How many children do you have and what are their age(s)?
We have Ashton, 12, Bryn, 8 and Seamus is 6. We also have Brooke who was 5 when she died, in 2013.
How long have you lived in (your town)? What made you decide to live here?
After living in New Providence our entire lives, we now live in Harding. We have lived here for four years,What really made the difference for us was more property and small class sizes in the public school.
What’s your favorite family activity Chatham, Madison or Summit?
We love the Escape room in Madison! We also enjoy going to restaurants in all three towns.
Where’s your favorite place to eat and/or shop Chatham, Madison or Summit?
Sugar Rush in Madison is my go to for birthday and holiday gifts. In Chatham, my favorite is Serenade, although it’s not somewhere we get to regularly. In Madison, we have been really liking Bottle Hill Tavern and in Summit we like Fiorino’s and Pizza Vita.
What’s one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
I am super shy!
Anyone special you’d like to thank for helping you through parenthood?
Besides my mom, I admire a lot of moms that have “made it through” the childhood years and you can see the results in their kids who are now adults. I always turn to Michelle Davis. She is a mom in Madison who has raised four kids who are so loving, kind, sharing and family-oriented. Of course her children are their own people, but the values she instilled in them were a fantastic foundation.
Are you involved in a business venture, a local organization, a creative endeavor, or in the corporate world? Please share!
Yes! I own a business in New Providence – Elefante Music and School for the Performing Arts and I am Founder and President of The Brooke Healey Foundation.
For Elefante – we have been in business for 23 years and it has been such a blessing to see so many kids flourish in music and the performing arts. We provide instrumental lessons, as well as amazing performing arts classes and productions. We also have a phenomenal summer camp. A lot of our students are involved with exciting adventures on Broadway, Netflix and more which is super for them. We also rent instruments throughout New Jersey, which is actually the biggest part of our business. It’s important that we as well as parents continue to advocate for keeping music in the schools, because they are often the first to go, or to get slighted and that is such a shame.
As far as the Foundation, there was no preparation for that one and yet it has become a true passion of mine. When our daughter Brooke was diagnosed with a rare, aggressive brain tumor in 2013, our friends and family started the beginnings of what was to become The Brooke Healey Foundation.. We all ran with it and have been raising money and awareness since then. One of our biggest accomplishments is collaborating with about 75 other foundations like ours. As a larger group, we are able to fund important research and use a Medical Advisory Board to help us choose the right places to fund. We are intimately involved and the money is only going to places we feel will move the needle. We have funded close to $10,000,000 as part of that group. As an individual group, we are also making a difference both locally and across the country. We have raised over $1,000,000 since our inception and much of that goes to families in need locally. We help pay their mortgages, car payments, utilities and also help with the fun stuff for the kids and their siblings. A big part of how we do this is through our events, both big and small. For example, our Casino Night Gala is upcoming and it is an amazing event. We also have our golf outing which is held at Fiddler’s Elbow. The golfer’s really enjoy the day and we slip in some really meaningful information so they understand the importance of their participation.
How has this community been instrumental in getting you to where you are now?
This community has been something for the record books in terms of getting me to where I am now! As I mentioned, I have lived in the area forever, as have my parents and some of my grandparents.
Many years ago, I started working at Sealfons in Summit ( it was located where lululemon is now!) . That was an important part of my life. I went from working on the retail floor, to up in the “attic” office doing some of the bookkeeping. I learned a lot about how business works from working there. Currently, my son attends Gingham Giraffe preschool in Summit and they have been a wonderful support for him.
The community has been sending their kids to us at Elefante Music and we don’t take that lightly. They trust us with their kid’s musical education and that is such an honor.
The most impressive support in getting me to where I am now from this community has come through our foundation. From the moment Brooke was diagnosed, up until the current moment, folks in these towns are supporting us to help children defeat pediatric cancer. I have become a different person because of what I have seen, felt and been a recipient of from the members of this community – and I mean for the better. The connections that I have made and continue to make are so much more important than I could have imagined. The gratitude I have and also received has really been heartwarming.
What’s your favorite form of self care?
Self care!? That sounds nice! Actually, I am a huge proponent of the “get your own oxygen mask first” mantra. If I can’t help myself, I can’t help anyone else. So I do make sure that I am take care when possible.. I love to ride my Peloton. I also love going to bed early with a great book or series on Netflix. I also make sure I get my therapy in! That has been life changing for me also. It has helped me so much and I make sure I get there for every appointment. Although I am super busy, I do find time to relax and unwind with friends and family.