We support children and adults living with disabilities and their families in meeting their unique challenges and ensuring their participation in Montreal Jewish communal life, including: school-based academic intervention, therapy, camp experiences, supported employment and recreational programs.
As a community convener, Federation CJA seeks to build a culture of inclusivity for the Montreal Jewish community, while assuring that Jewish engagement and learning opportunities can accommodate more members of our community in ways most meaningful to them. Through research and resources, we strive to fill gaps that will enable individuals with disabilities to be cared for while having a rich quality of Jewish life.
A recent review of the current community landscape indicates that there are fewer programmatic options for those aging out of youth programs and transitioning into adulthood. Employment and day programs have been flagged as a major issue and housing for this population has become a dire need. It is estimated that there are approximately 16,000 persons aged 15 and over living with a disability in the Montreal Jewish community. Federation CJA is committed to working with a vast network of service delivery agencies in order to further address identified needs.
Strategies and Responses
Three years ago, Federation CJA increased its investment in communal organizations working with individuals and families who are living with disabilities by more than 40%. Last year, we supported more than 1,000 individuals with disabilities and their families through 20 programs.
We are also the first Federation in Canada to create a dedicated, full-time role for a Community Inclusion Coordinator. The Coordinator serves as a connector for our stakeholders, supporting the network of affiliated agencies and community funded organizations in working together to meet the needs of members of the Montreal Jewish community living with a disability.
“Be the change you wish to see in the world” – Mahatma Ghandi
We are building a more inclusive community by committing to act as a leader in Inclusion. As such, we are creating dialogue and awareness. We aim to be more intentionally inclusive in our approach and practices as organization, and to encourage our community partners to do the same. We aim to lead, connect, explore and empower, and to actively embrace persons of all abilities. We serve as a “key connector” between Federation CJA and community organizations, which enables us to explore different opportunities and possibilities for addressing key needs for this population.
As part of the Inclusion initiative, we are proud to join other North American Jewish communities in celebrating Jewish Disability Awareness, Acceptance and Inclusion Month (JDAIM). Throughout the month of February, Federation CJA will be participating and collaborating with local community organizations on a series of events that raise awareness and foster acceptance and inclusion of people living with disabilities and those who love them. Our goal is to engage the broader community in working towards improving access to Jewish life by removing barriers, appreciating the diversity of our community and connecting to our Jewish values.