created at: 2013-12-06The CHAI Celebration on November 7 raised funds for JF&CS programs for people with disabilities and mental illness. The evening was also an opportunity to share the positive effect JF&CS has on individuals who receive our services.

After completing a post-graduation program at Randolph High School at the age of 22, Marie, who has Down’s syndrome, came to JF&CS. She joined the CHAI Works program and immediately started volunteering for various community efforts. Soon, through a collaboration between CHAI Works and Gateways: Access to Jewish Education, a nonprofit agency that provides Jewish education to children with special needs, Marie became a paid Gateways staff member, working as an administrative aide during the week and as a teacher’s aide on Sundays.

In 2010, at the age of 24, Marie took a very big step towards independence by moving out of her parents’ house into the JF&CS Yellow House in Norwood. As one of four daughters and the only one still living at home, Marie missed her siblings and the busy weekends and evenings the girls had shared. No one had planned for Marie to move out so soon and Marie’s parents were initially nervous about Marie living outside of their home. But Marie was already familiar with many JF&CS staff members and was ready to thrive.

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