2018 iMatter National Conference – Event Photos
On September 23rd -26th, 2018, Community Options hosted its 12th Annual iMatter Conference at the Andaz Scottsdale Resort & Spa located in Scottsdale, Arizona.
Community Options believes in the dignity of every person, and in the freedom of all people to experience the highest degree of self-determination. Embracing this philosophy, Community Options provides housing, support services and advocacy assistance to help empower people with disabilities.
Community Options’ Annual
Foundations for Growth:
Learning from Others
September 23rd – 26th, 2018
Phil Lian was recently appointed Chair of the Board of Directors of Community Options Enterprises (COE). COE operates entrepreneurial businesses that actively integrate people with disabilities into the workforce.
“Phil is as brilliant as he is benevolent with his support and time,” said Robert Stack, President and CEO of Community Options. “His advice is invaluable, and his expertise and values are second to none.”
Mr. Lian brings more than 30 years of finance, insurance, and risk management expertise. For the past twelve years, he has managed his own financial services and insurance practice. Prior, he served as Senior Vice President for Marsh & McLennan Companies, Aon Risk Services and Willis Group. He currently holds insurance licenses in 10 states.
Throughout his tenure as a Board Member of COE, Mr. Lian has been instrumental in expanding critical housing and employment programs for individuals with disabilities. His leadership was a great asset in establishing two new programs in New Jersey; the Red Ribbon Academy in Hillsborough, which opened in 2016, and Vaseful in Princeton, opening later this year. The Red Ribbon Academy provides quality day services that foster growth and progress to adults with disabilities who are medically fragile. Vaseful, which currently has one location in Edison, is a full-service retail flower and gift shop. While serving local and online customers as a traditional florist, this unique business also provides employment and training for people with disabilities in an integrated setting.
An active community member and philanthropist, Mr. Lian serves as a trustee for the Wagner Free Institute of Science of Philadelphia and Xaverian High School. He also chairs the Insurance Committee and is a member of the Finance Committee for the Union League of Philadelphia.
Mr. Lian holds a B.A. degree from Fordham University with majors in Finance and Economics. He and his wife, Joan, recently received Community Options’ prestigious Betty Pendler award in recognition of their leadership and philanthropy on behalf of people with disabilities. The award is named in honor of Betty Pendler who was renowned for her tireless efforts in helping those with disabilities. Each year, the award is given to those who exemplify the mission of Community Options and demonstrate their commitment to ensuring that people with disabilities live their best lives in communities of their choosing. Past recipients of this award include Ambassador Nikki Haley, Governor Tom Kean, Elaine Katz of Kessler Foundation, Senator Joe Kyrillos, and Gail B. and Senator Robert Gordon. Phil and Joan reside in Princeton, New Jersey.
Also appointed to the Community Options Enterprises Board of Trustees are Reginald Jenkins, Jr., Esq. of Florio, Perrucci, Steinhardt & Fader, LLC; Phyllis Marchand, Princeton Mayor (1998-2009) and Lori Grifa, Esq. of Archer Law.
Opening our second shop later this year!
305 Witherspoon Street
In the summer of 2017, Tennille Thomas, Chief of Staff for the Social Services Administration within the Maryland Department of Human Services, launched an initiative to bring home all children with intellectual and developmental disabilities that were placed in out-of-state institutions and identify residential living opportunities for them. The state specifically approached Community Options and asked them to be one of the providers for the individuals. Community Options received a Sole Source and Emergency contract to open and operate two, four-bedroom children’s homes. Not long after, Community Options officially opened two homes by winter of 2018.
The two homes currently serve seven girls that cope with severe behavioral issues and/or trauma. Several were once living in out-of-state institutions where they were not prescribed medication, experienced physical restraint and electric shock. Since coming to Community Options’ nurturing environment, all seven individuals have been integrated into Montgomery County public schools. One of the first individuals to come to Community Options from this initiative was Rachel. Rachel departed the Judge Rothenberg Center in Massachusetts. There, Rachel was restrained 20 times a month, exhibited self-aggressive behaviors and was considered “too violent to live in the community”. Since coming to Community Options, however, Rachel has excelled in school and in the community.
In the near future, Community Options plans to open another home, which will serve individuals ranging from age 14 to 18. Community Options homes in Rockville provide therapeutic supports, life skills and psychiatric support. They are thoroughly staffed with direct support professionals including behavioral consultants, counselors and social workers.
Nicole “Nikki” had only worked at a workshop, and desired to do more meaningful work with her time. Nikki indicated art and dance as some of her interests, so her employment specialist at Community Options in Summerville, SC, participated in job searching at various creative studios. One local studio, Kelly’s Dance, had been interested in hiring an individual with a disability for a while, and was thrilled to be introduced to Nikki. Nikki was hired as an Assistant Dance Instructor shortly after being interviewed by the owner.
“Kelly’s Dance is exceptionally lucky to have Nikki work with our students,” said Kelly Lax, owner of Kelly’s Dance. “She is dependable and wonderfully pleasant. The students adore her. Nikki carries out all her responsibilities as an assistant dance instructor to perfection. We couldn’t be any be any more pleased.”
Nikki teaches Ballet and Tap to a class of five and six-year-olds, preparing the children for their upcoming recital. The instructor boasts that Nikki is coming out of her shell, and has “jumped right in” to teaching the kids, who love interacting with her each week.
When asked what her favorite part of the job is, Nikki simply responded that she loves teaching kids.
On August 14, 2017, the State of Utah launched Operation Rio Grande, a “collaborative plan to restore public safety and improve the environment for those seeking services in the Rio Grande District of Salt Lake City.” An element of the plan was to identify homeless individuals and/or individuals with disabilities and aid them in employment searches. This initiative, along with the recent phasing out of sheltered workshops, created a need for more community-based programs in the region. To help fill this need, Community Options recently licensed their first day program site in Utah, located in Salt Lake City, and began taking admissions in mid-April. The program is employment-driven, allowing for up to 20 individuals to gain valuable life and employment skills for six hours per day from Monday through Friday.
“Over the last year, Community Options has been able to provide residential services, supported living and employment supports,” said Shannon Wilkins, Community Options’ Associate Executive Director of Utah. “We are excited to add Host Homes to our services as well as expand our current services.”
Community Options recently opened their first home in Salt Lake City in April, their fourth home in Utah since September. Homes in Ogden and Salt Lake accommodate persons with significant development disabilities who will work and enjoy the natural beauty of Utah.
Community Options now supports 14 individuals across the four homes. The staff in Utah is also looking into opening several additional homes in Provo.
The annual iMatter Spring Golf Classic took place on May 21st at the renowned TPC Jasna Polana, where golfers enjoyed a beautiful day on a rigorous course. The event raised more than $250,000 and hosted 116 golfers and more than 140 dinner guests. Although no one took the Hole-in-One prize of a new Subaru, Lexus or Ford from Haldeman Auto Group, there was at least one golfer who came close. (Most of the shots landed in the water.) Event chair, event sponsor and Community Options Enterprises Board Chair Philip Lian led a very exciting live auction, including Belmont Stakes tickets to witness Justify win the Triple Crown. The auction generated an additional $15,000 in support of the Community Options mission.
Photos from this event can be viewed on our website at www.comop.org/2018-imatter-spring-golf-classic-event-photos/
PRINCETON, NJ (April 11, 2018) – On May 21, Community Options, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to providing housing and employment support to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, will host its annual Spring Golf Classic at TPC Jasna Polana in Princeton, NJ.
Registration begins at 10:30 a.m. with lunch served at 11 a.m. The shotgun start will kick off the golf festivities at 12:30 p.m. At the conclusion of the round, a dinner and award ceremony will be held around 5:30 p.m.
TPC Jasna Polana is a 230-acre private golf club in Mercer County. It was designed by notable PGA golfer Gary Player. TPC Jasna Polana played host to PGA TOUR Champions Instinet Classic for 3 years from 2000-2002 and also hosted a Shell’s Wonderful World of Golf match in 1999. It was originally built in the early 1970s as a country home until 1998. The pro shop has been named one of the “100 Best Golf Shops in America” by Golf World Business. It is located at 4519 Province Line Road in Princeton.
Sponsorship opportunities and golf registration feeds both start at $500. Deadline for both is May 10.
For the full schedule of events and sponsorship opportunities, visit imatter.comop.org/Golf2018 or contact Michael Marshall at 609-951-9900 ext. 174 or Michael.Marshall@comop.org.
For over 29 years, Community Options has developed housing and employment programs for people with disabilities – serving thousands of people through over 40 offices across 11 states. Community Options provides advocacy assistance to empower people with disabilities because all people – regardless of ability level – should live and work in the community with dignity, choice and self-determination.
For more information please visit our website: www.comop.org and to follow along with the ComOpCares campaign, search #ComOpCares on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
March 07, 2018 | Princeton Online
Community Options, Inc., is a national nonprofit organization incorporated in 1989 and headquartered in Princeton, NJ. Community Options’ mission is to develop housing and employment supports for persons with disabilities. Community Options believes in the dignity of every person, and in the freedom of all people to experience the highest degree of self-determination.
Please join us for our Annual Golf Event.
December 11, 2017 | Holiday Letter
Holiday Message from Robert Stack, President & CEO
September 25, 2017 | Press Release.pdf
September 25, 2017, Princeton, NJ – Community Options, Inc. will present its prestigious Betty Pendler Award to Ambassador Nikki Haley at the organization’s 11th annual iMatter Conference, which will be held in Ambassador Haley’s home state of South Carolina from September 24th to September 27th.
The award is named in honor of Betty Pendler who was renown for her tireless efforts in helping those with disabilities. Each year the award is given to those who exemplify the mission of Community Options and demonstrate their commitment to ensuring that people with disabilities live their best lives in communities of their choosing. Recent recipients of this award include Governor Tom Kean, Elaine Katz of Kessler Foundation, Senator Joe Kyrillos, and Gail B. and Senator Robert Gordon.
Ambassador Haley is being recognized for her contributions to individuals with disabilities and programs that provide homes and employment to people with disabilities throughout her career as a public servant. As governor, she signed numerous proclamations in support of the rights of disabled persons and signed the ABLE Act into law in South Carolina, allowing people with disabilities the opportunity to contribute to a tax-exempt savings account without losing necessary benefits. Community Options had the good fortune of hosting then-governor Haley at a tour of one of its homes for disabled individuals in Columbia, SC in late 2013. At the time of her visit, she said, “It was an honor to tour the Community Options’ home in Columbia. They offer quality care and provide adults with special needs the opportunity to live an independent life style. We will continue to support these kinds of services for individuals with disabilities.”
Robert Stack, president and CEO of Community Options said, “Ambassador Haley’s visit to one of our homes for people with disabilities had a tremendous impact on the public perception of people with disabilities living side by side in a neighborhood, just like anyone else. She has been relentless in her advocacy of helping people with disabilities. We are excited to honor her support with this award.”
On Tuesday, September 26, 2017, Stack, along with Community Options’ board chair, Phil Lian, of Princeton, NJ, will present the award to Ambassador Haley. It will be accepted on her behalf by her former chief of staff, Swati Patel, at the Community Options iMatter Conference on Supported Employment held at the Francis Marion Hotel in downtown Charleston.
For 28 years, Community Options has developed housing and employment programs for people with disabilities – serving thousands of people through more than 40 offices across 11 states. Community Options provides advocacy assistance to empower people with disabilities because all people – regardless of ability level – should live and work in the community with dignity, choice and self-determination. For more information please visit our website: www.comop.org and to follow along with the ComOpCares campaign, search #ComOpCares on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
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