The Details

Who: Jennifer Persson, 36
Monthly Rent: $2K
Occupation: Senior Accountant Executive, Vision Creative Group
Children:  Ryan, 6

NJF: Why Riverdale?

JP: I grew up in West Orange but moved to an apartment here in 2011 because it’s near my job and within the custodial agreement living guidelines I have with Ryan’s dad. I also love how close Riverdale is to everything (Target’s right next door!). My best friend lives in the same building too, so we help each other out with things like babysitting and covering morning bus duty.

NJF: What’s your community like?
JP: We have a two-bedroom, two-bathroom unit in a complex with eight buildings. I love that Ryan has his own loft since it gives him his own personal space to watch TV and play. Plus, that means my living room doesn’t have racetracks and LEGOs all over the floor.

NJF: What do you do for work?
JP: I’m an executive at an advertising agency in Cedar Knolls. I really lucked out—my company is extremely family-friendly.  We have on-site day care, which means that when Ryan was little, I was able to have him right down the hall from me while I worked and I could pop in and see him throughout the day. My office is also pet-friendly. We take turns bringing in our dogs.

NJF: What’s the best thing about raising kids in Riverdale?
JP: Our school (which is Pre K through 8th grade), is small and staffed with teachers I really like who have a genuine interest in my son. We also share sports programs with Pompton Lakes, which gives us the chance to meet new people, and the programs are all well-organized. I do wish Riverdale had a really cool park/playground for the kids, though. There’s a playground at school and another small one nearby, but we need a big beautiful park here. I often end up taking Ryan to parks in neighboring Montville, Wayne and Pompton Plains instead.

NJF: What do you do for childcare? 
JP: Ryan attends aftercare at his school until 6 pm, which is about $1,845. In the summer, he goes to day camp full-time at the Boys and Girls Club. It’s about $2400 a month. There’s a soccer clinic, daily swimming at the lake, daily ice cream breaks and lots of field trips. He loves it!

NJF: What are your challenges as a working, single mom?
JP: It’s hard to get everything done. I really have to stick to a schedule and be very organized. It’s also a challenge now that Ryan is getting older and there are more after-school activities. But it’s also made Ryan and me really close—we are definitely a great team. My single mom friends are life-savers—we help each other out!

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