April 2020 Update
Now More Than Ever
During these past few weeks spent under the social distancing mandate, we all have felt the strain of maintaining relationships, finding hobbies to occupy our time, and learning how to navigate a new sense of loneliness. The truth is that for many people with intellectual and developmental disabilities this is an everyday reality year-round. Now more than ever, while we yearn for connection it is incredibly important to remember our friends with disabilities.
Here at Best Buddies New Jersey, we’ve been hard at work to find creative ways to keep our participants engaged.
Jobs Program Goes Remote
Our Jobs program is unique in that each individual works with a job development manager to find a job that fits their specific interests and strengths. After securing a job that matches the agreed-upon criteria, the Jobs participant is paired with a job coach who is there to help make sure that the employee and employer feel supported for the entire time that the participant chooses to stay in our program.
With most of us working from home, our job coaches have come up with creative solutions to continue serving our participants virtually. In a typical week, coaches visit participants at their place of work — now they are connecting with everyone multiple times per week via phone, FaceTime, and Zoom. We are helping our participants in job development find and take online courses that will allow them to continue career exploration from the safety of their homes. The Jobs Team has also created a weekly email blast for our participants that are working from home, sharing suggestions on how to maintain safety, health, and professional development during this time.
If you have any questions about our Jobs Program contact Zach Zoccoli, firstname.lastname@example.org.
April is National Volunteer Month!
We want to feature volunteer stories, let us know why you volunteer for Best Buddies. Email stories to NewJersey@bestbuddies.org.
Although this is such a challenging time all over the world, we are excited to use it as a way to be innovative and advance all Best Buddies Programs. The dedication that our participants have shown to continuing to create a more inclusive world is truly awe-inspiring. Please reach out with ways that we can support your students, schools, and companies!
On a final note, we encourage you to take stock of how you have felt over the past few weeks while you have been stuck at home without much in the way of social stimulation. When the world returns to some sense of normalcy when we are all able to go to work every day and catch up with friends in person please remember that for many members of the IDD community that is not the reality. The social isolation that you are feeling now is a constant for many people, but it doesn’t have to be. Now more than ever we must act to ensure we are creating a more inclusive world every day.
Stay Safe and Healthy!
Best Buddies in New Jersey