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Adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) from HeartShare’s Brooklyn Day Hab can now volunteer and work at Heart’s Home, which is an organization fostering a “culture of compassion” for the world’s neediest people.
At the site, Lamar, Gabriel, Kenneth, Carlton and Damien are responsible for maintaining the area around the church and garden, including raking and bagging leaves. Heart’s Home aims to extend itself to the most socially isolated people and affirms their involvement in “all social, political, economic and cultural life.”
“The common perception of people with I/DD is that they’re passive recipients of services and supports. Our individuals are out there in the world, not only working and volunteering, but helping those in need,” said Linda Tempel, Executive Director of HeartShare’s Developmental Disabilities Services.
Heart’s Home is the latest addition to a long roster of volunteer and work sites for our individuals with I/DD, including Aldo’s, Modell’s Sporting Goods, Burlington Coat Factory, Queens College, Rescuing Leftover Cuisine (RLC), Bowery Mission and Mid-Manhattan Library. “At HeartShare, we have a continuum of services that prepare adults with I/DD for work. If someone is enrolled in a Day Hab Program, that person already is cultivating skills through active volunteerism at companies, retail stores and local community organizations,” noted Barbara Falcone, HeartShare Senior Director for Day and Employment Services.
“Our individuals with I/DD want to work, but rarely have been given that opportunity,” explained Josh Skolnick, Director of Transition and Employment Services. With strong training at the start, the individual can go through a series of HeartShare programs preparing them for and including hire in a competitive position. The team of individuals at Heart’s Home, for example, might at first be accompanied and supervised by a HeartShare employee, like Ronald Sheppard, a Senior Direct Support Professional at Brooklyn Day Hab.
To learn more about employing people with I/DD, contact Joshua.Skolnick@heartshare.org.