Developmental Disabilities Services

06September

Brain Health Bootcamp - Strengthen Your Mind and Body!

Brain Health Bootcamp - Strengthen Your Mind and Body!

If you've been recently diagnosed, or are recognizing symptoms of early memory loss, we can help maintain and enhance your memory and brain function.

Our program emphasizes memory enhancement through cognitive stimulation, physical exercise, education, and socialization. You will have the opportunity to connect with others who are experiencing many of the same situations. 

We offer ongoing semesters of eight weekly classes on Thursdays from 3-5 pm at the JF&CS location at 4549 Chamblee Dunwoody Road, Atlanta, Ga. 30338.
The cost is $25 per class or $200 per semester (scholarships may be available).
You can RSVP or get more information from Georgia Gunter at 770-677-9421 or ggunter@jfcsatl.org.

Posted in Developmental Disabilities Services

02April

Gwen Weiss - IDD Volunteer with Flair

Gwen Helping IDD client

Food is life. For adults with disabilities, however, eating and preparing healthy, balanced dishes is tough. 

At Independence WORKS the goal is to help individuals with developmental and intellectual disabilities engage in activities that promote independence and improved quality of life. One such activity that is very popular among the attendees are cooking classes - but not just ordinary cooking classes - Adaptive Cooking with Gwen Weiss.

Gwenn Weiss is a private chef who volunteers her time every other Thursday morning with the clients at IndependenceWORKS.

Gwenn develops healthy, adapted recipes that she cooks with our clients. She combines a live cooking show with an interactive class that IndependenceWORKS clients look forward to and thoroughly enjoy.


Gwen IDD 2
Gwenn makes sure to involve every client, no matter the ability. Gwenn develops our clients’ independent living skills as well as their leisure skills with her skill-appropriate cooking classes. When recipes are too advanced, Gwenn Weiss adapts the recipes and creates cooking lessons to adapt to the needs of participants.

For example, we have some clients that only have use of one hand, so Gwenn makes sure to set up specific adapted tasks with that client in mind (ie using special chopping tools/techniques, larger spoons for stirring).

Gwenn makes sure to have every recipe be something clients can make at home and also something that is healthy!

Gwen Cooking Demonstration
Healthy eating is especially important for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Gwen is such an amazing volunteer for ensuring that adults with IDD have the same access to food preparation and healthy eating as anyone else. Thanks, Gwen! 

Posted in Developmental Disabilities Services, Volunteer Services

14February

Volunteer of the Month - Gary Froug

Gary celebrates 1 year of volunteering with JF&CS

Gary Froug JF&CS Volunteer of the MonthGary Froug began volunteering for the Intelectual and Developmental Disabilities Services department in February of 2017. 

Gary is married with two children, a daughter who has recently graduated from college and a son who is currently in college. 

Gary learned about JF&CS through a chance encounter with Rabbi Beiner in 2015. 

In the summer of 2016, he reached out to our Careers department for assistance in a job search.  He and his daughter both attended several Careers workshops and developed relationships with the staff here.

Later, Gary contacted our Volunteer Coordinator, Meredith Lefkoff, to offer his time to any administrative needs the agency may have.

Gary currently volunteers in our office nine hours a week assisting in a variety of tasks including but not limited to auditing client files, confirming service documentation for Medicaid compliance, and managing our staff certifications records.  He also assists us with various financial documentation, drawing on his background in the financial sector. 

Each of our programs benefits from his time and all of our managers and coordinators enjoy seeing Gary in the office.  He took a small hiatus over the holiday months and we are all very glad he is back with us again on his regular schedule. 

Gary is now semi-retired, but open to freelance contract work.  He enjoys spending time with his family, playing golf, running, and helping his daughter care for her new puppy (an exhausting but rewarding job).

Gary shared the following reasons that he enjoys volunteering for JF&CS:

1.     Belief in our organization
2.     Sense of giving back/paying forward
3.     The feeling that he is contributing to and making a difference in our department
4.     The appreciation he receives from the JF&CS staff.

Posted in Developmental Disabilities Services, Volunteer Services

15September

Community Spotlight: Helping Feed Atlanta

Helping Feed Atlanta Spreads Love and Food Across Atlanta

Have you ever wondered what happens to all of the produce at Whole Foods at the end of the day? Does it get thrown out, used for compost, or do employees throw elaborate dinner parties after hours? In February 2012, David Skoke helped answer that question by reaching out to his local Whole Foods Market. What started out as a request for 40 pounds of potatoes, has now grown into an operation that feeds thousands of the homeless and Atlantans in-need.

In just five years, the project has grown from one market to five different Whole Foods markets and three Costco locations. Helping Feed Atlanta collects over 30,000 pounds of food every month with the help of a few dedicated volunteers. 

In addition, Helping Feed Atlanta has also created jobs for capable adults like Todd Besmernick, a young man in our supported employment program. David and Todd have become great friends, and they share videos of their weekly runs to collect healthy produce on their  “van show.” They then distribute the produce to the JF&CS kosher food pantry, and other organizations that help those in-need including Malachi's Storehouse, City of Refuge and The Atlanta Mission.

“We could not do our work without the help of David Skoke and Helping Feed Atlanta for many reasons. Thank you from all of us at JFCS,” said Engagement Coordinator, Sheri Schwartz.

Amy Maslia, intake manager agreed. “We Love to see David's smiling face on Mondays and am thrilled to offer fresh produce to our clients! Thank you from the bottom of our hearts!!”

Helping Feed Atlanta was recently profiled on 11 Alive. You can view the video here: http://www.wsbtv.com/video?videoId=596527236&videoVersion=1.0 

Here is a video of David and Todd doing their mobile mitzvahs: https://www.facebook.com/Helping-Feed-Atlanta-1438955989707442/?fref=mentions

Posted in JF&CS - Hope and Opportunity Happen Here, Developmental Disabilities Services, Volunteer Services

06February

Ask a Professional: Carly Reisman

Carly Reisman, Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Coordinator at JFCS AtlantaCarly Reisman is a professional in Intellectual & Developmental Disabilities Services at JF&CS. She works with adults with disabilities who would like to gain employment. Carly has a bachelor’s degree in Child and Family Development and a Masters in Special Education from the University of Georgia. She joined JF&CS as a direct support professional in 2015 and became the Employment Services Coordinator in 2016.




Posted in Developmental Disabilities Services

03February

February is Jewish Disabilities Awareness Month

How IDDS is making hope and opportunity happen

February is Jewish Disabilities Awareness Month, and JF&CS wants to raise awareness of what we do in this arena. Our nonsectarian Intellectual & Developmental Disabilities Services (IDDS) offers programs and supports to individuals with a range of disabilities, their families and their caregivers. We follow a person-centered approach to ensure those with disabilities have a hand in directing their services and a voice concerning their future. The programs promote self-determination and the right of those with special needs to choose their own destinies.

Programs and services include Supported Employment, the Zimmerman-Horowitz Independent Living Program, Community Access Services and Alterman/JETS Transportation.

In March, IDDS will be moving into a brand new location right on the JF&CS campus. The building will include a large common space, classrooms, a computer room, an art studio, a sensory room, a teaching kitchen, ADA-compliant bathrooms with showers, a laundry area and full access for wheelchairs with wider hallways and lower counters.

For more information, please call 770-677-9300 or visit www.jfcsatl.org

 

Posted in Developmental Disabilities Services

06July

Supported Employment Brings Confidence and Stability

Supported Employment Brings Confidence and Stability
Gil Berman wants to de-stigmatize mental health issues and treatment. A bright and funny 23-year-old who exudes self-confidence, Gil has Asperger’s syndrome. He also has an anxiety disorder and “some other issues,” including Tourette syndrome, which he learned he had in fourth grade. 

“People would tell me I was so brave to talk about it,” he said. “That always confused me. It feels good to talk about it. Everybody is educated, and everybody wins.”

Written by Sheri Panovka, Posted in Counseling Services, Developmental Disabilities Services

17February

Help for Young Adults with Autism

Help for Young Adults with Autism

Autism is the fastest-growing serious developmental disability in the United States, according to common statistics. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) identifies one in 88 children—one in 54 boys—to be on the autism spectrum.

Written by Sheri Panovka, Posted in Career Services, Counseling Services, Developmental Disabilities Services

12December

Reflections on the Jewish Leadership Institute on Disabilities and Inclusion

Reflections on the Jewish Leadership Institute on Disabilities and Inclusion

 

I just returned from the first Jewish Leadership Institute on Disabilities and Inclusion, held December 1st – 5th at the Pearlstone Center outside of Baltimore, MD. It was an incredible gathering of 25 Jewish disability and communal leaders—leaders from the disability field, individuals with disabilities and family members.   We spent more than 12 hours each day learning about the importance of self-determination, individualized person-centered planning and the rights of individuals to determine where they live, with whom they live and how they spend their time. We as Jews understand, and experience through our history, what happens when individuals are dehumanized and their rights are taken away. That still happens for many people with disabilities.

 

Written by Eve Bogan, Posted in Developmental Disabilities Services

31July

ArtWORKS Goes WILD!

ArtWORKS Goes WILD!

ArtWORKS is back preparing for the “Go Wild” art show which will be held at The Art Institute of Atlanta – Decatur on December 5th, 2013. With more than 50 acrylic-on-canvas works in development, including massive banners depicting wild animals, our clients are as busy as they are excited about this gala event. Clients chose the “Go Wild” theme to honor one of our Tools for Independence TeamWORKS’ partners, ZooAtlanta. Our clients regularly volunteer to support the educational programs sponsored by ZooAtlanta, and recognizing ZooAtlanta through the show creates the opportunity for our clients to give back to the community that supports them. Last year’s show generated more than$2,000 in earnings for the program and our clients, and we are looking forward to setting a new bar at the 2013 show!

Posted in Developmental Disabilities Services

26February

If not now, when?: The Importance of Advocacy in the Disabilities Community

If not now, when?: The Importance of Advocacy in the Disabilities Community

Webster’s Dictionary defines advocacy as “the act or process of advocating or supporting a cause or a proposal”. A more meaningful description of advocacy, however, comes from Rabbi Hillel:

If I am not for myself, who will be for me? But if I am only for myself, who am I? If not now, when? (Rabbi Hillel, Ethics of the Fathers 1:14)

So what does advocacy really mean? It is important to stand up for yourself and what you believe in, and it is most important to stand up for fellow members of your community.

Written by Eve Bogan, Posted in JF&CS - Hope and Opportunity Happen Here, Developmental Disabilities Services

01June

Volunteer Spotlight: Ann Kay & Richard DeRossett

Volunteer Spotlight: Ann Kay & Richard DeRossett

Sometime in the early 1980s, right after she moved to Atlanta from her native New York, Ann Kay started volunteering at her children’s school. From there, she moved on to the William Breman Jewish Home and then to Hillel. Finally, she found her way to JF&CS through her husband Michael, a past president of the agency. The Kays started collecting Passover supplies for JF&CS’ Maos program.

Written by Sheri Panovka, Posted in JF&CS - Hope and Opportunity Happen Here, Developmental Disabilities Services, Volunteer Services

29February

My Day of Smiles… Why I Volunteer at the Larry Bregman M.D. Educational Conference

My Day of Smiles… Why I Volunteer at the Larry Bregman M.D. Educational Conference

The Larry Bregman, M.D., Educational Conference is a two-day conference for adults with developmental disabilities, their families and caregivers. It is one of the many events planned in February as a part of Jewish Disabilities Awareness Month. The first evening features a dance for the participants, followed by the second day filled with workshops. The workshops emphasize topics such as being part of the community, being a self-advocate and living a healthy lifestyle. This year’s conference, themed “Avenues of Change,” took place February 25-26 at the Selig Center. More than 250 people attended with the help of 50+ volunteers.

Written by Marla Shainberg, Posted in JF&CS - Hope and Opportunity Happen Here, Developmental Disabilities Services, Volunteer Services

14February

When a Month Just Isn't Enough

When a Month Just Isn't Enough

February is Jewish Disabilities Awareness Month (JDAM). We are pleased to share a blog post from Deborah Greene, wife of Rabbi Fred Greene of Temple Beth Tikvah and the mother of three daughters, the oldest of whom has autism. Deborah is devoted to raising autism awareness, and she shares her family's life on the autism spectrum in “Puzzled: Raising a Child with Autism & Other Pieces of Family Life.” We found her story to be extremely poignant, and we are honored she agreed to be a guest blogger for “The Sharpest Tools in the Shed.”

JF&CS is dedicated to supporting our clients and their families with disabilities, and we are touched  by Deborah’s meaningful words. Even if you are not Jewish, we believe you will find her words meaningful as well.

Written by Deborah Greene, Posted in JF&CS - Hope and Opportunity Happen Here, Developmental Disabilities Services

31January

Volunteer Spotlight: Marla Shainberg

Volunteer Spotlight: Marla Shainberg

JF&CS volunteers have been instrumental to the success of so many of our programs. Each year, they dedicate hours upon hours of their time to meetings, projects, programs and events. This comes from a drive and desire to make a positive impact on the community and to help provide a range of services to those who need them. Marla Shainberg is a shining example of this commitment to JF&CS and the community.

Written by Matt Waldman, Posted in JF&CS - Hope and Opportunity Happen Here, Developmental Disabilities Services, Volunteer Services

21September

You Can Go to Italy, I’d Rather Visit Holland

The Gift of Working with Extraordinary People

You Can Go to Italy, I’d Rather Visit Holland

September is Direct Support Professionals month. We are grateful for all of those workers who care for extraordinary people who may need a little extra help. Thank you for all that you do!

Most people involved in the disability culture are familiar with the essay “Welcome to Holland.” The essay, written in 1987 by Emily Perl Kingsley in, the mother of a child with Down Syndrome, sheds light from the perspective of a parent whose child has special needs:

Written by Rena Harris, Posted in Developmental Disabilities Services