05 Sep Mizner Connecting with Community, Enriching Lives with JARC
There are a few new faces behind the scenes at the Club, as Mizner joins with JARC in their mission to erase barriers and empower individuals by offering employment opportunities to a few special individuals. JARC, Jewish Association for Residential Care, is a local organization based in Boca Raton that provides programs and services to educate and empower individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. One-way JARC connects their clients with the greater community is through their Community Works program.
JARC pairs their clients with businesses, to come in and work as a trainee. At work, they’ll perform various tasks such as folding laundry, kitchen prep work and janitorial duty. A staff member of JARC accompanies the client to supervise, guide and to make sure they understand just what to do.
So far, two JARC clients are helping out at the Club.
“They started about two months ago,” said Shelley Komitor our Director of Human Resources. “Two women were placed, one in the laundry doing basic wash, dry, fold, she’ll be shadowing some of our housekeepers to see what their routine is. The second lady is in our food and beverage department, helping to make up the silverware sets by wrapping utensils up in napkins. They come with a trainer who drives them and stays with them side-by-side.”
The two JARC workers come in one day a week on Wednesdays from 9:30 am to 1:30 pm. They’re paid minimum wage by JARC through a state grant and they’re covered under JARC’s liability insurance – so there’s no cost to the Club.
Instead, Mizner provides a supportive, friendly and productive working environment. Along with the opportunity to learn life skills, JARC clients gain social skills by being out in the community and having the chance to just participate in the ordinary activity of going to work. Like JARC says: “Extraordinary people living ordinary lives.” This program is the living embodiment of this message.
“It’s been a great experience so far,” said Shelley. “We gave them both a logo polo shirt, so they feel like they have a uniform. It was very cute, when they got here on the first day they started at 9:30 and then they go have lunch and after lunch, I heard them saying, ‘Hey, I’ve got to go — I have to get back to work.’” They’re very friendly and warm.”
For JARC clients, they just want a chance to be part of something.
“They’re so proud to have the opportunity to get out there and work,” said Nancy Freiwald, Director of Program Services at JARC. “Actually, some of the bosses say their employees see how hard our group works and have stepped up their game — so really they’re beginning to impress their coworkers.”
Mizner members are also taking notice.
“We’ve gotten so many positive responses,” said Shelley “People really take to a program like this. A lot of our members have personal stories of a nephew or a child who have special needs, so they really appreciate us participating in something like this because many companies wouldn’t or don’t. We hope to expand it.”
As the program grows so do JARC clients who are learning and doing.
“It’s so fantastic because we have people that come here that start in the class training program who have never held a knife,” said Nancy. “They go from that point to working in a kitchen in a restaurant.”
The program is a win-win. JARC clients can go on to become paid employees and start working like regular Joes. The employers get employees who are already trained and well-integrated into the work atmosphere — they’re ready to go.
“As the season gets nearer we’re looking to expand the program, to add more workers,” said Shelley. “They’re lovely people, very appreciative — so far, so good.”
If you would like to learn more about this amazing organization, visit www.jarc.org.