–Written by Molly Brusser, Franklin C. Ash Summer Intern, JEVS Communications Department
This summer, members of JEVS’ Philadelphia Independence Network (PIN) took on the summer newsletter. Under the supervision of staff associates Carly Hagen and Meghan McHugh, PIN members are working hard to write and edit their own articles while taking on individual roles in the production process. Participants can’t wait for their thoughts and experiences with PIN to be showcased through their own voices, as they share what really goes on within the tight-knit community that the program has facilitated in recent years.
Based in Narberth, Pennsylvania, PIN provides services and resources to a co-ed community of young adults with disabilities that enable and support each of its members to live independent, active lives. PIN members meet often at a centralized clubhouse and participate in group life skills lessons, including roommate survival tips, team building, shopping tips, professional networking, home safety and current news discussions. The program also encourages members to strengthen their interests and involvement within the community. JEVS staff show active support to all PIN members through regular individual home visits and a 24-hour emergency phone line.
Needless to say, all PIN members have a unique experience with the program and are ready to tell the stories of their journey, in their coveted newsletter.
The newsletter’s initial interest meeting alone was one for the books at PIN, as 15 members attended and showed excitement to the end. During the meeting, PIN had its first discussion with JEVS communications department staff and JEVS’ Ash Program intern, Molly Brusser, a communications major at Rowan University in NJ.
After pulling out his old-fashioned typewriter, PIN member Kyle was instantly enthusiastic about the project and volunteered to be chief editor. Kyle made it clear he wanted to provide backbone for his team. He expressed throughout the meeting how important PIN’s newsletter is to him and how amazing it feels to volunteer for a major role. “I think editing is a cool, creative thing,” he said as he looked proudly at his vintage machine.
As conversations went on, more members happily volunteered to write about a variety of topics including “What to Expect at PIN” (Jon), “PIN Couples and Relationships” (Elyse and Shawn), and “First Day In PIN Apartments” (Chrissy). As their meeting came to a close, PIN members were determined to tackle these assignments and were left to continue brainstorming ideas of what features to include in the articles they were crafting.
The newsletter committee of PIN members met again with Molly to discuss how to organize their thoughts on paper and begin the drafting process. Leaving the articles to the writers, Ethan, Eliana and Nicole chose the positions of project manager and co-photographers, respectively.
Kyle continued to stick by his title of chief editor while jokingly announcing to JEVS staff, “My goal is to make everyone look like a worse writer than I am.” Kyle clearly holds a high bar for his fellow writers and PIN’s newsletter. This amount of motivation from him and the rest of the team will make their summer (member-driven) newsletter PIN’s greatest publication to date.