Shared by Rimma Zelfand at the 2015 CHAI Celebration
The CHAI Celebration is a biennial event supporting JF&CS Services for People with Disabilities. This year's event, held on Wednesday, October 21 at Congregation Mishkan Tefila, celebrated 10 years of the CHAI Works program. JF&CS CEO Rimma Zelfand welcomed the crowd of 250 people to the event, sharing the following:
There are many strong, powerful words in the room this evening. They represent people with different abilities, which is how I prefer to think about the participants in our Services for People with Disabilities program. When I think of CHAI Works, three words jump to my mind: dignity, community, and independence.
- Dignity: Every success at JF&CS starts with dignity and self-respect. We help our clients to develop self-esteem and self-respect by empowering them and encouraging them in setting and achieving their individual goals. We make sure that people with different abilities have opportunities to reach their potential and achieve their goals.
- Community: In all of our programs we bring people from isolation to community. One of the great blessings of the Jewish tradition is that it mandates our interactions with a community in joy and in sorrow. Challenges are easier to address when you are not doing it alone but with the help of a supportive and understanding community. Celebrations are more joyful when you celebrate with friends. Stop by at any of the community homes or the second floor of JF&CS Headquarters and you will see the community CHAI Works has created.
- Independence: Imagine that you were told where you will live, what you will eat, with whom to socialize, and how to spend your leisure hours. I doubt you would like that. People with disabilities possess no fewer rights around making their own decisions, about choice, and about control than do any other members of our communities. JF&CS provides opportunities for our clients to have a meaningful, connected, and independent life.