Ears to the Ground: ABLE Serves Individuals with Disabilities and Their Families

By Rebecca Wanatick, Manager of Community Inclusion & Program Services

Greater MetroWest ABLE envisions a Jewish community made whole by the meaningful inclusion of all its members with disabilities and their families. 

In collaboration with Federation’s Impact Assessment Department, this past year ABLE evaluated our Sibling Support Groups, both in Essex and Union Counties, to better understand the impact of this program on the community. These support groups are specifically designed for siblings of children with disabilities with the ultimate goal to improve family functioning. The siblings often feel isolated and don’t realize that others are going through similar experiences. The group is designed to help them to normalize their experiences and develop coping skills. 

As part of our program evaluation, we asked the children themselves what this program meant to them.  One child shared, “Because of participating in this group, I am more calm with my sibling.”

Another participant shared, “I know that others feel the same as me.” Our learning has helped us grow the program so that we can impact even more children – I am so proud to report that our sibling support groups in Essex County are at full capacity. You can read the full report on the Impact Dashboard to learn more about how we are supporting individuals with disabilities and their families.

In addition to learning about our Sibling Support Group, you can learn more about how Greater MetroWest ABLE creates a Jewish community made whole by the meaningful inclusion of all of its members. Now in its tenth year, Greater MetroWest ABLE is devoted to promoting the collaboration and coordination of Greater MetroWest agencies and synagogues engaging with individuals with disabilities and their families and raising awareness of resources and services for this population.   

Most recently, ABLE has worked with our community agencies, synagogues and families to gather data from across the community to develop our Ears to the Ground report about the needs of individuals with disabilities and their families. This report highlights priorities identified and suggestions for action. I encourage you to take a look and help us to raise awareness and find ways in which to create a more inclusive Jewish community for all.   

ABLE’s success is creating a more inclusive Jewish community is, in part, due to the partnerships established with families, professionals, and agencies across our community. If you are involved with an agency that supports individuals with disabilities or their families, look to ABLE as a partner to help promote your efforts, advocate on your behalf, and build your network of peer organizations. If you are an individual with a disability or have a family member with a disability, look to ABLE to learn about resources in the community, connect you with opportunities, and build a support system.

As a program of Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest NJ, ABLE is so proud to be at the forefront of creating a community made whole by the meaningful inclusion of all of its members.    

If you have any questions or are interested in learning more about the work of Greater MetroWest ABLE, contact me at (973) 929-3129 or rwanatick@jfedgmw.org