By: Noelle Lambert
January’s Charity of the Month is:
PBS Community Foundation
The PBS Community Foundation, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, was established to help people with autism spectrum disorders, developmental disabilities and other special needs. They particularly focus on self-determination and full inclusion in the local community.
Their mission is to help these individuals access the support and services they need to become active and productive members of the community, as well as encourage long-term planning and to support efforts towards establishing social connections and friendships in the community.
For individuals with disabilities, the movement away from inadequate and segregated institutional congregate custodial care has been taking place for 40 years. Now more than ever, individuals with disabilities are seeking the opportunity to stay in their own communities and pursue their personal goals, while receiving the needed levels of support to make full community inclusion a sustainable reality.
In New York State, anyone who is eligible for OPWDD Services (NYS Office For People With Developmental Disabilities) and enrolled in the Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) Waiver, can choose to self-direct their services. As of September 30, 2018, there were 2,926 individuals enrolled in ‘Self Direction’ on Long Island. (Source: NYS OPWDD)
Self-Direction is a person-centered approach that empowers individuals with developmental disabilities to create a life plan with supports that they chose, based on their unique strengths, needs and goals. It also gives the individual more control over how funding is used to purchase needed support and services.
While the number of individuals choosing to self direct their services is quickly growing, the PBS Community Foundation aims to provide support through grass roots, community based networks.
The PBS Community Foundation initiatives started with Big Time Glee, a singing group that now meets twice a month in Smithtown. This group performs at various events such as Long Island Ducks games!
In response to numerous requests from the Self-Directed community, the Foundation created a similar group in Nassau, which meets monthly in Bellmore. This is called the Nassau Voice.
Additionally, another initiative, The Crafting Connection, meets every other week to work on different crafty projects or just to socialize and play games.
More recently, Self-Directed individuals are focusing on the health of their mind and body. The PBS Community Foundation offers Yoga Without Boundaries twice a month at the Yoga Darshana Center in West Babylon. This center generously donates the space and Dan Elfawal, a certified special educator and yoga instructor, leads a free yoga class open to individuals with all abilities. Dan says the students walk away focused, calm and self confident. Through the practice of yoga, students build strength and develop coping skills, which can lead to a healthier lifestyle.
If you have any questions about this organization and their services, please contact Ruth-Ann Hartney at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Another organization you can become involved with:
The Maurer Foundation is a local non-profit organization. Their mission is to save lives through breast health education and they focus on breast cancer prevention, healthy lifestyle choices, early detection and risk reduction. This foundation is holding their 10th Annual Bowling Fundraiser, Pink Bowl, on Sunday, February 10th from 11:30AM-1:30PM at Bowlmor Lanes in Melville. They invite you to join them with your friends and colleagues to enjoy a fun day of bowling, which will benefit a great cause! For more information, please call 631-524-5151. Pre-registration required by January 30th.
If your organization would like to be featured in this column, please e-mail Noelle@SouthBaysNeighbor.com!