A Decade of Excellence for Two JFCS Special Needs Programs!

SAILebration Invitation Front CoverSamost Jewish Family & Children’s Service will celebrate the 10th Anniversary of the SAIL (Supports to Achieve Independent Living) and Supported Employment Programs of the Special Needs Department. This event, SAILebration, will be held on June 22, 2014 at the Boathouse on Cooper River, and will welcome all past and current clients of the Special Needs Department, their families, friends, employers, job coaches, and social workers. The event will acknowledge the success of the SAIL and Supported Employment Programs, which have provided social, recreational, and vocational opportunities to over 300 young adults with special needs during the past 10 years.

SAIL (Supports to Achieve Independent Living) was developed in June of 2004 in response to the requests of parents in the community, who felt that their young adult children with special needs did not have social or recreational opportunities after they graduated from high school. SAIL activities include day trips, movie nights, sporting events, cooking, art, photography, lifelong learning classes such as dating safety and etiquette, financial literacy and community service projects. SAILORS also participate in Special Olympics. SAIL supports the family and offers ongoing parent education and networking groups.

“It is hard to believe that it is 10 years since SAIL began. I am so proud of how the program has grown and how it continues to provide opportunities for young adults to socialize, learn new skills, and most importantly, make meaningful friendships,” says Barbara Abrams, Director of Special Needs Program. “The energy and excitement at a SAIL program is always palpable.”

The Supported Employment Program began with the belief that all individuals, regardless of abilities, should have the opportunity to explore competitive employment. JFCS believes that all individuals can and want to work and that support in job seeking and worksite training can assist individuals to work independently in the community. The Supported Employment Program provides services for individuals with special needs, including assessments, work samplings, job development, job coaching, mentoring, vocational evaluations and follow along supports. The program has placed over 250 special needs clients with employers since its inception.

“I’m so honored to be a part of the success of the SAIL program,” says Suzanne Fox, SAIL Program Coordinator. “We have increased membership and participation exponentially every year. Looking forward, I hope to enhance our current programming while adding new, exciting events to the calendar.”

For information on the SAILebration event or any of the JFCS special needs programs, please call 856-424-1333 or email Barbara Abrams at babrams@jfedsnj.org.


Photo: Ronaldo, the artist who painted this picture, is a participant in the JFCS Supported Employment Program. He believes there is beauty in everything he sees and that everyone has something to offer. Ronaldo uses his talent to inspire others to see the world through the eyes of an artist. Ronaldo is working on a customized employment opportunity that will allow him to continue to create and sell his own art.


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