Simone (l) and Alaina (r) have formed a great relationship through JEVS In-Home Supports
“When I have a rough day, I text Simone,” says Alaina, from her cozy Ardmore apartment. “I love her.”
It’s hard to imagine Alaina having a rough day—consistently smiling, she effortlessly tells stories of volunteering, and her travels with Simone, and the people she’s met along her journey.
“Can you send this newsletter article to my friend?” she asks, ever thoughtful.
Alaina, a participant through JEVS In-Home Supports program, is paired up with Simone, who works for JEVS and provides companionship, home services, and support in Alaina’s choices to live in as independent a manner as possible and participate in community activities.
“We have good conversations,” says Simone. “Alaina loves to talk and she’s so funny.”
That feeling is mutual. “Simone is so sweet; I wouldn’t give her up for anything,” says Alaina. “She’s helping me be more independent—to be able to cook and clean for myself, to help me go shopping when I need things.”
The support for day-to-day living functions is one aspect of In-Home Supports, but community participation is another.
Simone is clear on that point. “I want to make sure Alaina is able to do what SHE wants to do. We’ve done arts and crafts, we’ve visited pet stores, she’s asked to come to see my daughter’s dance.”
“A few weeks ago, we went to Tim Tebow’s (Foundation) Night to Shine dance,” interjects Alaina. Taking part in sporting events, socialization activities, community events and volunteering—she volunteers at Perlman Jewish Day School a few times a week—allow her to “enjoy everyone’s company.”
And while February is Jewish Disabilities Awareness and Inclusion Month, Alaina notes that it’s important for everyone to feel included—or at least have the option to be included—at all times of the year.
“I think the most important thing I’ve learned is that no one wants to feel left out.”
Simone agrees. “Sometimes the two of us talk about how we feel, and about how we make others feel. It’s so rewarding to think that we’re helping to spread that good feeling.”