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Choices 2012 Spring

Choices Spring 2012

Community Options began with the belief that all persons, regardless of their level of disability, can and should live and work in their community with dignity, choice, and self-determination. Twenty three years later, we are a seventy five million dollar organization that continues to be true to our mission of developing housing and employment opportunities for people with disabilities.

Direct Support Recognition Week! Ayesha Patrick, Executive Director, Somerset Coounty honors Michelle Seward.

Direct Support Recognition Week! Ayesha Patrick, Executive Director, Somerset Coounty honors Michelle Seward.

Joe Lemonie Daily Plan It employee was one of the 775 attendees at our holiday party held at the Hilton. Special thanks to Stacy Rasko, Event Manager, for accommodating us.

Joe Lemonie Daily Plan It employee was one of the 775 attendees at our holiday party held at the Hilton. Special thanks to Stacy Rasko, Event Manager, for accommodating us.

Dr. Allison Blake, Commissioner, Department of Children and Families "I am pleased to be able to tour the Community Options’ group homes and see firsthand how the house parent model is helping to positively transform the lives of our children every day.”

Dr. Allison Blake, Commissioner, Department of Children and Families “I am pleased to be able to tour the Community Options’ group homes and see firsthand how the house parent model is helping to positively transform the lives of our children every day.”

Community Options rings the opening bell at the NYSE

Community Options rings the opening bell at the NYSE

Longtime supporter holds awareness event

Mendham, New Jersey

Beth Hegberg and Alex Leibold.

Beth Hegberg and Alex Leibold.

Longtime board member, Peter Dulligan, Chef-Owner of Griffin’s Bar and Grill prepares hors d’oeuvres at the home of Scott and Alex Leibold.

Longtime board member, Peter Dulligan, Chef-Owner of Griffin’s Bar and Grill prepares hors d’oeuvres at the home of Scott and Alex Leibold.

With only a short period of time to plan, longtime supporter and member of the Community Options Board of Overseers, Beth Hegberg, gathered a committee of friends and neighbors to execute an event to raise awareness about the work of Community Options. Over 75 guests not familiar with our organization were in attendance. Hors d’oeuvres were prepared by Peter Dulligan, chef and owner of Griffin’s Bar and Grill. Peter, who serves as a trustee on the Community Options Board of Directors, donated his time and the cost of the food he prepared. Robert Stack provided a brief informal introduction to the organization and answered questions throughout the evening. The event raised over $4,000 but more importantly, we are grateful to Beth for inviting so many new people to learn about our work and the support people with disabilities need in the state of New Jersey.

Run your Heart Out!
Message from the President

The purpose of the Cupid’s Chase 5K is to raise awareness about the vast potential of people with disabilities such as autism, cerebral palsy, down syndrome, and traumatic brain injury; potentials that in many instances were historically overlooked and marginalized by the general public.

This year’s Cupid’s Chase National Chair was Geraldo Rivera.

In 1972, Geraldo Rivera, an ABC News reporter at the time, visited the Willowbrook State School on Staten Island in New York, the same facility visited by Robert Kennedy in 1965.The program, Willowbrook: The Last Great Disgrace, was seen by millions of viewers. Mr. Rivera was nationally recognized for his heroic expose of the horrific neglect televised relative to the now closed Willowbrook State School for the Retarded. Historic black and white footage of men and women naked, lying in their own feces, unattended, is an image I will never forget.

It was one of the principal reasons that I decided to devote my life to moving people into more humane settings in which they could receive appropriate care; settings in which people with disabilities would be taught, like any other American, how to find and keep a job; live like any other American in the community and thrive as a human being full of unexplored potentials to be attained throughout the remainder of their lives.

It has been well over 30 years since Mr. Rivera brought this problem into the living room of every American. It has been even longer since Bobby Kennedy came out of that institution and described it as a “snake pit.”

Government officials were embarrassed and ashamed. Over the last 30 years, they pumped trillions of dollars into these large institutions. This was not the answer.

The solution to solving the problems of the abuse and neglect at these large costly institutions is to close them and provide the men and women who are the residents with their basic rights to live in the community. This can be achieved by opening small homes throughout the country and employing the staff who currently care for them at these institutions.

I am proud to write that over the course of the last three decades, many institutions have been closed, however there are currently over 35,000 people warehoused in large institutions. The largest number of people living in institutions are in New Jersey, New York, Texas and Pennsylvania. There are also people still admitted to these costly facilities every year.

Parents with adult children with disabilities need small, community-based affordable programs to help them care for their family members to avoid these costly institutions.

The Community Options’ Cupid’s Chase is one real way to make a difference. All races start with the first step. Each race not only has a registration table for the race, but also a place to make a contribution, sign up for volunteering opportunities and even job applications are available for open positions at Community Options.

In closing, I would like to personally thank all of our volunteers, sponsors and runners who made this years Cupid’s Chase the most successful event to date. Your partnership and generous donations will allow us to continue developing housing and employment services for those who are in need of our assistance through the country.

Next year we will hold our runs in over 29 cities on February 9, 2013!

Please visit our website for further information and help us help others. You can make a difference. You don’t have to run. You can cheer. You can be part of a race to support people with disabilities to live like every other American.

Warmest Regards,
Robert Stack
President and CEO
www.comop.org

Thank You to all of our Cupids Chase 5k Chairs!

Senator Joe Kyrillos shooting the gun to start the run in Princeton!

Senator Joe Kyrillos shooting the gun to start the run in Princeton!

Robert Stack with South Carolina Governor, Nikki Haley

Robert Stack with South Carolina Governor, Nikki Haley

Mary Pat Christie, First Lady of New Jersey

Mary Pat Christie, First Lady of New Jersey

Governor Susanna Martinez of New Mexico with Robert Stack. Thank you Chuck Franco, First Gentleman of the State of New Mexico.

Governor Susanna Martinez of New Mexico with Robert Stack. Thank you Chuck Franco, First Gentleman of the State of New Mexico.

Anita Perry, Texas First Lady

Anita Perry, Texas First Lady

Annual Spring Event

Get Involved

As Community Options continues its efforts to empower people with disabilities to make their own choices and experience the highest degree of independence, we turn to you, our friends, to help support this much needed cause. We are now kicking off our annual Spring Event, which will be held on May 18, 2012 at Jasna Polana, in Princeton, New Jersey and invite you to participate.

Far too many people with disabilities languish in our country’s developmental institutions and many more sit on waiting lists in need of services. Utilizing technology and professional training, Community Options helps these individuals move out of these centers, engage in productive work, and participate in their communities.

The funds raised will be applied to staff training and geographic expansion, thus allowing Community Options to serve a greater number of people. Your sponsorship will allow us to continue developing housing and employment services for those who are in need of our assistance.

The money raised is vital to the future of many individuals who desperately await our services. We sincerely hope we can count on your support to make this year’s event a success. By making a tax deductible donation to our Spring Event, you will be directly supporting our goal of promoting inclusion and assisting people with disabilities in leading their own autonomous lives in their communities. Additionally, you will be recognized for your generosity through our website, upcoming newsletter and at the event itself.

Please consider placing a sponsorship ad in our ad journal at the level you feel comfortable, or a monetary donation in any amount you are able to provide. Any size donation will go a long way in assisting our efforts.

For additional information, please contact Kathryn Sampson at (609) 419.4407 x 226.

Thank you for your kind consideration of this request and we look forward to working with you towards our common goal.

We hope to see you at our Spring Event on May 18, 2012.
www.comop.org/springevent
http://www.pepperlaw.com/

Delia C. Donahue Spring Event Chairperson

Delia C. Donahue Spring Event Chairperson

Delia C. Donahue is an associate in the Princeton office of Pepper Hamilton LLP. Ms. Donahue focuses her practice on finance and other commercial transactions. She regularly represents borrowers and lenders in commercial lending transactions, restructurings and workouts.

Ms. Donahue serves on the board of directors of Community Options, Inc.

Thank you Magyar Bank

John S. Fitzgerald, President and CEO Magyar Bank, Frank Lankey, Community Relations Specialist Magyar Bank, Victoria Gorman, Vice President and New Brunswick Branch Manager, Robert Stack, President and CEO of Community Options and Jay E. Castillo, President, MagyarBank Charitable Foundation.

John S. Fitzgerald, President and CEO Magyar Bank, Frank Lankey, Community Relations Specialist Magyar Bank, Victoria Gorman, Vice President and New Brunswick Branch Manager, Robert Stack, President and CEO of Community Options and Jay E. Castillo, President, MagyarBank Charitable Foundation.

Mercer County staff take a moment to pose for a photo with their State of New Jersey License certificates.

Picture from left to right: Tiffany Thomas, Khadijah Brown, Khalilah Smith, Kelly Houston, Talaya Peterson Front row: Cheryl Harris and Sam Nussbaum, Executive Director.

Picture from left to right: Tiffany Thomas, Khadijah Brown, Khalilah Smith, Kelly Houston, Talaya Peterson Front row: Cheryl Harris and Sam Nussbaum, Executive Director.

Community Options Thanks Scott and Alex Leibold for your generosity and for hosting the Awareness Party at your lovely home.

Beth Hegberg holds awareness eventBeth Hegberg holds awareness event

Robert Stack speaks to the Guests at the Mendham Home of Scott and Alex Liebold

Robert Stack speaks to the Guests at the Mendham Home of Scott and Alex Liebold

Thank you Christy Leibold, daughter of Scott and Alex Leibold.

Thank you Christy Leibold, daughter of Scott and Alex Leibold.

Thank you to the Committee

  • Beth Hegberg
    Chairperson
  • Ginny Gilman
  • Carol Heller
  • Alex Leibold
  • Judy McAndrew
  • Kathryn Oram
  • Ann Terwilliger
  • MaryAnn Tralka
  • Katherine Ungar