Philosophy & History


The Friendship Center will provide a healthy, safe and Christian environment which will offer opportunities to promote the growth of the whole child. Opportunities will be offered for interaction with retired men and women through special intergenerational programs.


The Friendship Center at Schooley's Mountain was the very first Intergenerational Child Care Center in Northwest New Jersey. The center is a model for other child care groups pursuing the intergenerational child care concept. The Friendship Center was conceived in 1990 when members of the Heath Village Board of Trustees saw a promising opportunity – a chance to provide a unique learning and development experience for the children while enriching the lives of Heath Village residents at the same time. That opportunity was intergenerational childcare in a retirement community setting. With so many working parents and families so dispersed, the kind of individual attention that children need could often not be adequately provided in a traditional day care facility.

Why not draw on the rich pool of caring adults at Heath Village who would be eager to volunteer their time to making each child seem special? With the help of a grant from the Lorna W. Reynolds Children’s Development Fund, The Friendship Center opened its doors in 1992 and was an immediate success. Before the first year of operation was complete, the Friendship Center was at full capacity with a waiting list (a status that it has enjoyed continuously since), was receiving top ratings for the quality of its childcare, had drawn the participation of dozens of seniors, and was on a solid financial footing. Since that time, the Friendship Center has doubled its physical size while maintaining its maximum enrollment at 50, has been the subject of an award winning video (The Friendship Center Experience) and numerous magazine and newspaper articles, and has continued to attract interested visitors from around the world looking to us as a model they can emulate in their own facilities.


  • Warren Magazine
  • Episcopal Life
  • Montage
  • Nursing Home-Long Term Care Management
  • Generations United
  • Daily Record
  • Star Ledger
  • Observer Tribune
  • Express-Times
  • Warren Reporter
  • New Jersey Herald
  • Hackettstown This Month
  • New York Times
  • Early Childhood Education Today
  • University textbook: Early Childhood Education Today, Morrison


  • Winner in the Intergenerational photography contest sponsored by Generations United, a national coalition dedicated to Intergenerational policy, programs and issues
  • Entrepreneurship Award from Hackettstown Area Chamber of Commerce - 1993
  • Residents of Heath Village and Volunteers to the Friendship Center inducted into the Hackettstown Hall of Fame


  • Center for Non-Profit New Jersey Intergenerational
  • NetworkNational Child Care Association
  • Morris County Child Care Director's Association
  • New Jersey Child Care Association

Donations & Grants

  • Deloitte & Touche LLP Company
  • AT&T
  • Lucent
  • Catholic Charities of Metuchen
  • Heath Village Residents