Disability Allies Partners

 

Easter Seals New Jersey

In November 2016, we developed a partnership with Easter Seals New Jersey and ran a four day pilot program at their sheltered workshop in New Brunswick for their consumers. The program paired up consumers from the Easter Seals Day Program with college students from Rutgers University, who socialized with and engaged them in a variety of organized activities. Most of the consumers at Easter Seals were higher functioning, so the activities involved tasks centered around team work and communication. We developed a Disability Allies student-run chapter at Rutgers University. The chapter was tasked with finding mentors to take part in the program. In total we had over 50 mentors who expressed interest in the program. All the mentors were interviewed and we selected the best candidates. We then conducted an orientation at Rutgers University on how to interact with individuals with disabilities. We had 35 mentors and 30 consumers who took part in the program. We will be continuing the program throughout 2017.

CLICK HERE to view some pictures from our pilot program:

 

The ARC of Mercer County

When we approached the ARC of Mercer we found that they already have an extensive calendar of events. Instead of creating our own separate program we decided to enhance the events that they already have with mentors from local colleges. We will be developing two student-run Disability Allies chapters at Rider University and The College Of New Jersey to provide them with mentors for their events. We will be recruiting, training, and scheduling mentors to attend all of the ones they have.

 

Everas Community Services

Everas Community Services has always been interested in bringing their consumers out into the community. Additionally, many of their consumers are non verbal and lower functioning. We decided to center our program more around community outings and activities that they can excel at. Some of the activities we have planned involve bowling, mini golf, trips to the zoo, picnics, and other activities in the community. We have decided to pair up the students from our Rutgers University student-run chapter with the consumers from Everas Day Program in Somerset.


Institute for Behavioral Health

When we meet with the Institute for Behavioral Health, we decided to take a much more cautious and gradual approach to our program. Since the consumers at their day program have severe behavioral issues we plan on limiting the amount of mentors to only five. We plan on having the mentors observe the consumers and only make a brief introduction on the first day of the program. We wanted to make the introduction of the mentors a gradual process, so that it does not disrupt their daily routines. On the second day of the program we plan on having some organized activities that involve simple tasks and limited interaction, considering that many of the consumers are non verbal and lower functioning. We plan on pairing up students from Fairleigh Dickinson University and Union County College with the consumers at their day program in Maplewood. We have not yet received final approval to organize a program at the Institute for Behavioral Health.