New CHAI program at the JCC
Photos: Courtesy CHAI
From left, Rabbi David Stern led the mezuzah hanging ceremony and dedication of CHAI’s new day program room with Artie Allen, CEO of the JCC; Jolie Newman, board chair of the JCC; Julie Morlend, board chair of CHAI; Lisa Brodsky, CEO of CHAI. Also pictured is Julie’s infant son, Adam Levy Morlend, great-grandson of one of CHAI’s founding leaders, Milton P. Levy z”l.

The Aaron Family Jewish Community Center (JCC) and Community Homes for Adults, Inc. (CHAI) have expanded their longstanding partnership by entering into a new collaboration. On March 1, CHAI moved into a designated space at the JCC that will now be the home base for their day program that has previously operated out of one of the agency’s group homes. CHAI residents, staff and board members gathered with JCC staff and leadership for a special mezuzah hanging ceremony, led by Rabbi David Stern of Temple Emanu-El, on the first morning of the new program.

“The JCC is so proud to have the CHAI program as a part of our agency. The mezuzah hanging celebration signifies our desire to grow for years to come as we bring the community together,” stated Artie Allen, CEO at the JCC.

Members of CHAI’s program and management staff joined participants of the Individualized Skills and Socialization program to celebrate the opening of their new space at the JCC.

“For more than 10 years we have run our day habilitation program five days a week at one of our group homes, but now the state licensing requirements have changed and these programs are moving to settings in the community,” said Lisa Brodsky, CHAI CEO. “We could not ask for a better situation than to move our program to the JCC, where our residents and staff are already longtime members. They feel so at home there and will benefit from interaction with a variety of other groups and activities taking place in the building,” she added.

“It was so heartwarming to hear from the CHAI residents, families and staff about their hopes for the new Day Hab space at the JCC. We are incredibly grateful for the partnership and for CHAI residents to be more connected to our community,” said Julie Morlend, CHAI board president.

Participants in the day habilitation program, now called Individualized Skills and Socialization, will be engaged in a curriculum of activities and outings that foster their development of daily living and social skills and increase their level of independence. The new setting at the JCC enhances the program by offering a less isolating environment where CHAI can further its mission of providing the intellectually disabled adults they serve the ability to live full, rich lives in a safe environment and to meaningfully participate in the community.

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