JARC Celebrates Success During Jewish Disability And Inclusion Month

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Gaby Gechter and Chef Bart Messing at Woodfield Country Club. Photo courtesy JARC.

BOCA RATON, FL (BocaNewsNow.com) (Source: Media Release from JARC) –JARC FL, a non-profit, non-sectarian organization that provides programs and services to educate and empower individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, is celebrating Jewish Disability Awareness & Inclusion Month by highlighting 60 adults with disabilities that are working in our South Florida community – all through JARC’s successful Community Works Program. Even more exciting – 18 of those adults have been hired by the local businesses as regular employees!

For example:

• Hayley and Angela are both Bakery Assistants at Addison Country Club in Boca Raton;

• Elan is a Retail Processor at Marshall’s in Delray Beach;

• Marsha folds napkins and rolls silverware at the Cheesecake Factory in Boca Raton; and

• William, Curtis, Melissa, Gaby and Rocky all go to work at Woodfield Country Club in Boca Raton as butcher assistants, dishwashers or salad prep cooks.

The JARC FL Community Works Program, meanwhile, is designed to prepare and provide JARC FL clients better opportunities to be productive, paid and valuable employees within their communities. More than 60 JARC FL clients currently work at 16 South Florida businesses (including Farmer’s Table, TJ Maxx, Marshalls, The Cheesecake Factory, Woodfield Country Club, Addison Reserve Country Club and KMART) completing tasks ranging from chopping and portioning food, folding napkins and more. The clients are then paid minimum wage by JARC. The goal is to have the businesses eventually hire the clients and pay them directly as employees. 18 clients have already secured formal positions.

“What do you think about when you think about an ordinary life?” Debra C. Hallow, President of JARC FL, said. “We are so often identified by what we do. This program gives our clients the opportunity to answer the question: “Hi, how are you and what do you do? And that is a feeling of independence and empowerment.” She continued: “The Community Works Program also educates the employers at our local businesses as to the abilities of people with intellectual disabilities, which is an invaluable benefit.”

The JARC FL Community Works Program has been so successful since its start in 2014, that in June 2018 the State of Florida provided JARC with $300,000 in grant funds to support it. The grant specifically provides JARC clients opportunities to work at partnering businesses as trainees, until the businesses choose to hire the clients as paid employees.

About Community Works Program

The Community Works Program first launched in late 2014 at JARC FL through a partnership with Marshalls. Through the program, JARC clients work at a partner business as trainees, completing tasks ranging from chopping jalapeños and portioning food to folding napkins and completing janitorial tasks. The clients are paid minimum wage by JARC thanks to donations from the community, fundraising and state grants. With JARC paying the clients, the partner business essentially receives free labor. In exchange, the businesses are expected to train, guide and provide a healthy and productive working environment for their respective JARC employees. Ultimately – the goal is to secure formal positions for the clients with the business. Since the program first launched, the Community Works Program has grown to include partnerships with 10 local businesses, including Farmer’s Table, TJ Maxx, Boca Raton Marshall’s, Delray Beach Marshalls, The Cheesecake Factory, Grand Luxe Café, The Polo Club, Woodfield Country Club, Addison Reserve Country Club and KMART. Learn more at https://jarcfl.org/programs-services/community-works/.