Friday, November 22, 2019

Click here to
sign up for our newsletter!

The Journals are the premier publications for high-quality, hyperlocal news and advertising in Monmouth County, New Jersey

Anita Dedalis Colts Neck Mayor Bartolomeo
Jun 21, 2018

A Life Centered around Volunteering

Nick Deckmejian

Anita Dedalis Colts Neck Mayor Bartolomeo

Anita with Colts Neck Mayor Bartolomeo

“I do all the things nobody wants to do,” said Colts Neck resident Anita Dedalis as she settled into her beach chair on the front lawn of Town Hall to watch a music performance. A constant presence at nearly every township event, Anita has dedicated much of her life to the community through her ambitious volunteering and willingness to be a helping hand when one is needed.

Her efforts are often recognized at Township Committee events where she consistently receives Mayoral Proclamations on behalf of the various groups she’s associated with. “I get all the proclamations, and not one of them is for something happy,” Anita admitted sardonically with a chuckle.

It’s true: Most of Anita’s work centers around some unpleasant aspects of life, such as addiction and mental illness. In the past, Anita volunteered with the Red Bank Juvenile Conference Committee, which dealt with rehabilitating troubled youth, and multiple programs through the Monmouth County Sheriff’s office that involved community outreach and helping people with special needs.

Today, Anita primarily focuses her volunteering efforts to the Colts Neck Alliance (CNA) for the Prevention of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse, and The Woman’s Club. She joined the CNA in 1999 and currently serves as chairperson and coordinator. The CNA defines its specific mission as reducing the incidence, prevalence, and impact of alcoholism and drug abuse in Colts Neck through planning for and purchasing of services, projects and programs which provide treatment, prevention and education.

Anita Dedalis Russell Macnow

Anita with Committeeman Russell Macnow

Anita admits it is hard work – so much so that she tried to resign several years ago. When a retired police officer tried to assume her role, Anita said her would-be successor was shocked at the amount of work required, claiming “that’s a full-time job. Do not tell anybody that’s a part-time job. I don’t know how Anita does it.”

As for The Woman’s Club, Anita first joined in 2013 and is currently the treasurer. The club’s mission is to maintain a center for the intellectual and moral welfare of its members; to advance the welfare of the community; and to promote the interests of the General Federation of Women’s Clubs and the New Jersey State Federation of Women’s Clubs. One of Anita’s primary focuses with the Woman’s Club involves mental illness – another dreary issue that she takes upon herself when no one else is willing.

This is merely the tip of the iceberg: Anita also maintains the 9/11 Memorial benches at Town Hall, plants the pinwheels at the library for Child Abuse Awareness month, and coordinates efforts associated with Suicide Prevention Week, Mental Health Month, Domestic Violence Month, and Mental Illness Awareness Week.

Reflecting on her efforts, Anita attributes her motivation to a simple sentiment: “Things die if you don’t come out and do!” she exclaimed, as if it’s a point she has been trying to make her entire life. “My biggest thing is if you don’t want something to die, volunteer!”