AJFCA Disabilities & Inclusion Services Newsletter - Fall 2015

In This Issue
Join our Facebook Group!
Connect with your colleagues across the network by joining our closed Facebook group for AJFCA member agency professionals working in disabilities services. 
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JFSA Cleveland wins 2015 Ruderman Prize for Inclusion
jfsa cleveland
Jewish Family Service Association of Cleveland's YouthAbilities Program was chosen as one of 5 global 2015 winners. Congratulations to JFSA Cleveland for this well-deserved prize! Read about their program along with the other winners here
Jewish Abilities Alliance is here for you!
A community is a place where people of similar background come together, a place where you don't have to go at life alone, a place where you're supported by those around you. The Jewish Abilities Alliance (JAA) is that community for individuals with disabilities and their families. No matter what stage of life you're in, the JAA connects people to resources and services within their community.  

To learn how to bring Jewish Abilities Alliance to your community, contact Liz.
Questions for the Network
Questions and answers will be shared through the AJFCA closed Facebook group and in the next newsletter.

1. What initiatives have agencies carried out that reduce stigma of disability and promote inclusion? Click here to answer.

2. What are agencies doing to address the particular challenges and needs of aging parents and their adult disabled children, who are often residing with the parent(s)? Click here to answer.
News & Resources
I Am Here, Hear Me Bark: Comedy, Disability & the Inclusive Synagogue

The RespectAbility Report: Nonpartisan Commentary on the 2016 U.S. Elections with a Focus on Disability Issues

Community Living & Participation for People with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities: Report

Disability Resources Available
Feedback Appreciated!

Your feedback helps us make the newsletter more beneficial.
Email Liz Woodward, Director of Older Adult & Disabilities Services with comments.

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AJFCA is thrilled to release our second quarterly newsletter on disabilities and inclusion services for member agency professionals and leaders! Missed the first newsletter? You can access it here.
Disabilities Services Discussion Calls
AJFCA offers quarterly calls for member professionals to share with one another and learn about topics of interest. All member agency professionals interested in engaging in a conversation on serving persons with disabilities are invited.

Next Call:
Socialization and Life Skills Programming
Thursday, Dec. 1st, 1pm EST
This one-hour discussion call will focus on socialization programming for persons with disabilities and how such programming can be used in building life skills and supporting inclusion. Lisa Ney, Assistant Director of Individual and Family Services at JFCS Philadelphia, will share her organization's programs and lead professionals in a discussion on this work.

Did you miss the first 2 calls? Catch up with our meeting notes. Learn about disabilities programming throughout our network here and about how new federal policy changes will impact vocational services providers here.
Webinar Series: The Changing Landscape of Community & Residential Supports
This 4-part webinar series is hosted by AJFCA and presented by the Task Force on Jewish Residential Alternatives for Adults with Disabilities.The series is offered free of charge to all AJFCA network professionals and available to all others for a fee.

Next webinar:

Changing Legislation
Wednesday, December 16th - 1 pm EST
Presenter Allan Bergman, CEO of High Impact Consulting, will review changes to Medicaid and other policies impacting persons with disabilities and their families. This session will provide important information for both professionals and self-advocates interested in understanding changes in federal policy throughout 2014 and 2015 and anticipating future legislative changes.

Ruderman Inclusion Summit
AJFCA was proud to be a sponsor of the inaugural 2015 Ruderman Inclusion Summit on November 1st and 2nd in Boston. The summit featured many notable speakers including Senator Tom Harkin, Special Olympics Athlete Loretta Claiborne and Justice Richard Bernstein and brought together over 500 professionals, self-advocates and family members for breakout sessions on a range of topics including housing, education, employment, and policy. Two take-aways from the conference sessions AJFCA attended were:
  • We still have a long way to go towards becoming a fully inclusive society, but there are programs out there that have successfully assisted in this transformation for both communities and individuals.Read about the presenters.
  • As service providers we need to be thoughtful about our use of language. The term "special needs" is not recommended by disability advocates (see Disability Vs. Special Needs), nor are the terms "inspiring" or "challenged". 
AJFCA members professionals at the Ruderman Inclusion Summit Welcome Reception
24 AJFCA Member Agencies Awarded Grants for Disabilities Services
AJFCA announced a new funding opportunity for U.S. agencies supporting persons with disabilities in their communities in July through a partnership with a donor comitted to improving the lives of persons with disabilities in the Jewish community. 

24 agencies submitted proposals for funding for capital projects, supportive services, and programming for persons with disabilities to assist in the development of social, life, and employment skills and to improve inclusion of people with all abilities in agency services and in the community. All agencies were awarded some level of funding, up to $40,000. 
Jewish leadership institute
Applications are now open for the next Jewish Leadership Institute on Disabilities and Inclusion sponsored by the Ruderman Family Foundation. The Institute will be held in at the Capital Retreat Center in Waynesboro, Pennsylvania February 1-4, 2016. Applications are accepted until December 4, 2015. Learn more at http://www.nlcdd.org/jli.html