2002-2005 NSIP Accomplishments: New Jersey

October 15, 2005

Project Director: Bill Gaventa

Focus area and target population

Our focus in New Jersey during the project was to work with provider networks, Centers for Independent Living, Americorps programs, and Senior Companion/Foster Grandparent programs to advocate for volunteer opportunities and options.

Local & National Organizations and networks impacted

The organizations which were impacted are listed above. One of the postive outcomes is a connection between the Americorps office in NJ and The Boggs Center. We have been working on a meeting to explore ongoing ways to work together, especially in helping to provide training to current Americorps programs about disabilities.

Significant Outcomes & Accomplishments

We do not have data on known numbers of individulas with disabilities placed in service programs. One of the factors impacting this was that the staff person coordinating the program moved on from The Boggs Center to another position. But, let me list some things that the project helped do:

  1. Training to 25 Americorps site managers on including and working with people with disabilities.
  2. Training to two Centers for Independent Living. Since that time, the Centers for Independent Living have obtained a grant from the New Jersey Department of Education to assist with transition services for young people with disabilities who are leaving school. Many of them are helping young people explore volunteer and employment opportunities in the community.
  3. Training to Volunteer Coordinators in Health Care Settings on using people with disabilities as volunteers.
  4. Participation on the Advisory Board for the Senior Companion/Foster Grandparent program to help explore ways that seniors with developmental disabilities could volunteer under those programs.
  5. Two mini-summits at The Boggs Center to talk with agencies about best practices in finding and utilizing volunteer opportunities for people with disabilities.
  6. Referrals of families and individuals with disabilities to Americorps web sites and programs.

Activities & programs

The Boggs Center does significant work with two programs in New Jersey where people are receiving individualized budgets and self directing their own supports. We have been doing the Essential Lifestyle Planning trainnig that is the base for one of these projects, Real Life Choices. In that training and other activities related to self directed supports, community volunteer roles based on personal interests and preferences has received much more attention.

Second, The Boggs Center also worked with the New Jersey Division of Developmental Disabilities to revamp the Individual Habilitation Plan for all adults receiving services. The new IHP is more person centered.

The Boggs Center produced a video to help introduce staff to the importance of individualized planning and their role as direct support staff. Entitled Planning for Life, the video features five vignettes of New Jersey consumers with disabilities.Two of those vignettes portray individuals with signficant disabilities in their volunteer roles in community settings. That video is now used in all training for new direct support staff in New Jersey, and also has been picked up by Program Development Associates for national distribution.