Choices 2009 Summer
CHOICES Summer 2009
Community Options, Inc.
Supporting People with Disabilities since 1989.
Our Mission is to provide housing and employment supports for individuals with disabilities. www.comop.org
Community Options, Inc. is the recipient of 12 donated MINI Electric vehicles to utilize throughout New Jersey as part of a Field Trial for MINI of Morristown. Community Options will utilize the vehicles throughout their entrepreneurial business and group homes. The organization became more ecologically responsible back in 2007 when it started the process to go paperless throughout their operations in addition to utilizing green cleaning products in all of their group homes and businesses.
“We are thrilled to receive this donation of 12 MINI Electric vehicles to utilize in a year long field trial,” says Stack. “MINI of Morristown has made a great decision in choosing our operation to operate these electric cars as we have the workforce that can put these vehicles to the test and it also demonstrates our organization’s commitment to sustaining the environment,” Stack added.
Warehousing of People with Disabilities is a Moral Offense
Community Options held its annual iMatter Conference on May 13th-15th, 2009. Topics included entrepreneurial business development, accessible housing, unique program development as well as employee hiring and retention. Community Options, Inc. was honored to facilitate this nationwide symposium to promote educational and workforce development opportunities for people with developmental disabilities. The keynote address was delivered by Assemblyman Greenwald (D-Camden). Not only was his speech inspirational, it motivated everyone in the room. Participants from across the country were in awe of his dedication to supporting people with disabilities in community settings. “Warehousing people with disabilities is a moral offense,” said Greenwald.
“We need to bring the way we care for the developmentally disabled into the 21st century,” said Greenwald. “By investing in community-based programs rather than traditional institutionalized models, we can both save taxpayer’s money and provider higher-quality care.” Greenwald goes on to say, “The important work being done by Community Options furthers our shared goal of creating more choices and better care for people with developmental disabilities and their families.”
Leadership in New York
Community Options, Inc. of New York State is pleased to announce the appointment of Lindsay Aqulina to the NYS Board of Directors. Lindsay hails from Buffalo, New York and attended undergraduate college at Trinity College in Hartford,Connecticut where she earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Economics in 2004.
Lindsay moved to New York City after graduation and is now employed at Bessemer Trust as an Assistant Vice President in the Client Account Management group She is currently attending New York University for her MBA and will graduate in May of 2010. At heart Lindsay is an entrepreneur. In 2004, she assisted a close friend in starting his own foundation that supports the advanced treatment for people with Traumatic Brain Injuries.
“As soon as I met Lindsay I knew she would be a great addition to our Board of Directors,” says, Brooke Reynolds, Executive Director of the New York City operation. “Hearing how passionate she was about helping others and her stories with how she helped her friend with Traumatic Brain Injury to gain independence, made me see this was someone who could really make a difference,” added Reynolds.
Lindsay will prove to serve as a valuable asset to the New York State operation and has dedicated herself to championing our cause and the people and families that we support throughout the state of New York.
Community Options Celebrates Twenty Years of Service
New Jersey Labor Commissioner David J. Socolow delivered the keynote address at our 20th Year Anniversary Gala held at the Historic Governor’s Mansion in Princeton, New Jersey.
“The New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development has the privilege of helping individuals with disabilities achieve equal opportunity to enter today’s workforce,” said New Jersey Labor Commissioner David J. Socolow. “Economic independence is achievable through participation in the workforce and is made possible by the public-private partnerships we have made with cutting-edge service agencies like Community Options, Inc.” “We’ve seen great progress for workers with disabilities in the 90 years of the public Vocational Rehabilitation program”, said New Jersey Labor Commissioner David J. Socolow. “We are now on the leading edge of self employment and entrepreneurial ventures thanks to our public-private partnership with agencies like Community Options, Inc.”
Presents of Mind Celebrates One-Year Anniversary
Presents of Mind, a Community Options Enterprise, employs adults with disabilities as retail associates in the store. These associates are given the opportunity to work with cross-trained employment specialists who have experience in both retail and job training. All of the functions of a typical business are incorporated into the training program at Presents of Mind, including sales, inventory, maintenance, and design.
Further, Presents of Mind was recently granted a lifetime gold membership by the web-hosting company Volusion, to host their ECommerce website presentsofmind.org. Other sites hosted by this award-winning company have included Disney, the Obama campaign, and the Chicago Tribune. With this sophisticated ECommerce site further training opportunities now include processing and shipping of orders received through the website.
The Presents of Mind sales associates are then able take what they learn, and work with Community Options Enterprises to secure jobs in the retail and service industries. What makes this a significant milestone for this local gift shop is the fact that in addition to selling unique gifts, they also provide a valuable service to the community.
For more information please call 973-927-8500 or to shop online visit www.presentsofmind.org, or stop in the Mall at 206, on Rt. 206 South in Mount Olive, NJ.
Nashville Exec Honored
Community Options, Inc. of Nashville is celebrating their Executive Director, Hollie Campbell, who recently won the Nashville Business Journal’s 2009, Forty under 40 Award.
For 10 years, Hollie has been advocating on the behalf of persons with disabilities to ensure their voices are heard and that their lives are enriched by positive community relationships. Hollie has been instrumental in departing people with disabilities who have lived in segregated state institutions for a majority of their lives. She has worked with numerous people to depart the Clover Bottom Developmental Center and has developed community-based supportive living and dynamic employment supports for people with developmental disabilities. The Board of Director’s of Community Options, Inc. also awarded Hollie with the Leadership Award in 2007 due to her many accomplishments.
“The honor in our work is when a person with a disability moves into a new home that you have developed, when a new employment opportunity is offered, or a new meaningful relationship is started as a result of the work and the connections that you have made on behalf of that particular person, “ says, Hollie. “Hollie labors in silence and the fruits of that labor can be seen on the faces of the people that she is supporting everyday. Hollie is a dedicated leader and her enthusiasm is contagious, “says, Karen Hensley, Regional Vice President of Community Options of Tennessee.
San Antonio COBAC
Community Options Business Advisory Council
Community Options recruits local business leaders to advise our professional supported employment staff, forming the Community Options Business Advisory Councils (COBAC). COBACs also advise Community Options executive directors on local economic trends, establish and maintain corporate and civic connections, and raise funds for local programs. Council members provide expertise in identifying vendors, analyzing local labor markets, locating job opportunities, and developing business plans for micro-enterprises.
To get involved, please call our national office or visit us on the web to find an office in your area.