JRS newsletter addresses issues of special needs community

JRS newsletter addresses issues of special needs community

Jewish Pittsburghers with special needs can now access information about community services through Connections, a collaborative e-newsletter sponsored by several local organizations.

The newsletter was born of the need to establish a clearinghouse for information regarding the special needs programs provided by the various organizations.

“We realized there are a lot of resources in the community, but there was no central place for people to go and find out what’s going on,” said Deborah Friedman, executive director of Jewish Residential Services and editor of the newsletter.

The newsletter is sent by e-mail to interested individuals, and can also be accessed via a link on the JRS website. People are also encouraged to print out copies of the newsletter for wider distribution.

While the partner organizations originally thought of producing a collaborative calendar listing upcoming events for those with special needs, “we expanded our vision,” Friedman said. “We decided to include resources in the broader community, as well as articles about people’s experiences. And we will continue to expand.”

Jewish Residential Services, Jewish Family & Children’s Service, the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh, The Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh, The Friendship Circle, and the Agency for Jewish Learning have cooperated in an effort to produce the quarterly newsletter to keep those with disabilities and their families informed of upcoming events, and to provide articles on topics of interest authored by community professionals.

So far, two issues of Connections have been circulated to an e-mail list of people with disabilities and people with family members who have disabilities.

“We’re all working on this together,” said Joshua Donner, associate director of planning and funding for the Federation. “We want to make sure that people with special needs and their families in Jewish Pittsburgh feel included in the greater Pittsburgh community. And we want to make sure Connections is a voice and a forum for the community, not just a list of programs targeted at the community.”

Want to read it?

Anyone wishing to receive the newsletter should contact JRS at (412) 325-0039 or at llewis@jrspgh.org. Vist the Connections website, jewishpittsburghinclusion.org to view the content.

(Toby Tabachnick can be reached at tobyt@thejewishchronicle.net.)

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