, and enjoy each other’s company immensely.” They have seen each other through some tough times and the bond they share has helped them stay strong. She and her siblings lost their father when Megan was in her late 20s and her mother is a 13 year breast cancer survivor. The family was recently rocked (and still reeling) after her big brother, John, died unexepectantly in a tragic accident this past April.

Love Family Photo

A Love For Education

After graduating from Clearview High School, Megan attended Ursinus College then went on to complete her Masters of Science Degree in Teaching at Rowan. While in school, she would substitute at Harrison Township whenever she was on break. In January of 1995, she was thrilled to be hired as a teacher at Harrison Township School. “I fell in love with it,” she says happily. “With the students, of course, but also with the families. I found it a very warm, friendly, loving environment. [It’s] a nurturing place.” She taught grades 3, 4, 5, and 6 at both Harrison and Pleasant Valley School, taking some time off after after the birth of her first son.

While teaching, Megan was always the PTA Teacher Liason. When her children began attending the school and the PTA needed help with Teacher Appreciation a few years ago, Megan agreed to assist. The next year, she accepted the invitation to be the PTA Vice President which groomed her for a two-year term as President. “I love when I go to the school and see that the kids love what we’ve done,” she says. She gives all the credit to the PTA Board members. “I always say, the Executive Board could run the world!”

The most significant contribution of this Board is the new website. The Father-Daughter Dance and Monte Carlo Night were also piloted as new events last year, both of which were a big success. “A huge misconception is that we only do fundraisers,” Megan says. For every one fundraiser, the PTA holds three service events. Service events do exactly what their name implies – provide a service to the community. They include all of the educational assemblies, class picnics, the talent show, Breakfast with Santa, and all of the educational software. Last school year they funded the giant projector at both HTS and PVS and purchased one additional Smart Board.

There will be some changes this year as well. For example, they will replace the traditional Holiday Shop with “10,000 Villages” (set up at the Breakfast for Santa). They are also planning to implement a fitness-based fundraiser called BoosterThon. “I’m excited and eager to see how it goes!” Megan says.

family photo

From Pencils and Predicates to Manners and Etiquette

In 2005, Megan and friend Krissy Love launched an amazing new business called Love That Etiquette. These friends-turned-business-partners believe that curtesy and consideration are not only the building blocks for successful relationships, but the ingredients for life-long success. With this philosophy in mind, they developed a unique curriculum designed to teach social skills, traditional etiquette, and contemporary manners to children ages six to 18.  More than magic words and self-presentation, these courses are designed to instill self-confidence, encourage respect for others, and sharpen the social skills that translate into real world success. “We just want people to be considerate, compassionate human beings,” Megan emphasizes. Their classes (either group or private in-home) are typically 6 hours divided into two sessions and cover everything from place settings to personal grooming; first impressions to internet etiquette;  table manners to posture.

The Multifaceted Megan


As if she isn’t busy enough with two boys, her Etiquette business, the PTA and her teaching position at HTS, Megan finds time for rowing, running, triathlon and charity. She is a member of the Witches of East Greenwich Dragon Boat, which she describes as a “… fun group of fantastic local women who paddle on the Schuylkill River each Fall.”

Founded in 2009, The Witches of East Greenwich is an all female rowing group that competes in the Philadelphia International Dragon Boat Festival’s annual boat race on the Schuylkill River. The Witches began with two boats their first year and have grown exponentially since. In 2015, they entered 10 boats and had over 225 Wicked Women Rowers. They eventually became a non-profit and over the past five years have raised over $62,000 for local charities.

Megan has also been a member of the Mullica Hill Women’s Tri Club for the past 5 years, completing six sprint triathlons.  However, Megan mainly identifies herself as a runner. She has participated in numerous road races since 1999, including four half marathons and the Chicago Marathon. “I think running and exercise is good for the body and mind,” she shares. As if all this isn’t enough, she also teaches Sunday School at the church she has attended her entire life. 

Megan can be found in Harrison Township School three days a week working as the Kindergarten Librarian/Reading and Literacy Teacher. “I’m happy to be back,”  she smiles. “I feel like I’m home again.”

Meet the HTLL Softball State Champions!

A special group of Mullica Hill girls made history this summer as they became the first ever Harrison Township Little League team to win a New Jersey state title.  

The 11-12 year old Harrison Little League Softball team began their journey by capturing the District 15 Championship.  Their year-round hard work and dedication paid off as they then went on to win the Section 4 Title, qualifying them for a spot in the State Tournament in Clifton, NJ.

This same group of girls had made it to the 2013 State Tournament as 9&10 year olds where they placed second.  At that time, that was a first for Harrison Township, but they were beaten decisively.  This time they were more determined than ever to come home with a victory.

“Every single one of those girls at that point decided that we had two years to work hard to close that gap,” recalls the girls’ coach, Jim Woolam.  “It would have been very easy to be content being the second best team in NJ, but not for this group.  No way.  They were driven to be the best.”

The team came from behind in the final inning to clinch the State Championship,  making them the first softball or baseball team in any age group or division in the 27 year history of Harrison Township Little League to claim such an accomplishment.

“We were down 3-1 going into the last inning and we had one runner on base with two outs,” explained Coach W0olam.  We had our backs against the wall and all of the momentum was with the other team.  However, these Harrison girls were way too determined and too resilient to just go down easy.”

The girls ended up drawing a walk, followed by another run and a walk-off two run single to win the title by a final score of 3-2. Undefeated in all three tournaments, they had an aggregate score of 83 against just 13 from their opponents!

So what kind of girls can accomplish something like this?  Girls who are not only extremely talented but are willing to work hard,  practicing and playing 5-6 nights per week.  Girls who have a strong desire to win and a laser-like focus on their goal.  Girls who are tight knit, rally around their team and genuinely care about each other.  Those girls are:

  • Beth Brooks
  • Emileigh Cloak
  • Meghan Decker
  • Devon Ellixson
  • Sarah McGrath
  • Brooke Pecorilli
  • Jenna Patterson
  • McKayla Reilly
  • Isabella Santiago
  • Madison Vallone
  • Emily Wampler


 When you take talent, add in an unbelievable level of commitment along with a strong focus on their goal…that’s a hard combination to beat!” says Coach Woolam.

Congratulations to all of the players and their super-proud coach on this amazing accomplishment!!!



Meet Hannah Devlin: A Natural Born Mother


Hannah Devlin’s three small boys line up every morning to take their daily cod liver oil and elderberry syrup. The older boys wash that down with a healthy smoothie filled with fruits and vegetables, turmeric, and hemp seeds. She makes her own deodorant using beeswax, shea butter, essential oils, corn starch and arrow root. She knows Frankincense is an anti-cancer agent, oil of oregano is an anti-viral, and  that apple cider vinegar tea with raw honey, cinnamon and cayenne helps ward off the flu. She knows oil pulling can help with dental issues and knows when to boost up the probiotics. Hannah is not only a wealth of knowledge but also an inspiration just by the way she lives her life simply and naturally.

A young, energetic Mom of three adorable boys, a determined triathlete, and a beautiful vocalist, Hannah Devlin brings joy, song, and a perspective of natural health and wellness to the Mullica Hill community. Hannah has always lived lifestyle of healthy, non-toxic, organic living … even before it was “mainstream.” Perhaps it’s connected to her Native American roots, but Hannah believes in using what nature has provided us in order to prevent and treat illness while being good to the environment. She extends this health-conscious, “green” philosophy to all areas of her life – from how she raises her kids to the products she uses to clean her home, and even to the products she uses as a hairdresser.

A Healthy, Toxin Free, Organic Lifestyle

Hannah was born in Japan (her father was in the military) but grew up in South Philly. After graduating high school, she was uncertain about what she should do next. “I wanted to go to the University of the Arts in Philly for Vocal,” Hannah says. “Then, my sister actually suggested hair.” So, she gave hairdressing a shot. Hannah worked in salons in Rittenhouse Square and Bucks County and although she enjoyed it, she  began having concerns about exposure to all the chemicals – especially with the popular Brazillian Blow-Outs. Already health conscious and eco-friendly, Hannah was following an organic and non-GMO diet. “I was kind of raised like that,” she says. Her father was raised on a farm and her mother was very into natural foods.

Hannah changed jobs to work at an upscale, organic hair salon that used natural, PBP and ammonia-free hair products and essential oils. Her clients appreciated her commitment to using toxin-free, all natural products while getting high-end salon results. Eventually, she would chose to leave the salon to be at home with her kids full time.

“John Masters Organics is a great line. It’s my favorite,”  Hannah says. She also recommends products like Beauty Without Cruelty and Yes To Carrots. She believes harsh chemicals are important to keep off of your skin and out of the environment. “When we wash it out of our hair, it goes back into the earth,” Hannah explains. However, she acknowledges that these products can get pricey and can still contain unwanted ingredients at times. So, Hannah often opts to make her own products from simple home recipes.

” I make my own sea salt spray for beach waves,” she says, and loves the results. Hannah doesn’t stop with hair products, though. “Everything in our house from laundry to toothpaste to cleaning, I can make.” For household cleaning, she is a big proponent of vinegar with orange peel and essential oils. “Theives is an essential oil blend that can be used as a disinfectant,” Hannah says. “You can buy concentrate or make it yourself.” For laundry, she uses something called “soap nuts” which are placed in a burlap bag, thrown in with the clothes and can be used over and over again. That, along with a few drops of essential oils, do the trick.

Healthy, real, clean eating is also a big part of Hannah’s lifestyle. “Factory Farming is really quite horrible,” she says. Hannah uses a farmer in Vineland who practices non GMO and organic farming (though he isn’t certified organic due the the expense). “We buy a cow and a half of a pig and get chickens and the eggs. He processes it, butchers it. I don’t buy any other meat the whole year.” She also does a C.S.A. (Community Supported Agriculture) at Muth Farm. ” I mean, it’s expensive. We have to pick and choose sometimes. We go without sometimes to have it… I feel better about it,” she explains. “You can never do it 100% [of the time], but if 90% of our diets are that? You do the best that you can with what you have.”

A Lean, Green Triathlete Machine

“I have a fear of open water,” Hannah confesses. “When I was 15 or 16, I was caught in the undertoe. That same summer, I got caught in a riptide and was out there forever!” Open water has ignited a healthy dose of panic ever since. But, she really wanted to do a triathlon so she trained with the Mullica Hill Women’s Tri Club.

Her first race was the Bridgeton Sunset Tri. Unfortunately, despite all of her hard work and preparation, Hannah panicked out in the water. Fortunately, Colleen (one of the club’s founding members and great mentor and supporter to first time triathletes) was right there with her and never left her side. Colleen recognized that Hannah was in trouble and called over a life guard. Hannah swam the rest of the way in between the life guard’s boat and Colleen. With their support, she made it to shore and finished the triathlon! After than race, USA-T certified coach Lorri Beck contacted her. She offered to swim with Hannah in the open waters and helped coach her through her swim anxiety with meditation CDs and frequent swims.

In 2013, Hannah was not just physically ready for the Atlantic City Triathlon, but also emotionally ready. “I didn’t go in there with the intention of failing,” Hannah says when she recalls facing that bay swim. She focused on small goals through out the swim course, telling herself she was going to be fine the whole way. “I did not panic at all,” she says proudly. “I saw the big bright orange buoy [at the end] and I felt so happy. It was a really good feeling.”

Conquering her fears was an inspiration to many in the club who struggle with the same swim anxiety. In 2013, Hannah was honored with the Tri Club’s “Most Determined Triathlete” award at the annual End of the Year Banquet. Hannah has also competed in several 5Ks (placing first female overall in Mullica Hill’s Run for the Roses). She also completed Mullica Hill’s own Queen of the Hill Triathlon and participated in the MS 150 mile City To Shore Bike Ride (while pregnant, no less).


Sharing Her Gifts

Hannah and her husband Tim moved from Mayfair to Mullica Hill about five years ago, right around the time she became a mother. “I think it’s really pretty [here],” Hannah says about this town. “I’ve met a lot of nice people. They do a lot of nice events around the town… I feel safe here.” Since their move, they have welcomed two more boys to their family. Jameson (age 5), Finn (age 3) and Keir (8 months) enjoy friends and activities through the Mullica Hill MOMS Club, MOPS, and the Awana program at their church.

Hannah is an active member of the Fellowship Bible church. Her children attend Awana on Sunday nights and the family participates in the church’s outreach and charity efforts such as ‘Operation Christmas Child,’ supporting mission churches and donating items for local pregnancy centers. She has also taught the kindergarteners at the church on Wednesday nights.

One of Hannah’s most recent charity projects was when she helped support ‘Luke’s Field’ in honor of one of the church’s youngest parishioners, Luke. At 4 months of age, Luke passed away from the flu and the church began raising money for a special baseball field in his honor. As a consultant for Lilla Rose hair accessories, Hannah decided to donate a portion of her proceeds to this special project.

As a talented vocalist and musician, Hannah enjoys leading the worship service at Fellowship Bible once a month. She sang back up on the debut album for a band called Bishop Rielly  and is currently working on her own solo project.

Determined and sweet, caring and strong — Hannah Devlin will inspire you with her kindness, commitment, and genuine soul. If you need a little advice on hair, healthy eating, toxin-free concoctions, home remedies, or homeopathy, she is your girl! But more than that, she will quickly become an adored friend.

 by: Alicia DiFabio, Psy.D. 

Meet Rita Jassal: New Roots In Mullica Hill

You are sure to see one of Mullica Hill’s newest Moms volunteering at the schools, cheering from the sidelines of the soccer fields, or going on long runs through  town. Rita Jassal is a Long Island native putting down new roots in our small town, raising her three daughters and launching her new business. 


From Long Island To Mullica Hill

Rita and Peter moved to Mullica Hill just this past August of 2014. Their daughters Sara, age 5, and Chelsea, age 7, are in Harrison Township School while Katelynn, age 9, is a fourth grader at Pleasant Valley. How did these New Yorkers find themselves in a quaint farming town? The impetus for their move was Peter’s job. An anestheologist for Vineland Hospital, Peter needed to be in closer proximity to his practice. They heard about Mullica Hill through his boss, who also lives in town. “The most important thing to me was the school district for our kids,” Rita says. After researching the schools, she knew this was the right town for her family. Though, the new environment was a big change for this Long Island native.

Though Rita was born in India, her entire family relocated to the U.S. when she was only 8 years old. “I don’t remember much of India,” she admits. Her extended family still live here in the states. Rita grew up, attended high school and college on Long Island. Though she considers herself “very American,” she still maintains many core Indian traditions, cultures, and rituals. She practices the religion and traditions of the Punjabi people, and her girls attend what she refers to as “Indian School” to stay connected with their heritage.

A Long History In Women’s Fashion and Retail

Rita began working in the retail and fashion industry starting at the age of 16, when she helped out at her parents retail stores in New York. “I did the buying, fashion and merchandising,” she says. Her father owned a clothing store in Brooklyn, did the large flea markets, and through the years owned several other businesses around the City. After college, Rita continued her career in retail at a variety of popular women’s department stores in New York City.

At 28 years old, Rita travelled to India to meet her husband in a marriage that was arranged by her parents, as per traditional Indian custom. She flew to India to meet Peter and they hit it off. She spent a short time in India getting to know each other and planning their wedding. Then, she and her husband came back to America to live permanently. There is no doubt when you see the two of them that they are a perfect couple who mutually support and respect one another and love being parents to their adorable girls.

As newlyweds, they came right back to Long Island where Rita had established a life and a successful career. Peter opened a chriopractic office in Brooklyn and enjoyed much success. “But, his dream was to become an M.D.,” Rita says.  She encouraged him to follow his dream because she knew it would always be a regret for him if he didn’t. She was willing to dig in and make whatever sacrifices they needed to for him to achieve this dream. “He went to medical school and I worked full time at Macy’s,” she says. Throughout the long and rigorous road to become a medical doctor, Rita was the primary breadwinner for their growing family.

Becoming A ‘Mompreneur’

After Peter graduated and embarked on a career as a successful Anesthesiologist, Rita wanted to spend time at home raising her three girls. “For the kids, I retired [from retail management],” she says. Yet, her passion for women’s fashion and her entreprenurial talent remained. She started toying with the idea of creating a career where she could still be around to go on class field trips and take her kids to activities.  “I thought, if I could do my business at home, that would be a wonderful thing.”

“I always had the idea… I have the background in retail… I always liked jewelry,” she says. “Fashion jewelry is always in style. Every woman loves jewelry!” With a little inspiration, a little passion, and a lot of hard work and drive, her jewelry business was born. Named after her children (Katelynn, Chelsea, and Sara), Rita launched kcsJewel this past Fall and is enjoying her new business venture and all the opportunity it offers. Customers can purchase on her website and at her Amazon store. Rita and kcsJewels were at the SoHo Fashion Show and will be at the MOMS Club Vendor Fair this November. “I also do house parties,” she says. “I bring the wine and the jewelry, you invite the guests and we have a great girls night in.”

If you see the Jassal family around town, say hello and welcome them to “the neighborhood!” You will quickly find that this warm, energetic and friendly family will become your newest friends.

by: Alicia DiFabio, Psy.D.