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 on providing the resources and supports each individual needed to find those things in life that would fill them with joy and a sense of meaningful participation in the world. Her personal mission was to assure that the people who resided in a JSDD home (and others) could have the same choices and access to opportunity available to anyone in the community.
“To say that she has left her mark on JSDD does not nearly express how important she has been to the growth and reputation of this agency. The WAE Center is a legacy and will always be tied to Marilynn, her tenacity, and her dedication to “Finding the Spark Within” every person – members, their families, and the staff – touched by the WAE Center,” says Linda Press, JSDD Executive Director. “I am, personally, grateful for her unwavering commitment and support through the many challenges presented along the way.”
Marilynn developed a team of dedicated professionals who will continue the WAE Center’s mission. “We will continue on with her voice inside our heads inspiring us all to see the potential, appreciate the talent, and never underestimate the ability of anyone to achieve extraordinary things. She has left JSDD better today than when she arrived,” comments Press.