Please read Part 1 for context. Thank you.
Anita Lewis was also able to assist Marlee in locating a nutritionist. Marlee has started seeing a nutritionist here on the JCC campus through the Minnesota Medical and Rehabilitative Services LLC.
The overall experience has helped Marlee feel part of our Jewish community. The services at the JCC help meet her needs and she is pleased to see them offered in a Jewish environment. “Working out and attending the swimming classes take me to a happy place where I feel I fit in the Jewish community. As a Jewish female with a disability, I felt I needed to connect with others that have a variety of disabilities. That is why I have created the website, Empowering Jews with Disabilities. I needed to fill a void. Jews with disabilities seem to be hidden throughout the Twin Cities. It isn’t easy to meet people, let alone people with disabilities.” For more information visit her website Empowering Jews with Disabilities.
Anita appreciates Marlee’s perspective and feedback on how we can continue to improve our inclusion program and meet the growing needs in our community. This includes the physical aspect as well as the educational, recreational, social and spiritual needs of community members with disabilities. Marlee would prefer to do things for herself and only ask people for help when she needs it, rather than have people assume she always needs assistance.
“To empower ourselves as Jewish people with disabilities is one of the most rewarding and greatest self esteem builders I can think of,” she said.
“There are 27 other adults participating in the Wellness Program,” said Anita, “they all have their own personal stories of what a difference this program has made in their lives in areas of wellness, self-confidence, Jewish identity and community.”
Initial funding for the Wellness Program was provided by the Endowment Funds Advisory Committee for Persons with Developmental Disabilities through the United Jewish Fund and Council of St. Paul and the Minneapolis Jewish Community Foundation. As needed, the Sabes JCC offers membership scholarships to help make the Wellness Program accessible.
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