A DAY AT EDENWALD: JCCA CEO Ronald E. Richter spends afternoon with inspiring youth
Recently JCCA’s CEO Ronald E. Richter visited some of the boys living at our Edenwald Center on our beautiful campus in Westchester. The pool is open, the kids are spending lots of time outdoors and Ron wanted to hear from our clients and our staff.
Edenwald serves children with emotional difficulties, as well intellectual challenges, autism and other developmental disorders. They live in homelike cottages with specially tailored, highly supportive programs that help our young people learn daily living skills such as how to socialize and interact with peers, teachers and adults.
Here’s what Ron said about his visit:
“I had a wonderful time getting to know some of the boys at Edenwald. They are sweet kids (11-13 years old) with warmth and senses of humor. They really appreciate positive attention.
They were totally motivating. You can see from the photos that we had fun. Talk about resilience and brightness! They are a smart, charming, engaging group. It was touching to see that each young person was eager to support the other, helping them finish each other's sentences, as they answered my barrage of questions about their birthdays, their favorite foods and best field trips. They all love basketball and, eventually, they got me to shoot a few hoops. Like I said, they are a motivating group! Then we shared ice cream and some laughs. I can see that our residents are benefitting from our warm, homelike environment and our wonderful staff. I was touched by the staff’s knowledge of each boy’s unique needs and specific challenges, and how they used a “strengths based” approach, encouraging kids when they did well, no matter how small the achievement."
The boys echoed his feelings about the visit. They said, “Mr. Richter you are so cool. Next time come with sneakers so we can all play ball.”
Adds Traci Iorio, Resident Supervisor, “I enjoyed seeing how he took time to get to know each individual. We hope Mr. Richter can come again soon.”
compass: Summer internships bring new friends and new confidence
JCCA’s Compass Project helps young people on the Autism Spectrum (or with other learning differences) make a successful transition from high school or college to the workplace and independent adulthood. Young adults on the Autism Spectrum are often challenged by such tasks as finding and keeping a job, learning to socialize and make friends. This summer, JCCA placed many interns in jobs; Cara, a cheerful 17-year-old on the Autism Spectrum, was one of them.
“Compass staff really focused on Cara’s interests,” her mother Ellen states. “They spent a lot of time talking with her and trying to find just the right fit.” And it looks like they succeeded. Cara loves flowers and photography. She learned how to create floral arrangements at a florist shop, how to use a tripod at a photography studio and made new friends at the TJ Maxx stockroom. It has been a stimulating and productive summer for Cara, and she has changed because of it.
Her employers agree. Lia and Tracey, the owners of Westbury Floral Designs in Westbury, N.Y., said, “Cara learned a lot from how to arrange flowers and how to put customers' orders into our computer system. It's been a pleasure having her with us.”
Alex Wolff, of Alex Wolff's Portrait Shoppe of New York, concurs. “Cara has a great attitude and an artistic mindset. It is very rewarding to see her gain new skills and express herself in photography. Cara adds, “One of the things I learned in working with Alex is that I need a real camera. The photos I take on my phone are not professional quality.”
Her mother says, “Cara has become a different person as a result of her internships. I have never seen her happier. She is thriving -- she is out in the world and she’s doing great.” According to Cara, “This summer taught me many new things and I have a new friend and more confidence in myself.”
Jewish Child Care Association is a comprehensive child and family services agency. We work with those who need us most, including children who have been neglected or abused, immigrant Jewish families, and those building new lives. Most of our clients come to us because they struggle with poverty or family crises, and because they are working to create an independent future. JCCA helps more than 16,000 children and families every year and is consistently rated at the highest levels for the quality of our programs. In all our work, we are motivated by tikkun olam, the value within Jewish tradition that calls upon all of us to repair the world, and by our belief that every child deserves to grow up hopeful.
Jewish Child Care Association is authorized by the Council on Accreditation and recognized as a provider that continues to successfully
implement high performance standards and is delivering the highest
quality services to all of its stakeholders.