Posted by Jon Federman

The CHAI Celebration on November 7 raised funds for JF&CS programs for people with disabilities and mental illness. The evening was also an opportunity to share the positive effect JF&CS has on individuals who receive our services.

JayJay is 62 years young and has autism and intellectual disabilities. He was one of the first CHAI residents when the program began in 1990. Previously, Jay had been living at home with his parents. CHAI enabled him to live in his own apartment by himself for a while, and then in a group setting as he aged and his needs increased. He currently lives in a three-bedroom apartment with two other long-term CHAI residents. CHAI provides Jay with support in his health care coordination, financial management, and also with assistance in accessing his community. Thanks to CHAI, Jay enjoys the annual CHAI camping trip and attends services at his local synagogue. He is also a member of CHAI Works, which allows him to volunteer at Cradle to Crayons and Meals on Wheels, and he helps with mailings for various JF&CS programs. He was part of the CHAI B'nai Mitzvah class in 2004 and he still studies with the original group monthly.

Like Jay, more than one-third of CHAI residents are 50 or older. As they age, their support needs increase, from additional medical demands that require nursing support to mobility challenges that require accessible housing and transportation. Some older CHAI residents require assistance with end-of-life transitions for their elderly parents or even themselves. The CHAI program allows residents to transition through many levels of support, from very independent assistance to 24-hour care, from young 20-somethings to 80-year-old seniors. Our clinicians partner with other JF&CS programs, including Mental Health, Nutrition, Financial, and Legal Services to provide comprehensive care. We offer CHAI seniors help and support with long-term illness, benefit coordination, and even trusts to provide a lifetime of advocacy to protect their future well-being when family members are no longer available. Our goal is to provide comprehensive services for the whole person – physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

Jon FedermanJon Federman is the JF&CS Staff Writer. A practicing attorney for more than 15 years, he is thrilled to bring his legal and persuasive writing skills to the JF&CS Marketing Communications department. Jon has a BA from Tufts University and a JD from Boston College Law School. In his spare time he is an exhibiting photographer and an award-winning cartoonist. Jon lived in London, England for five years before returning to Boston in 2011.