Programs Employer Services Success Stories About JEVS Support JEVS

Independence Network Members Benefit from Assistive Technology

Photo courtesy of PATF Partnership

Members of the JEVS Philadelphia Independence Network (PIN) often use technology to support their independence. Over the last year, JEVS Human Services has invested in developing Assistive Technology (AT) services with the help of community partners such as Pennsylvania Assistive Technology Foundation and the internal expertise of Madeline Laquer, a certified Assistive Technology Professional (ATP).

Philadelphia Independence Network members Chrissy and David use their Echo Show to find new healthy recipes and cook more meals at home. Photo courtesy of PATF Partnership

Madeline begins by performing AT assessments. She found that some members could benefit from the use of smart home technology like Amazon Echo devices. “They’re great because they are commercially available and low cost. One member is using her Echo device to develop a morning and nighttime routine to improve her health and wellness.”

“It has changed my life,” said Philadelphia Independence Network member Chrissy A. “The Echo device reminds me to leave for work on time.  Now I am trying new recipes for dinner. The Echo Show makes it easy to look up new recipes.”

Fellow PIN member David M. agrees: “I think it has changed my life because it is helping me to stay organized. The device reminds me of things like what time to take the train to work and what time to leave for work. I think the Echo devices are amazing and cool. I wish I had it years ago.”

Philadelphia Independence Network member Josh S. uses his Echo mostly for emergency calls in case he doesn’t have his phone and has a medical emergency. And since Echo Show has a camera that can be covered with a slide, his parents or staff members can drop in on him via video.

Philadelphia Independence Network member Josh S. uses his Echo for emergency calls. He is also looking into other forms of Assistive Technology to help him at work.

“I think the Echo devices are fun and helpful,” said Josh.  “It’s going to change my life by making things easier and helping me to remember things. The devices help me to be more independent.”

The newly established AT work and access to try out devices to support independence is enhanced through a state program run by Temple University called TechOWL. It functions as a free AT lending library where it is possible to borrow equipment for short term use.

“TechOWL is very helpful,” said Laquer. “We are starting to build our own library within JEVS. Right now we have some Echo devices, some switches, and a Tile for losing keys – yes, that’s assistive technology!  We are also hoping to get a 3D printer to make simple devices like prescription pill bottle openers, zipper pulls, key holders — the possibilities are endless.”

Assistive Technology Services allow individuals to work around their challenges and perform functions that might otherwise be difficult or impossible. Along with specific devices, software or equipment, Assistive Technology (AT) also includes direct training and instruction to the user and supporters. AT often means increased independence, safety, and autonomy.

For more information please contact us at 267-350-8611 or email AT@jevs.org.

 

JEVS Independence Network Gets a New Clubhouse

By Zack P., NJ Independence Network Member

I am excited to announce that we will have a new clubhouse in NJ by early 2022! A lot of work has gone into cleaning out the old building, removing floor tiles, and making plans for the new space. Many of my family members helped. My Mom owns the building, and my whole family cares about the Independence Network and wanted to help us grow.

In May of 2021, every member of the JEVS Independence Network signed the wall in the clubhouse before construction began. We did this so that we could all put our individual mark on the evolution of the program. This was the first time we all got together in person since the pandemic began in March of 2020. It felt like a reunion!

It will be exciting to have a place to hang out, meet up and do events together. The clubhouse is located right on Haddon Ave. – the main strip of Collingswood. The building will help sell artwork and other community members might be able to sell things, too. We will have celebrations, cooking nights, movie nights, video game nights – the list goes on!

I am looking forward to help manage the building and share a place with my friends where they can get their own projects going. The new clubhouse will help bring us together and be an opportunity to even get closer as a JEVS family. This has been a long time coming and I can’t thank everyone enough who has helped with the production of the NEW JEVS CLUBHOUSE!

 

Celebrating Our Staff

By Lois F., PIN Parent

For over a decade, the Philadelphia Independence Network (PIN) has been supporting young adults with disabilities as they learn to live independently.  The success of the program is due to several factors:

  1. The affiliation with JEVS Human Services;
  2. The collaboration among JEVS, PIN members and families;
  3. The safe, welcoming and convenient locations of the programs;
  4. The diversity within the PIN community.

A fifth component, while crucial for PIN’s achievements, is probably the least discussed and recognized.  The passionately dedicated and compassionately effective staff deserves much of the credit for all PIN has accomplished.

PIN has grown dramatically in many ways since Jill Gromen became its Director.  When Jill arrived in Narberth, there were 14 members, one full-time staff member, one part-time, and, briefly, a career navigator. Six years later, there are two Independence Network locations serving approximately 60 people, and a staff of 14, including an Associate Director and a Career Navigator for each site, Mentor Associates and Community Support Counselors in both the Narberth and Collingswood locations.  The program options are varied, creative, and plentiful, as are the social activities, even during this time of pandemic restrictions on in-person gatherings.  Jill deserves credit for much of this expansion, thanks to her experience, engagement, and commitment to hire the best candidates for staff positions.

Jill’s experience began as an undergraduate, where she had a direct support role in group homes.  After graduate school, she worked as a case manager for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.  This was in the 1990s, when person centered planning was a new concept, and she participated in a Philadelphia citywide pilot project. After that, she joined JEVS to oversee training, and program development in the Community Living and Home Supports division. After leaving JEVS, she provided training and technical assistance to service providers in her role with Networks for Training & Development, a regional consultation organization.

Luckily for PIN, she missed her role in direct support, and didn’t want to work in a traditional program.  She wanted the opportunity to use what she had learned in her career, and liked PIN’s emphasis on family involvement, and that this would be a collaborative effort.

Jill feels that the most meaningful part of her job is relationships.  “We’re navigating different relationships; everyone has a voice.  It’s challenging, and the right thing to do. We support members to achieve their goals and grow in their independence.  It’s a privilege to walk through life’s journey with members and their families, through good times and really not good times.”

As the Independence Networks has expanded to two programs, in two states, the role of Associate Director has taken on additional importance and responsibilities.  Meghan McHugh, Associate Director of the Independence Network in Collingswood, started as a Mentor for PIN in Narberth in 2014, and has been a part of the program longer than anyone else on staff.  Meghan came to PIN shortly after graduating college with a degree in elementary special education.  She spent one year as a substitute teacher, and then worked, one-on-one, at a camp for people with autism.  She enjoyed being out in the community with the camper she was working with, and realized that classroom teaching would not afford her the same opportunity for interaction and flexibility.  When Jill came to PIN, Meghan was the only full-time staff person. The members’ trust and affection for Meghan, both well earned, helped PIN during this transition period.

Meghan became the Associate Director of PIN when the NJ program started and Jill had overall responsibility for both locations.  PIN members were saddened when she was named Associate Director in NJ, but joint activities, both in person and virtual, keep her in touch with members of both programs.  Plus, her commute is much shorter and easier.

Working directly with members is Meghan’s favorite part of her job.  She enjoys seeing the changes that allow them to lead full, meaningful lives, and shares the fun in many activities.  She also finds the program is a creative outlet for staff, who worked on their own professional development plans last year.

Marc Tannebaum joined PIN as a Mentor Associate four years ago.  It was a time of rapid growth for PIN, and Marc’s responsibilities grew as well.  When he started, Jill, Meghan and the career navigator were the staff.  Not long after, it was just Meghan and Marc at PIN while Jill was getting the NJ program started.  Marc says he had to learn by doing, and got to know the members well in his first six months.  By the time Meghan left for Collingswood, Marc was ready for his new role as Associate Director of PIN.

When Marc came to PIN, he had been managing restaurants to pay the bills and coaching high school basketball.  He studied elementary education in college, and knew he wanted a career where he could work with directly with people.  His mother was a social worker and he grew up with an understanding of the complexities of peoples’ lives.  He says that the relationships with members, family, and staff – people with all different backgrounds – feels natural.

Marc likes looking back to where members started, and seeing the progress in their lives.  He says he is “doing a job where I can make a difference, is never dull, and has lots of challenges.”  He also appreciates that he, and the rest of the staff, are given the freedom to be creative and grow.

The twelve Mentor Associates, Career Navigators and Community Support Counselors in Narberth and Collingswood present a broad range of backgrounds, experience, and talent. Staff are educated in psychology, education, social work, electronic media & film, medical assistant, anthropology, accounting, and deaf studies.  Their prior work experience includes business, management, direct support, behavioral health, and more.  There are staff members currently completing undergraduate degrees, and others working towards graduate degrees. Some joined the staff with little work experience, others with up to 30 years.  This diverse staff gives the members the opportunity to interact with people of different race, age, gender and gender identity, experience, and education. Members learn to work with a variety of people, all of whom are deeply committed to their jobs.

Jill asked staff members “What is most meaningful/important to you about your current role in the Independence Network”?  These samples from their responses demonstrates why they have such a positive impact on the members lives:

“It is so fulfilling to watch meaningful change happen, but to also know that these changes will assist in the member leading a meaningful life for the rest of their lives.”

– Stephanie, PIN

“I couldn’t ask for a group of more talented, funny, or compassionate people to find community with.”

– Alex, PIN

“The most meaningful part of my role…is helping members achieve their full potential in different aspects of their life.”

– Ny’Asia, Collingswood

“To me, one of the most important and fulfilling aspects of this position is being able to help people learn new things and get over hurdles.”

– Shania, Collingswood

“Being able to be with them through their process of learning how to become independent is rewarding.”

– Vy Le, Collingswood

“I enjoy being there for them, that they feel I am someone they can trust and confide in.”

– Samantha, Collingswood

 

What is most important to me is to be effective and to be able to help members in their journey.”

–Kim, Collingswood

 

“It’s been great to see so many of our members flourish over the past few years and do things they may not have thought possible!”

– Natalie, Collingswood

“Feeling that my contribution will result in members reaching their life, health, and personal goals.”

– Charlene, Collingswood

“Supporting them throughout the whole process of getting hired, to thriving at their job and feeling good about themselves; being valued at their place of work is an incredible feeling.”

– David, Collingswood

I am humbled every day to watch these amazing young adults learn and achieve independent living skills.”

– Missy, Collingswood

Thanks to the commitment, competence, and kindness exemplified by the entire PIN and Collingswood Independence Network staff, over 60 young adults are able to develop job skills, social lives, and the capacity to live independently.  The members’ families have the reassurance of knowing they have entrusted their adult children to a dedicated and caring group.  As PIN completes its 10th year, there is much to celebrate.

Project WOW Now Recruiting!

Did you or someone you know drop out of high school and now want to get life back on track? JEVS Project WOW (World of Work) offers FREE skills training, and high school diploma for Philadelphia youth ages 18–24.

Students will receive hands-on training in the high-demand career field of building trades.  At the end of the program, our employment specialists will help you to find a job and begin your new career. Take the next step toward a promising future!

LEARN MORE & ENROLL TODAY!

NEW! Project WOW has recently been retooled this year. Specific improvements to the program include updated curriculum and text books, post-secondary counseling and enrollment assistance, and the addition of digital literacy instruction. A new classroom has been added with computers and individualized workstations. The program has also hired new instructors as well as a Youth Job Developer and Career Pathways Manager.

As covered recently in a Northeast Times newspaper feature story, the program also helps students with whatever needs they have. “Anything I needed help with I could just ask for and get help,” said one student.

Project WOW is now recruiting for its next cohort, which will start in January 2022. If you or someone you know is interested, find out more or contact Project WOW today!

CLASSES START JANUARY 2022 – ENROLL NOW!

Congrats to JEVS Employees Celebrating Milestones in 2021!

It’s Employee Recognition Week!

Each year, JEVS Human Services honors employees for milestone anniversaries at our annual Employee Recognition Event.  This year we are unable to hold this event in person, but we would still like to recognize and celebrate the amazing employees who have spent an incredible 20, 25, 30 and 35 years with us!

The employee tributes are broken down alphabetically by last name on a series of web pages which you can view using the links below.

JEVS 2021 Employee Recognition
A – C  |  D – K  | L – O  |  P – S  |  T – Z


JEVS 2021 Employee Recognition: T – Z

Michael Tanner, Work Ready – 20 Years

Congratulate Michael


Clara Thompson, Community Living & Home Supports – 30 Years

Congratulate Clara


Vivian Torres, Work Ready – 20 Years

Congratulate Vivian


Dellanora Toumuene, Community Living & Home Supports – 30 Years

Congratulate Dellanora


Peggy Truitt, Career Strategies – 25 Years

Congratulate Peggy


Janice Tyree, Community Living & Home Supports – 30 Years

Congratulate Janice


Iris Vazquez, Work Ready – 20 Years

“Iris, congratulations on your 20 years of service in JEVS Human Services. This is an amazing accomplishment. Thank you for all your contributions to our team. I am grateful to have you on my team. With that being said, I am looking forward to another 20 years working with you.” – Jian Lin

Congratulate Iris


Kathy Wagner, Information Technology Dept – 30 Years

Congratulate Kathy


Robin Weaver-Olabode, Community Living & Home Supports – 30 Years

Congratulate Robin


JEVS 2021 Employee Recognition
A – C  |  D – K  | L – O  |  P – S  |  T – Z

 

Congrats to JEVS Employees Celebrating Milestones in 2021!

It’s Employee Recognition Week!

Each year, JEVS Human Services honors employees for milestone anniversaries at our annual Employee Recognition Event.  This year we are unable to hold this event in person, but we would still like to recognize and celebrate the amazing employees who have spent an incredible 20, 25, 30 and 35 years with us!

The employee tributes are broken down alphabetically by last name on a series of web pages which you can view using the links below.

JEVS 2021 Employee Recognition
A – C  |  D – K  | L – O  |  P – S  |  T – Z


JEVS 2021 Employee Recognition: P – S

Gina Parmley, Community Living & Home Supports – 20 Years

I have to say, words are not enough to describe Gina’s drive and commitment to JEVS and the Life Sharing department. When I first started at JEVS nearly 9 years ago she took me under her wing and her training was invaluable. Later I went on to be promoted to Associate  Director and to this day she is still my right hand in the department. I owe Gina many thanks.  Gina I wish you many more years at JEVS! God bless & thank you! – Lorre Jackson

Congratulate Gina


Melissa Parsons, Orleans Technical College – 20 Years

Congratulate Melissa


Paula Pinkett, Community Living & Home Supports – 30 Years

Congratulate Paula


Francine Piper, Work Ready – 20 Years

Congratulate Francine


Jeanette Rattle, Communications & Public Affairs Dept – 20 Years

Congratulate Jeanette


Jacqueline Starr, Reentry – 20 Years

Congratulate Jacqueline


Eric Stevenson, Community Living & Home Supports – 25 Years

Congratulate Eric


JEVS 2021 Employee Recognition
A – C  |  D – K  | L – O  |  P – S  |  T – Z

 

Congrats to JEVS Employees Celebrating Milestones in 2021!

It’s Employee Recognition Week!

Each year, JEVS Human Services honors employees for milestone anniversaries at our annual Employee Recognition Event.  This year we are unable to hold this event in person, but we would still like to recognize and celebrate the amazing employees who have spent an incredible 20, 25, 30 and 35 years with us!

The employee tributes are broken down alphabetically by last name on a series of web pages which you can view using the links below.

JEVS 2021 Employee Recognition
A – C  |  D – K  | L – O  |  P – S  |  T – Z


JEVS 2021 Employee Recognition: L – O

Lisa LaRoda, Community Living & Home Supports – 30 Years

“Amazing is how I describe Lisa.  She is tireless and relentless in her pursuit of seeing to it that her individuals are supported to the highest level.  Lisa has never waivered in her devotion and loyalty to her individuals, staff, family members and coworkers.  After all these years, she has remained that bright spirit and shining light of optimism, positivity and good humor.  Lisa is outstanding when it comes to making, maintaining, and establishing wonderful relationships for all those she comes in contact with.

The superhero I would describe her as would be one I would make up for her.  And that is the “I GOT YOU” Superhero.  Lisa will have your back, your support and your ear.  Lisa is always willing to pitch in to help you in any way she can and then say, I GOT YOU!

Collaboration is the best Core Principle I would attach to Lisa.  She works well with family, friends and colleagues and external personnel.

Lisa, thank you for all the wonderful holiday dances we had shared at the JEVS Holiday Parties and CONGRATULATIONS on your milestone anniversary!  You’re the Best!”

-Charlton Parker

Congratulate Lisa


Phyllis Lebby, Community Living & Home Supports – 30 Years

Congratulate Phyllis


Lisa Logan, Community Living & Home Supports – 35 Years

Congratulate Lisa


Angela Lucas, hireAbility – 30 Years

Congratulate Angel


Frank McCrorey, Community Living & Home Supports – 25 Years

Congratulate Frank


Erika Nwaniemeka, Community Living & Home Supports – 30 Years

Congratulate Erika


Janice Owens, Community Living & Home Supports – 20 Years

Congratulate Janice


JEVS 2021 Employee Recognition
A – C  |  D – K  | L – O  |  P – S  |  T – Z

 

Congrats to JEVS Employees Celebrating Milestones in 2021!

It’s Employee Recognition Week!

Each year, JEVS Human Services honors employees for milestone anniversaries at our annual Employee Recognition Event.  This year we are unable to hold this event in person, but we would still like to recognize and celebrate the amazing employees who have spent an incredible 20, 25, 30 and 35 years with us!

The employee tributes are broken down alphabetically by last name on a series of web pages which you can view using the links below.

JEVS 2021 Employee Recognition
A – C  |  D – K  | L – O  |  P – S  |  T – Z


JEVS 2021 Employee Recognition: D – K

Linda Dunphy, Orleans Technical College – 20 Years

Congratulate Linda


Alla Goldberg, Financial Management Services – 30 Years

Congratulate Alla


Luis Gonzales, CareerLink – 20 Years

Congratulate Luis


Julia Hilghman, Financial Management Services – 20 Years

 

Congratulate Julia


Tammy Johnson, CareerLink – 20 Years

“Ms. Tammy’s Commitment to Excellence is displayed daily; she a dedicated and commendable team player. She exudes positivity in her role, making it an enjoyable experience when walking through the doors at Careerlink Suburban Station. It has been a pleasure supervising Tammy; I celebrate and commend her on 20 years of Exceptional Customer service and Commitment to Excellence!” – Shavon Mason

Congratulate Tammy


Monique Kelly, Community Living & Home Supports – 35 Years

“Monique Kelly is a very caring person who advocates for our individuals we serve. Monique is a dedicated member of JEVS who enjoys her work.” – Devona Denmark

Congratulate Monique


Alycia Keeports-Loev, Community Living & Home Supports – 25 Years

“For 25 years, Alycia Keeports-Loev has devoted her gifts and talent at JEVS to develop and improve services that will promote well-being, improve independence, and assure community presence for individuals with behavioral health conditions and/or intellectual disabilities. I am so glad that Alycia is part of our team at CLHS.” – Clara Thompson

Congratulate Alycia


JEVS 2021 Employee Recognition
A – C  |  D – K  | L – O  |  P – S  |  T – Z

 

Congrats to JEVS Employees Celebrating Milestones in 2021!

It’s Employee Recognition Week!

Each year, JEVS Human Services honors employees for milestone anniversaries at our annual Employee Recognition Event.  This year we are unable to hold this event in person, but we would still like to recognize and celebrate the amazing employees who have spent an incredible 20, 25, 30 and 35 years with us!

The employee tributes are broken down alphabetically by last name on a series of web pages, starting with A-C on this page. View the rest using the links below.

JEVS 2021 Employee Recognition
A – C  |  D – K  | L – O  |  P – S  |  T – Z


JEVS 2021 Employee Recognition: A – C

Warren Akers, Community Living & Home Supports – 30 Years

Congratulate Warren


Natalie Bargeron, Work Ready – 20 Years

“Natalie, congratulations on your 20 years of service at JEVS. I remember when I first started at Transitional Work Program in Delaware, you gave me valuable tips for my position. I can’t believe that was years ago. I am grateful that we now working with each other again. Thank you for continuing to improve the processes and bringing ideas to our program. I appreciate all that you do for our staff and participants.” – Jian Lin

Congratulate Natalie


Barbara Barrow, Work Ready – 25 Years

Congratulate Barbara


Kelli Bonds, Work Ready – 20 Years

Congratulate Kelli


Gladys Bradley, Community Living & Home Supports – 35 Years

Congratulate Gladys


Anthony Buenaflor, Integrated Behavioral Health – 20 Years

“The JEVS Core Principle that Anthony exemplifies is Quality Customer Service.  Anthony delivers psych rehab services with care and demonstrates genuine concern for the program participants’ well-being.  In turn, they love engaging with him, whether on site during group or volunteering in the community at WHYY.  Anthony is a dedicated member of the JEVS family.” – Jacqueline Stabler

Congratulate Anthony


Marjorie Carasquero, Community Living & Home Supports – 25 Years

Congratulate Marjorie


Jeanne Cendrowski, Work Ready – 30 Years

Congratulate Jeanne


George Clark, The Choice is Yours – 20 Years

Congratulate George


JEVS 2021 Employee Recognition
A – C  |  D – K  | L – O  |  P – S  |  T – Z

 

STRIVE Future Leaders Program Expands After Successful Pilot Launch

STRIVE Future Leaders graduating class of 2021 with program staff members Alberta Lloyd, Penn Foster Workshop Facilitator and Ora Henry, Youth Case Manager.

JEVS’ STRIVE Future Leaders program offers skills training, paid work experience, and job placement opportunities to justice-involved young adults aged 18-24, helping to set them on a career path and become thriving adults and community members. JEVS began management and implementation of the program in 2020 when it agreed to take over for another organization.

“In January 2020 we inherited a partial grant with an agreement to fulfill remaining benchmarks,” said Program Director Jamaine Jackson. “So it wasn’t a full grant, it was more of a pilot to see if JEVS could do the work and receive a full grant.”

Despite the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, the program was able to meet its goals, and then some. “We actually overachieved the grant with a 153% enrollment rate,” said Jackson. “The remainder of the grant had a goal of 40 enrollments, and we enrolled 57 in an eight month time period.”

STRIVE Future Leaders Program Director Jamaine Jackson

Jackson stated that the program was able to achieve that level of success through strategic planning and by reaching out to existing and new partnerships including parole boards, juvenile detention centers and other community partners. “One thing we do well at JEVS is build relationships,” he said.

As a result of this success, the STRIVE parent organization has announced that after receiving new grant from the Department of Labor, the STRIVE Future Leaders program in Philadelphia will be able to continue to operate for three more years.

“This is our first full grant from STRIVE,” said Jackson. “We’re excited to continue and expand upon what we’ve built with some new program components to serve the young people in our community.”

According to the terms of the grant, JEVS STRIVE Future Leaders will provide participant services in five core service areas:

Case management, including assigning a case manager to each participant and connecting participants with legal services and other supportive services as needed

Education including assessment service, high school diploma programs such as Penn Foster, and assistance with college programs.

Training leading to industry-recognized credentials that lead to an initial job placement.

Integrated workforce activities such as on the job training and work experience programs, resume preparation and interviewing skills, and direct job placement into unsubsidized part and full-time employment.

Follow-up services for each participant for a minimum of 12 months.

In addition, STRIVE Future Leaders will be partnering with Community College of Philadelphia to provide education and training services to prepare  program participants for careers in the fields of Building Trades, Retail, and Hospitality. (Costs associated with participants’ enrollment in the College’s programs will be covered through the grant award, and therefore offered free of charge to the participants).

“We will also be adding an apprenticeship component to the program as another opportunity for career pathways,” said Jackson.

Jackson is confident the STRIVE Future Leaders program can make a difference for justice-involved youth. “These are individuals that have not done any state or federal time – most of them are first-time offenders,” he said.  “Our objective is to get them into our program and help build their career path so they don’t move further into the criminal justice system.”

Get more information on STRIVE Future Leaders >

See TV coverage on 6ABC of their graduation this summer

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