Minutes: Post 21 Club General Meeting
Larry reviewed that the purpose of these general club meetings is to understand the needs of our families, so as to advocate and work to get those needs met. He also reminded us that the families have a lot of power – we are constituents and we must band together and state what we want to our elected officials.
The meeting opened with all members introducing themselves and discussing what their children need or will need. A few of the families present will have children graduating from Special services education in June of 2014 and so will require various adult services. One of the attendees offered their servicers as a volunteer for Post 21 Club – this was welcomed greatly as the Club needs volunteers so that we can better help our families!
The needs that the families here reviewed are as follows:
- Day programing that is colorful, fun, recreational and educational (Post 21 joined forces with NJ Friendship House and started the FH Adult Autism Day Program)
- Speech therapy that is incorporated into Day programming
- “After-program” programming (e.g., from 3 – 6 PM; incorporating recreational activities, additional socializing)
- Day programming for those with more challenging behaviors
Larry wanted to review a few specific items:
1) Status of the FH Adult Autism Day Program
2) Speech Therapy status
3) “After-program” Program
5) What Post 21 Club members-at-large can do to help
6) Website upgrades
Status of FHAADP:
The Program now has ~36 - 37 members; it had to move from the Rockleigh site this Fall (the land was sold to Volvo) and is now housed in two locations – one at a specific building in Bergen Regional Medical Center in Paramus, the other, at the Hackensack Campus (which is housed in one building) of Bergen Community College. At present, the program still provides work internships for the members but they are still using positions in Rockleigh and near-by, e.g., TJ Maxx – Closter, AppleBees – Rockleigh, The Jewish Home – Rockleigh, The Iron Horse Restaurant – Westwood. A question for the BCC location of the Program: When will placements/internships be provided in the Hackensack area? It appears the Program may need a job placement supervisor to help with this…??
Speech Therapy status:
Several members have expressed that this is an unmet need for their children and that they would like a speech therapist to help guide verbal social interactions between members. The Club is currently investigating the use of grant funds to start this service soon. Sometime next year, this service may be funded/provided by the DDD (i.e., “Support Programs” funding).
Ryan suggested a “Latch-Key” type of program for this “After” program providing recreational activities, sports, Board games etc. Ryan also mentioned FH’s ICON training which is a special program to teach culinary arts to adults with special needs. Completion of the 12-week training course would award a certificate to the student allowing them to seek employment (as a line cook, server, kitchen staff, etc). Though not a continuing program, this is provided in the afternoons. FH also has a vision for an “After” program but needs additional funding to get this started. Other providers may already have, or have visions for “After” programming that meet our needs. At this meeting, members provided ideas such as using College/Graduate students as Peer Models in an “After” program. The idea of having local companies send their work, e.g., document shredding, to an “After” program for members to work on was also raised.
As a 501c3 not-for-profit charity, P21 raises funds and deploys them for the benefit of our group and our mission. Funds are needed to provide the supports and services (the “Spokes” of P21’s “Hub-With-Spokes” model) that families require for their loved ones. Part of the funding is provided by the State (e.g., the DDD funding that families receive for Day programming), but the remainder must be provided by us. If we become more of a fundraiser, we can do more to create and fund choices for our families.
P21 must strive to obtain corporate sponsorship and secure larger $$. Thus far, we have two large fundraisers every year: The annual “Cook-off” run by the Leeds family (usually held in January), and the Annual Spring Fundraiser for the FH Adult Autism Day Program run jointly with FH (held in early April). We need to work to make these events bigger and better.
What can P21 Members do to help?
Members at large can participate in a variety of ways by donating their time, “treasures”, and talents…
- Everybody can help with fundraising in large or in small ways. One thing everyone can do is to use our Website to buy on-line from Amazon.com. A small percentage of every purchase from Amazon obtained by going through our Website is given to Post 21 Club. The holidays are around the corner and this is a great way to shop to give to Post 21 Club
- For the Spring fundraiser, we could use help in distributing forms and soliciting donations for our Ad Journal. Also, if you have family members or friends that work for large corporations, find out if corporate sponsorship can be secured for this event.
- You can donate your time by being a volunteer and working on a specific committee to get a job done, e.g.,Website committee, Fundraiser committee, etc.
Our Website was designed by Larry and Richie, and Richie maintains it. Some upgrades are needed – advertising the 2014 fundraisers and providing on-line tickets sales for these events, etc. We would also like to make the Website more powerful by providing more information to families. Larry will initiate discussions with Richie on Website upgrades.
1) Janet and Natalie/Larry to compose a “Frequently Asked Questions” and Answers re: the changes in DDD and how to navigate and enter the world of Adult Services. This would be posted on the Website. (E.g., there are 11 organizations that provide Support Coordinators for those adults registered with DDD, e.g., Family Care Givers of NJ, Neighbors, Inc., etc. Support Coordinators now do client follow-up on a montly basis…etc.)
2) We proposed at the next meeting, we would discuss committees that members could participate in to help with Club activities
Next meeting: Wed. Dec. 11, 2013 at 7:30 PM