Inspirations WINTER 2015
A Publication of Women’s League Community Residences, Inc.
Harry and Ruth Senior and family
Jeanne and Isaac Warman
WLCR 36th Anniversary Dinner
Pays Tribute to its Founders, Jeanne and Isaac Warman
Rav Yaakov Perlow, shlita
WLCR dinners happen rarely; the previous one for its 25th Anniversary was held 11 years ago! But when they do occur, the community comes out en masse to join the celebration. Thus did hundreds of guests, distinguished Rabbonim, community leaders, and friends of WLCR share in the glory of the agency’s 36th Anniversary Dinner held on November 16th at The Palace in Brooklyn. It was a night filled with tributes to the dedicated staff, and the many worthy honorees – Founders Jeanne and Isaac Warman Guests of Honor; Dr. Simon and Irit Lipetz Parent Appreciation Award; Dr. Jacob and Chaya Schachter Kesser Shem Tov Award; Harry and Ruth Senior Dedication of New Men’s Residence; Dr. Stephen Glicksman Professional Excellence Award – all of whom greatly value WLCR’s mission of providing exceptional service for those with developmental disabilities.
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ave you ever heard of a Snoezlen? It’s actually a special room, originally developed in Holland as a therapeutic tool for people with severe and profound sensory issues. It’s proven to be remarkably effective in helping them to relax and calm their overworked muscles and nerves. A Snoezelen is like a world of its own. Lights are dimmed, soft music is played, mats are laid out, and soothing and stimulating sensory experiences are introduced. The therapeutic value of Snoezelen rooms is extraordinary. According to Dr. Stephen Glicksman, developmental psychologist at WLCR, “In our world, so many sights and sounds and sensations are thrown at us at once. Those who have sensory or developmental issues have a really hard time taking it all in. That’s why the Snoezelen sensory room is so important. It calms our residents so they can breathe better, learn better, and respond better.” WLCR installed two Snoezelen rooms in its facilities; one in its Boro
Park residence for young children and one in its Seagate residence for teenage girls with significant disabilities. Unfortunately, this latter room was destroyed during the devastation of Hurricane Sandy. “The girls really missed the room,” says Dr. Glicksman. “You could see that they really needed it.” So WLCR applied to the Robin Hood Foundation for a grant, requesting assistance in funding the rebuilding of the Snoezelen for the residents. It wasn’t long before the Foundation responded affirmatively. Not only would it help rebuild the sensory room, but it would also ensure that the room be reinforced and waterproofed to withstand any similar event possibly occurring in the future. All the work was painstakingly and professionally done, complete with special remote control electrical outlets to turn the machines on and off
easily. It was truly a labor of love. Now, the teen girls at the Seagate residence are once again enjoying the soothing and stimulating Snoezelen experience. “They are really loving it!” says Dr. Glicksman. “And they do use
it all the time.” Thank you, Robin Hood Foundation, for coming through magnificently for our very special service participants!
A Super Send-Off! Kudos to the lovely neighbors in Kensington who insisted on hosting a touching goodbye party recently for WLCR consumers who were moving to their newly built residence on Dahill Rd. A fabulous time was had by all! 2
Grillers vs. Chillers
! s n i W y d o veryb
t WLCR, the goal of staff is to assist consumers to achieve greater independence. So it was enthusiastically agreed upon that the residents of the E. 5th Street group home would participate in a “Cook-athon”. It presented a golden opportunity to teach these young adults all about what happens in a kitchen. Thus did Moshe, Isaac, Yossie and Avi – all between the ages of 18 and 26 – take part in this fun filled yet educational cooking contest. The group was divided into two teams called Grillers and Chillers, and outfitted with customized lettered red and blue t-shirts. According to Yechiel Davis, residence manager, “It was just like a two month long Color War in the residence, with the consumers really learning a lot. They learned skills ranging from making a sandwich to actual cooking. We also taught them basic principles of kashrus and hygiene. The goal was to promote kitchen independence.” The cook-a-thon culminated in a final banquet with delicious dishes prepared by both teams for their fellow consumers and WLCR judges. These included deli roll, chicken cutlets, grilled vegetables, chocolate mousse and even fruit smoothies. The competition ended in a tie, with both teams winning. And
the evening’s cuisine got rave reviews. But the biggest winners of all were the consumers who gained significant kitchen skills. Details of the cook-athon were meticulously planned in advance by E. 5th Street staffers together with WLCR developmental psychologist Dr. Stephen Glicksman. Consumers were taught not only how to navigate the kitchen independently but also learned when they should ask staff for help. “There’s been tremendous improvement,” says Yechiel. “They’ve learned how to peel an egg, how to chop a salad under supervision, or simply how to get themselves a drink or a bag of chips.” Equally important, they learned to wash their hands before preparing food and to wear gloves when serving. They learned that meat and milk utensils belong in separate places. Best of all, they developed a special pride and confidence in having become a little more independent.
WLCR 36th Anniversary Dinner
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WLCR’s wide range of programs includes over 30 residences, service coordination, community habilitation, early intervention, supported employment and more. Since its inception in 1978 it has consistently raised the bar on industry standards and attained NYS COMPASS status in 2001, an honor accorded by OPWDD (Office for People with Developmental Disabilities) to only 1% of all NYS agencies serving those with disabilities. The Dinner was an elegant affair. Dinner Chairman Daniel Chill, Esq. recalled his own personal connection to WLCR. “Sixteen years ago,” he said, “my special needs son desperately needed to move into a home. With G-d’s help I was introduced to Jeanne Warman and the rest is history.” Mr. Chill, a proud dad, spoke of his son Eytan’s outstanding progress. Although doctors predicted he would not survive, he has actually thrived. “He speaks, he works, he smiles,” said Chill. “Do you know why? Because he’s in a Women’s League home.” Rabbi Yaakov Perlow, Novominsker Rebbe shlita, gave divrei bracha and recalled how many years ago the Warmans and Perlows were parents of developmentally disabled children. “Both mothers,” he said, “felt that something should be done to ensure that these children achieve their maximum potential within a loving, Jewish environment.” Eventually, Rebetzin Yehudis Perlow, a”h became the Board President of WLCR which was founded by Jeanne Warman. A video presentation allowed enthusiastic guests to watch WLCR’s chesed in action. Scenes filled with love, smiles, and hugs flashed across the screen. Guests 6
heard Jeanne Warman exclaim, “My model is normalization. These people are just like us. They need to enjoy life.” The program continued with award presentations. Dr. Simon and Irit Lipetz – Parent Appreciation Awardees are delighted with the exceptional care their daughter Liron receives at the WLCR residence for young women with autism. Dr. Jacob and Chaya Schachter Kesser Shem Tov Awardees observed WLCR staff and consumers in action years before deciding to place their son Tzvi in a residence where he enjoys interacting with his peers, and busies himself with so many activities including playing his chalil. Dr. Stephen Glicksman – Professional Excellence Awardee is a developmental psychologist who has worked at WLCR since 1991. He has seen the industry evolve and develop over the years. “The field is constantly changing,” he averred. “Today we can keep families together. We take care of the consumers’ needs and others can still be the mom, the dad, the brother and sister.” A major part of the evening was an announcement regarding the new construction of a Men’s Residence which is being dedicated by dear friends of WLCR Harry and Ruth Senior. “It’s hard bringing up a child with special needs,” Mrs. Senior said. “But when you know he’s in good hands it makes such a difference.” Her husband Harry added that “we’re very excited about the new home” and wished that G-d grant the Warmans good health and strength to carry on their good work. This new residence will be built to accommodate the progressive needs of the aging population of WLCR’s
were expressed at the Dinner to WLCR’s very own service participants for lending their able assistance in preparing party favors for all the dinner guests.
first group home and will include an elevator and walkin level living areas. In a video presentation, Jeanne and Isaac Warman told the story of their personal odyssey. Decades ago, they were parents of a special needs child, but the world was a different place and they had no one to turn to for help. Eventually, Mrs. Warman took the initiative and opened the first WLCR group home for men on 59th Street in Boro Park. Ever since then the agency has grown beyond anyone’s expectations and its dedication to excellence is considered legendary. “We have an unusually devoted staff of professionals,” said Mrs. Warman, “I couldn’t have done it without them.” Finally, Rabbi Moshe Warman, Jeanne and Isaac’s son, ended the program with a tribute to his parents and their outstanding achievements. The enthusiastic applause reflected the guests’ appreciation for both the founders and the mission of this ‘empire of chesed’.
Women’s League Community Residences, Inc.
1556 38th Street Brooklyn, NY 11218 Tel: 718-853-0900 Fax: 718-853-0818 www.womensleague.org
Residential Services • Group homes for babies, children, and teens with disabilities •G roup homes for adults and seniors with disabilities • S upportive apartments for men, women, and married couples with disabilities
At Home Community Services • Jumpstart Early Intervention • Service Coordination • HCBS Waiver Services • CBR Supported Employment
One Delightful Friendship!
Executive Director Jeanne Warman
Chairman of the Board Ronald Greenwald
Board Members • Shloime Eisenberg • Esther Fruchthandler • Victor Gluck • Faigie Horowitz • Burton Jaffa • Eli Kaufman • Shoshana Lefkowitz • Esti Mermelstein • Betty Pollack • Rivka Rabinowitz • Efraim Reich • Shayve Zucker
Rabbinic Advisory Board • Rabbi Dovid Feinstein • Rabbi Yaakov Perlow • Rabbi Aaron Schechter • Rabbi E. B. Wachtfogel
f you’d ask Rafi what his absolute most favorite activity in the whole wide world is, chances are very high that he will eagerly exclaim, “Going on a trip with my friend, Shmuli!” To accommodate Rafi’s love of adventure, his residence manager arranged that staff member Josh take him out regularly to places not usually frequented by his house mates. Visits to puppet shows, amusement parks, professional plays and the like were some of the exciting activities they did together. Josh then decided to
heighten the experience by bringing his own son, Shmuli, along. And, as people are wont to say – “the rest is history”. A friendship developed as Rafi and Shmuli spent much quality time together in various fun activities; or, alternatively, just relaxing and reading books, a favorite activity for both. Recently, Rafi celebrated Shmuli’s birthday with him and seemed as happy as the birthday boy himself. Shmuli sums up this incredible relationship by saying, “My life has changed from spending this special time with Rafi. Knowing how much he enjoys it makes it all the more worthwhile for both of us.”