Representative Mikie Sherrill paid a special visit to JSDD on February 22, 2023, to meet with JSDD residents, WAE Center members, families, and staff. The Congresswoman was pivotal in helping JSDD to secure Community Project funding which will launch JSDD: Life | Home | Tech.
Upon arriving, Representative Sherrill and her team, in addition to Livingston Mayor Michael Vieira, Deputy Mayor Al Anthony, Town Council Member Ed Meinhardt and Essex County Commissioner Patricia Sebold gathered in the Heidi Gallery. There to greet them was JSDD Executive Director, Linda Press and Board President Larry Rein. Everyone took in the current exhibit: Mentor/Mentee – JDAIM 2023, in honor of Jewish Disability Awareness and Inclusion month. Several artists were on hand to personally show their work displayed on the walls and in the gift shop. After viewing the exhibit, the group toured the facility. The Congresswoman visited a cooking class, peeked in on a WAE to Connect hybrid class in the library and a session in the art studio. Then the group sat down to discuss the impact technology will have on them and how JSDD has impacted their lives. Kristen I., who is a fierce advocate of women’s rights and one of the founders of the LGBTQ+ WAE group talked about how much she has grown as person since attending classes at the WAE Center.
Lori Solomon, JSDD Board Secretary and parent of WAE Center member said, “I am personally grateful to Representative Sherrill for prioritizing adults with disabilities in her district. She was very engaged: asking thoughtful questions and listened closely to responses from WAE Center members, parents, staff, and board members. These funds will be used to provide members and residents evaluations, followed by technology needed to gain independence. This access to technology will be life changing for the members and residents as well as their families.”
“I was thrilled to have been part of this meeting. The future is bright and there is so much excitement in the air thanks to the funding and the ability to make dreams come true.”
Catheryne Majewski , WAE Center Parent
More on JSDD: Life | Home | Tech
In April 2022, JSDD’s Grants Development team – Aubrie George, Jessica Goldstein, and Monica Schneider-Brewer, wrote the proposal to be considered for an earmark as a part of the 2023 Federal Budget. Representative Sherrill’s strong belief in the stated goal of the grant, and support of the people we serve, was instrumental in ensuring that funds for this project were included in the appropriations package.
Achieving this funding goal is monumental for JSDD. This project will expand technology services and programming for our members and residents in residential and day habilitation settings. JSDD: Life| Home| Tech will help participants achieve greater independence and accessibility.
This project will provide benefits for people throughout Representative Sherrill’s district in the following ways:
- JSDD: Life | Home | Tech will serve as a pilot, establishing a model to be used by organizations in the district.
- Staffing numbers at JSDD will remain consistent; additional jobs will be added.
- Innovating in-home support services, while addressing the current staffing crisis.
Technology at Home
JSDD routinely receives requests for residential support services. Often, these requests are to support people who are ideal candidates for supportive living. However, JSDD is not able to meet this growing need because of the complex nature of staffing on a part-time basis along with ongoing staffing shortages.
JSDD plans to use SimplyHome, which provides affordable technology to support individuals with disabilities in their homes. These technologies will enable greater independence and autonomy. This innovative system is designed to be customized to support a person’s lifestyle, daily living routines, medical, health, and safety needs. Dedicated staff members will monitor and intervene, as necessary. This pilot program will allow JSDD to expand residential services and meet the needs of its current residents in a groundbreaking new way.
Technology in a Day Habilitation Setting
WAE to Connect is an active virtual program offered through the WAE Center. It addresses multiple chronic barriers in the IDD community such as: transportation, staffing, medical/behavioral/other support needs, program options, etc.
With the implementation of JSDD: Life | Home | Tech comes the expansion of the WAE to Connect program. Increasing classes and opportunities for both, adults with IDD and the local community. Workshops, classes, and activities will be offered onsite at the WAE Center, along with remote and hybrid options. Digital Citizenship and literacy will be a focus in the day habilitation program. Participants will learn about utilizing technology to support their personal and vocational goals, resulting in more choices, increased access to programs, and a greater level of independence.
As always, JSDD is dedicated to creating opportunities for every person to live a full and rich life regardless of ability. This vanguard initiative will expand existing models for independent living and inclusive communities. Representative Sherril’s role in making JSDD: Life | Home | Tech, a reality, is consequential.
For more information about JSDD: Life | Home | Tech, please contact Linda Press email@example.com