2015-11-11 / Columns

JFCS’ Supported Employment program embodies promise and offers hope

STRAIGHT FROM THE HEART
MARLA MEYERS
Executive Director, Jewish Family & Children’s Service

“There is no greater disability in society, than the inability to see a person as more.”—Robert M. Hensel

In just 10 days from when this column is published, individuals from all over Southern New Jersey will find themselves in the same room, with the same mission—to support those with special needs who wish to obtain gainful employment. The JFCS Dubrow Vocational Celebration Breakfast will take place on Nov. 20 at 8 a.m., and if you have ever been to this event, or plan to go this year, you will feel that sense of overwhelming pride and inspiration that every attendee talks about for weeks and months after.

I guarantee it! And, the reason is simple. The JFCS clients, and the local companies who employ them, are a testament to the core value that everyone deserves the right to work toward actualizing their dreams. The program gives wings to those who want to fly, lifts people up to their best selves, and honors hard work and determination.

The breakfast, in its 10th year, is being named in honor of Ellen and Ron Dubrow (z’l), who had a vision of helping individuals with disabilities to reach their highest potential. We hope that others will be inspired to follow their lead.

The morning is a special time that allows JFCS to show our unwavering support for all the many clients in the program, and the more than 100 local companies who have given our clients with special needs the ability to see how far their wings can take them. We will proudly recognize our Supported Employment program specialists, who are on the ground floor each and every day, assisting individuals with resume writing, interviewing skills, and completing job applications. These mentors are invaluable to the success of each client, as are the Supported Employment job coaches, who accompany individuals on job interviews, provide job coaching, and assist with establishing natural supports at the worksite. The goal of finding the right job match for each individual, based on his or her strengths, abilities, and interests is a top priority for our job coaches and employment specialists. Their devotion to the job seeking and placement follow through process is unwavering and their efforts allow our clients and their families to shine with success.

National Disability Employment Awareness Month, which was held during October, reminds us that we have the opportunity to celebrate the many and varied contributions of America’s workers with disabilities. The theme this year was “My Disability is One Part of Who I Am.” At JFCS, we strive to provide meaningful opportunities for our friends with challenges and allow them to achieve the multitude of goals that they have set—vocationally, socially, and emotionally. To date, we have helped more than 300 special needs clients on their vocational quest.

Tim Noakes, a Supported Employment client and honoree who works at ResinTech Inc., is quick to point out a key ingredient of what makes the JFCS Supported Employment program so successful: The willingness of local companies to take a chance on someone with special needs, and give them the opportunity to be a productive member of the working world. “I want to tell people one of the important things about this program, which is the way JFCS networks with local companies for us to find jobs—the networking is so important,” he said. “Without it, it would be really hard to find a job.”

We hope you will consider joining us for the amazing event on Nov. 20. It is sure to warm your heart and open your mind. The breakfast will take place at the Lahn Social Hall at the Katz JCC, 1301 Springdale Rd., Cherry Hill.

For more information on the JFCS Dubrow Vocational Celebration Breakfast, please call (856) 424-1333. . mmeyers@jfedsnj.org

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