by Jill Gromen, Director

The JEVS Independence Network began 13 years ago when several families approached JEVS Human Services to create a comprehensive independent living program. Since that humble beginning in 2011, the program has served over 80 adults in Narberth. In 2018, the model was replicated in collaboration with a small group of families in Collingswood, NJ. Currently, we serve 64 young adults between the two locations, with plans underway for a potential third program in Ambler, PA.

Throughout the 13-year journey, our program community has grown significantly, fostering connections and friendships. Monthly, we organize gatherings to bring both groups together, often meeting halfway in Philadelphia. These gatherings include visits to museums, cultural events, festivals, and occasional group volunteer opportunities. We have also traveled to Washington DC together and have lots of ideas and plans for the future!

Holidays provide unique opportunities for us to gather and celebrate. Each year, program members contribute to planning and cooking for a joint Friendsgiving, and in January we host a joint holiday gathering and white elephant gift exchange. These events not only strengthen our bonds but also expand our circles, benefitting both program members and families.

In September 2023, over 100 members and their families gathered at Cooper River in Collingswood, NJ, for an annual picnic, emphasizing the importance of community and shared experiences. Families express that connecting with other families is comforting and makes a significant difference for them and for members.

As we reflect on our journey, we recognize and love that the JEVS Independence Network is stronger together!

Posted in Blog JEVS Program: Independence Network