West Orange, NJ – Marilynn Schneider, Director of Jewish Service for the Developmentally Disabled’s (JSDD) WAE Center, announced her retirement at the end of June after over 20 years of service. Under Marilynn’s leadership, the WAE (Wellness, Arts, Enrichment) Center has become known throughout the community and the State of NJ as a premier model program for engaging men and women with developmental disabilities in continuing education and creative endeavors with respectful appreciation for their ability and talent.  Marilynn began her affiliation with JSDD as Chaplain, then moved on to become Director of Residential Services. She served as Director of the WAE Center for the past 16 years. As a staunch advocate for individuals with developmental disabilities, Marilynn focused […]

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Rituals provide comfort and structure.  They are often the thing we hold onto during challenging times.  Observing the Sabbath is one of those rituals we can count on to show up every Friday night and continue into Saturday. Our residential community continues to anticipate coming together each week to welcome Shabbat on Fridays.  August 21th was no different as Hagit, JSDD’s Judaic Coordinator, gathered everyone via Zoom to participate in some traditional melodies and recite the blessings for lighting Shabbat Candles, the Kiddush and Hamotzi (Challah).  The residents were eager to share how much they enjoyed the baking class this week and what a treat it was to have fresh banana bread.  Hagit began to discuss the upcoming Rosh Hashanah […]

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Thanks, once again, to our partners at The Friendship Circle for including JSDD residents in their virtual cooking class.  Last week’s banana bread baking was a delicious hit!  Special bags of ingredients were assembled by the Friendship Circle and JSDD’s Judaic Coordinator, Hagit, cheerfully distributed them to all the homes.   The opportunities offered by The Friendship Circle have become a welcome addition to the schedule of virtual classes offered by JSDD’s WAE to Connect program and promote relationships and connections to friends while having fun and developing skills and confidence in the kitchen.  The best part is gobbling up the delicious banana bread! Toda Raba to our partners at the Friendship Circle.   

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Senior Manager, Lakita P., demonstrates a remarkable level of enthusiasm for the residents and staff for whom she is responsible and supervises.  Lakita began working for JSDD 3 years ago when she was hired as an Assistant Manager where she demonstrated her passion for supporting our residents.  Her dedication to the agency was recognized and she was quickly promoted to Manager and then Senior Manager. Her organizational skills and ability to juggle and manage multiple demands have proven to be exceptional. “I love my job and each resident.  Also, I am fortunate to be working with many remarkable DSP’s (Direct Support Professionals).  Each morning when I wake up, I reflect on the importance of my responsibilities and it always makes […]

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This summer the Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest NJ organized a program called Summer Volunteer Opportunities, which provided volunteers a chance to make an impact in the lives of others.  While JSDD generally has many opportunities available to volunteers to work directly with the men and women we support, this summer, the typical face to face, personal interactions were not an option.  JSDD does, however, have homes with outdoor flower beds that were in need of some tender loving care.   Volunteers Amy and Louis Nocito happily responded to this request.  They arrived at the JSDD Maplewood home on a sunny afternoon with their caring hands and planted colorful flowers while practicing social distancing. Their small act of kindness brought beauty […]

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