Meet Moms: Jen Scarpati and Annie Peters of Project Readiness | The Denville Moms

This week’s Meet-a-Mom is not one but two amazing women, co-founders of the non-profit Project Readiness, Jen Scarpati and Annie Peters from right here in Mountain Lakes. Project Readiness strives to make sure that no Morris County student attends school without all of the supplies they need to learn and thrive there. If a student needs a backpack full of supplies, Project Readiness will either purchase it itself with donated funds, or match that student with a donor who will personally do the shopping for that student. We also arrange corporate backpack drives, where area companies take on a list of students in need, and fill backpacks for each one. During COVID-19 lockdown, PR pivoted and provided tools for home learning to area students, everything from Chromebooks to Orton-Gillingham software subscriptions for dyslexic learners.

This year Project Readiness is partnering with local non-profits Nourish.NJ, Family Promise, Homeless Solutions, and Head Start of Morris County, with the aim of equipping each of their referred students with everything they need to start (in-person!) school in the fall. They’ve also poked a feeler into Newark, and are thrilled to be partnering with East Side High as well. If you would like to learn more, please visit them at www.projectreadinessnj.org or if you would like to be matched with a student for whom you can shop, please shoot them an email at info@projectreadinessnj.org.

First up in the dynamic duo is co-founder Jen Scarpati, read about her amazing family and how her visions of life had an exciting but surprise turn that brought her to where she is today.

How many children do you have and what are their age(s)?

I have two boys: Jesse is 9, and Graham will turn 6 this summer.

Where are you from originally and how long have you lived in Morris County?

I was born in Philadelphia and raised in Connecticut, outside of New Haven. I’ve lived all over the Northeast, and have been in Morris County for just over 6 years.

Favorite things to do with your kids? 

The perfect Friday evening as far as I’m concerned is a swim or paddle in a local lake, and then a visit to Denville Dog and a walk down Broadway to Denville Dairy. What’s better than that?

What’s one thing people would be surprised to know about you?

People might be surprised to know that my husband and I never planned on having kids. We were on a path to living in Manhattan forever and working 80-hour weeks into perpetuity. Our older son “surprised” us, and life looks much different than we had thought it would, for the better! We certainly laugh a lot more than we would have otherwise.

Anyone special you’d like to thank for helping you through parenthood?

My husband for his patience with me while I figured out how to do this whole “mom” thing, and my boys for being incredibly easy babies. I think they knew I needed some on-the-job training, and they were very forgiving. The first baby I ever held for more than 30 seconds was my own!

 

How has this community been instrumental in getting you to where you are now?

It goes without saying that without the generosity of this community, Project Readiness would not exist. What started as an informal, word-of-mouth operation out of my dining room is now an ever-expanding, firmly-rooted Morris County registered nonprofit touching literally hundreds of students’ lives every year. The simple fact is that the community’s desire to help these students was more than we could handle outside of a formal non-profit context (my dining room table isn’t that big), and so Project Readiness was born! (Much respect to Annie for having that “we’re going to need a bigger boat” realization back in early 2019.)

The other half and co-founder Annie Petters, shares a snippet into her life and her GLAM past.

How many children do you have and what are their age(s)?

I have three boys.  Will and Mac are 9 year old twins and Charlie is almost 7. 

Where are you from originally and how long have you lived in Morris County?

I grew up in Mountain Lakes.  I lived in many places during and after college but found my way back here once we had kids.  It was an amazing place to grow up and I am excited to give my kids that same opportunity. 

Favorite things to do with your kids? (local shout outs are always appreciated)

We are a super active family so we love to play and watch all kinds of sports together. This often gives us a reason to travel and see new places together which is so fun.  Locally, in the summer we do “Friday night beach nights”. We start late afternoon at the beach in Mountain Lakes, get sandwiches from Anthony & Sons for dinner and just hang, eat and play on the lake until the sun sets- these are my favorite nights!  

What’s one thing people would be surprised to know about you?

In my “pre-mom” life, I was a stylist and buyer for an upscale boutique and use to spend weeks in Milan, Paris and New York at the fashion shows and working with various celebrities.  

Anyone special you’d like to thank for helping you through parenthood?

My ‘best running friends’…a few of my closest friends who I run regularly with. During these runs we talk about our kids, relationships and lives.  In so many ways they are my support system. 

How has this community been instrumental in getting you to where you are now?

Every year we have been blown away by the generosity of this community.  What started as a conversation with Jen during a playdate of “what can we do….?” has turned into an actual non-profit that touches hundreds of families around Morris County and now NJ.  Without the immediate support and efforts of our local community that never would have happened.

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