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Video: The Daily Plan It in Morristown teaches job skills to the developmentally disabled Article .pdf

Video: The Daily Plan It in Morristown teaches job skills to the developmentally disabled

The Daily Plan It in Morristown helps developmentally disabled adults gain their independence by teaching them job skills, easing their transitions into the workforce.

Oct 14, 2013 MORRISTOWN — In many ways, Ben Pedersen and Jeffery Douma are just like anyone else.

Pedersen loves hockey, specifically the Devils, and hanging out with friends. Douma’s a bit quieter, but he enjoys canoeing with his father.

And they’re similar to many students at The Daily Plan It, which teaches job skills to developmentally challenged adults.

Run by nonprofit Community Options, its staff prepares people like Pedersen and Douma for the workforce.

“Every individual that comes here, we try to help them become more independent,” said Edwin Zapata, assistant manager. “That’s the purpose of the program.”

The Daily Plan It started in Morristown around 1999. It also has offices in Princeton and Moorestown.

The organization offers businesses small offices with conference space and low-cost services, such as receptionist work, maintenance duties, filing and copying. The services are then performed by students, who are guided by staff.

On Wednesday, students sat at round tables and learned from Senior Staff Amparao Gonzalez how to package and address envelopes. Meanwhile, Pedersen was taught how to wash windows and Douma went to a local mall to improve his social skills.

Each student gets a detailed plan when he joins The Daily Plan It, which gets its students from the state Division of Developmental Disabilities. Their families don’t pay to send them to the organization, which also provides transportation to the Speedwell location and back home.

In September, Assemblyman Anthony M. Bucco visited The Daily Plan It.

“They provide valuable services to the business community, while training and employing people with disabilities in an integrated community setting,” Bucco said. “All the while empowering these men and women with disabilities to benefit from and contribute to society. I think this is a wonderful win-win situation for all the individuals and businesses that are involved.”