Melissa Rivera-Serna

Strolling Thunder NJ June 9th 11am

I’m reaching out about Advocates for Children of New Jersey’s fourth annual Strolling Thunder NJ! Strolling Thunder NJ is an annual event to tell our lawmakers to Think Babies and support our youngest children and families! This year the event will be focused on child care and what parents want for their families! It will be an interactive Zoom meeting where we will have facilitated breakout room discussions for parents to share their child care experiences and visions for a better system!


Strolling Thunder New Jersey 2021


Ruth Segura

Ruth Segura

Ruth Segura

Ruth Segura, our Ninth Annual June Handler Awardee, arrived in NJ with her father at the age of 17. Bringing her from her home in Peru, this big adventure meant leaving behind those she was attached to, including her extended family and all the familiar things she loves. Remembering her own longing for home, Ruth built her career around caring for young children whose own worlds have changed through immigration.

Ruth is this year’s recipient of the Coalition of Infant/Toddler Educators (CITE) Ninth Annual June Handler Award, in honor of the organization’s co-founder, June Moss Handler. She is one of the 172 Credential earners statewide.

This $1,000 award acknowledges Ruth’s dedication to educating infants and toddlers in care outside their homes by relying on the practices of infant mental health promoted in the New Jersey Infant/Toddler Credential.

Building trust is the key work of infants and toddlers for them to build healthy relationship and become successful learners.  The New Jersey Infant/Toddler Credential was created with statewide collaboration to offer the specific professional development for infant and toddler caregivers, especially those who have earned their CDA.  Acquiring this credential requires participation in two college credit bearing courses which are currently offered remotely. Funding for this coursework is available for those who qualify. To learn more, contact

Our State-wide Board 2021


President: Cynthia Soete
First Vice President: Angie DeFazio
Second Vice President: Cathie Chmielewski
Secretary: Casey Orlando
Treasurer: Appointment pending

Members-at-Large:  Michelle Burress, Michele Gregorio, Jennifer Santana, Melissa A. Rivera-Serna and Kathy Simone

Members-at-large continuing their terms on the Board will be Nicole Garibaldi-DeNude, Karen Humphris,  Alicia Jenks, Jennifer Metzger and Lorri Sullivan

Chapter Presidents:

Northwest-Carmela McCleary

Northeast-Kaitlyn Sweeny

University- Carolyn Tebbetts

Southern-Elmoria Thomas

Example of Parent & Caregiver Engagement Cards

Long time CITE member, Mary Lou Allen, initiated these ‘Building Brains from Birth to 36 Months of Life’  parent & caregiver engagement cards!
Learn more »

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What's New at CITE
In Memoriam – June Moss Handler
CITE founder, June Moss Handler, 94, died on November 6, 2017 at her home in Hackensack, NJ. (read more...)