Where are you from originally and how long have you lived in town?
Jen: I grew up on the Long Island Sound in Southern Connecticut, and moved to Mountain Lakes, New Jersey 4 years ago after stints in Boston, New York, and Western Connecticut.
Annie: I grew up in Mountain Lakes, NJ. I went to college in Oregon then lived in Boston and New York City before finally making my way back to Mountain Lakes.
Child(ren) and Age(s)?
Jen: I have two boys—Jesse is 7 years old, and Graham is 3 years old.
Annie: I have three boys- twins Mac and Will are 7 years old and Charlie is nearly 5.
One thing people would be surprised to know about you…
Jen: I am a science-fiction enthusiast! I have a library with hundreds of science fiction novels from dozens of authors, and I even used to attend conventions. I drove through a white-out level blizzard to meet the author of Ender’s Game—not advisable.
Annie: Prior to living my mom life out here in Mountain Lakes I was Martha Stewarts full time wardrobe stylist. And I have completed 6 ironman triathlons.
Anyone special you’d like to thank for helping you through parenthood?
Jen: I would like to thank a friend of mine who encouraged me to “keep things fun” when dealing with children, and especially with newborns. That tiny piece of advice made a world of difference between my experience with my first and my second. I had a much easier time looking at everything as “fun” the second time around!
Annie: The Manhattan Twins Club and the friends I met through there. Having twins as my first was amazing and completely overwhelming. All the advice and support I received from those moms and dads was invaluable!
Favorite things to do with your kids?
Jen: Three things come to mind! 1) I love to travel with my kids. There is nothing like a child’s facial expression when he sees a brand new place, or realizes that there are places in this world that don’t look and sound exactly like home. 2) I am a game nut! I love playing any kind of board game, card game, puzzle game, or even just foosball with my boys. I keep a stack of games on my dining room table at all times for convenience. 3) I love being outside with them, especially in the warmer weather! We love to kayak, and I’m now teaching them (and myself) how to fish.
Annie: We are a sports family. My boys are into pretty much every sport so we can most often be found in our backyard playing something. But one of the things that we have started doing as a family is traveling to new sports arenas. It gives us an excuse to travel, check out a new city and watch a game.
Are you involved in a business venture, a local organization, a creative endeavor, or in the corporate world? Please share!
Jen: I’m an intellectual property lawyer by training, and last year I hung a shingle as a solo practitioner. I now help clients of all sizes register for patent and trademark rights, or help them enforce those rights or protect trade secrets. I also teach a few classes at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law in NYC.
When I’m not doing my “day job,” I’m completely engrossed in Project Readiness, a non-profit organization that I co-founded with Annie Peters! In many ways, Project Readiness is the most exciting thing I’ve ever done. Our mission is to enable academic success for all of New Jersey’s children, regardless of income level. New Jersey, like many states, has municipalities in which children of means attend school alongside children at an economic disadvantage. Data collected by organizations such as the United Way show that this economic disadvantage often translates into an academic disadvantage. To that end, a student’s family income is one of the most prominent predictors of that student’s SAT score. Also, children of homes with less income are less likely to pursue higher education.
Project Readiness has the mission of providing students with a year’s complement of age-appropriate school supplies and a new backpack. This year (our third year overall and our first year as a registered non-profit entity), we’ve matched 508 Morris County students with sponsors to date, and we’re still going strong!
Annie: I still have a handful of private clients that I do personal shopping and wardrobe styling for. I also sit on the board of adjustments here in Mountain Lakes and my boys and I have been involved in various volunteer work with a family domestic violence shelter in Brooklyn. I was looking for a community service project to sink my teeth into around here and was lucky enough to partner with Jen and form Project Readiness. It has truly been a labor of love.
How has this community been instrumental in getting you to where you are now?
Jen: Project Readiness exists solely because of the generosity of our neighbors in Morris County. Annie and I are continually astonished at the public’s, level of enthusiasm for our mission. We’ve more than doubled the number of students we help year after year, because Morris County’s commitment to helping these students is boundless. Our role is to simply channel that commitment into a tangible effect – a new backpack, some pencils and pens, maybe a calculator, and the knowledge that someone out there believed in the recipient enough to equip them for school.
Annie: I would reiterate what Jen said. The generosity of our community is overwhelming and their enthusiasm for our mission and project is so meaningful and heart warming. I think the community is the backbone of Project Readiness and the reason we have been able to meet our goals and help so many students. We are so grateful.
To learn more about Project Readiness or get involved, visit their website or follow along on social media: