Guy cleaning floor

Boys and Girls Club of Hawthorne Adopts Greening The Cleaning® Program

The Boys and Girls Club of Hawthorne celebrated National Boys and Girls Club Week in April by announcing its facility adopted the environmentally-friendly "Greening the Cleaning®" program, offered by The Deirdre Imus Environmental Health Center™ at Hackensack University Medical Center.

The "Greening the Cleaning®" program converted its entire cleaning system to one that exclusively uses safe, non-toxic products that do not harm children, adults, or the environment.

"The Deirdre Imus Environmental Health Center and The Boys and Girls Club of Hawthorne share a common philosophy - children are our most precious resource, and that their well being is our top priority," said John Bertollo, president of the Board of Directors of The Boys and Girls Club of Hawthorne. "For this reason, converting to the "Greening the Cleaning®" program was the only logical choice for us. The program allowed us to create a toxin-free setting for our children without compromising cleanliness."

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Pictured, from left: Scott Chamberlin of Hawthorne, vice president, Board of Directors, The Boys and Girls Club of Hawthorne; Bonnie Eskenazi, managing director, Deirdre Imus Environmental Health Center at HUMC; Thomas Demko of Wayne, executive director, Boys and Girls Club of Hawthorne; Nicole Chamberlin, 11; Deirdre Imus, director, Deirdre Imus Environmental Health Center;John Bertollo of Hawthorne, president, Board of Directors; Jessica Chamberlin, 8; Sean O’Hare of Hawthorne, program director, Boys and Girls of Hawthorne; John P. Ferguson, president and chief executive officer of Hackensack University Medical Center.


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Mr. Bertollo and other representatives of the Boys and Girls Club of Hawthorne were further convinced they made the right decision when they saw the program in action during a tour of Hackensack University Medical Center, a 683-bed, teaching and research hospital, which made the transition in the spring of 2001. They visited many units, including intensive care, geriatrics, and same day surgery.

"We welcome everyone who is interested in preserving the environment to tour Hackensack University Medical Center's facilities to experience the benefits of an environmentally-friendly system first-hand," said Deirdre Imus, wife of nationally-syndicated radio personality Don Imus, and founder of The Deirdre Imus Environmental Health Center. "The medical center is a wonderful example of the "Greening the Cleaning®" program at work in a large institution, and we tailor the program to meet the unique needs of any facility, big or small."

Representatives of The Deirdre Imus Environmental Health Center evaluated the cleaning practices at the Boys and Girls Club of Hawthorne, where membership is approximately 900 children, ages 6 months to 18 years. Their facility consists of five classrooms on an upper level, a large gymnasium, a game room, additional classrooms on the lower level and a computer technology center.

They educated all relevant staff members, including maintenance staff, housekeeping, and teachers. The center then recommended safer products that best suited the club's needs and replaced the older products with the new ones. The center will monitor the club's progress to make sure their cleaning requirements are being met.

Mr. Bertollo has already learned some important lessons about many commonly-used cleaning products. "After speaking with Ms. Imus and other representatives of the center, we learned that many cleaning products that most people have in their cabinets can be harmful to children and adults," he said. "Now, we think twice before picking up an ordinary bottle of cleaner to perform everyday tasks, like disinfecting the club's toys, because we understand the potential dangers. This knowledge empowers us so we can make more informed decisions about our cleaning activities."

The club's conversion to the "Greening the Cleaning®" program was completed in mid-April. The Boys and Girls Club of Hawthorne is so enthusiastic about the new system that they have already begun to spread the word to the Hawthorne Board of Education and other organizations, in hopes they, too, can enjoy the benefits of a safer environment through the program.

For more information, or to schedule a tour to see the "Greening the Cleaning®" program in action at Hackensack University Medical Center, call The Deirdre Imus Environmental Health Center at 201-336-8071.

Hackensack University Medical Center, a teaching and research hospital affiliated with the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey - New Jersey Medical School and a member of the New Jersey Council of Teaching Hospitals, is the largest provider of inpatient and outpatient services in the state of New Jersey.

The Deirdre Imus Environmental Health Center's specific mission is to identify, control, and ultimately prevent toxic exposures in the environment  that threaten our children's health. In 2001, the medical center instituted a hospital-wide "Greening the Cleaning®" initiative to replace potentially toxic cleaning products with more environmentally friendly products. For its efforts, The Deirdre Imus Environmental Health Center and Hackensack University Medical Center were awarded The Phillip M. Scanlan Environmental Award from Quality New Jersey (QNJ). The Deirdre Imus Environmental Health Center and Hackensack University Medical Center were also recognized in 2001 by the New Jersey Business & Industry Association (NJBIA) with the Environmental Award for Excellence.

 


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