NJHSA Professionals Affinity Group Spotlight
Network Affinity Groups 
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Engage, Connect & Learn From Your Peers!

The Network has launched a number of professional affinity groups in the last six months. These groups are designed for member agency professionals who wish to network with their colleagues from around the world to improve the work they do in their own communities. Affinity groups allow professionals to reflect on and share the work they are doing, gather information about best practices, return to their agencies with new ideas, and create learning opportunities for the NJHSA Network at large. Meetings are held in a number of formats including but not limited to Zoom video conferencing group discussions, topical presentations made by professionals from both within and outside of the Network, and webinars facilitated by Network partners. Each affinity group is facilitated by chair(s), dedicated to supporting the work of our Network!  
Disabilities Services Professionals Affinity Group
(A different professional affinity group will be highlighted each month.)

The Disabilities Services Professionals group met for the first time in late February 2019. The initial meeting was meet and greet style, attracting more than 20 professionals from across the Network. Participants got to know more about one another and then some of them even had a chance to meet face to face at the NJHSA Annual Conference in Atlanta in early April.

The second Disabilities Services Professionals Affinity Group call was held in mid-April via Zoom video conferencing, where even more attendees were afforded the opportunity to see each other! The group invited Aaron Kaufman, Senior Legislative Associate at the Jewish Federation of North America, to speak. He educated and enlightened the group on protecting the financial security of people with disabilities through the ABLE Age Adjustment Act and the Competitive Employment Act. Aaron provided the group with sample letters they could use to advocate for their population with the United States Senate and/or House of Representatives.

The group’s third call, “ From Longing to Belonging—A New Approach to Inclusion for Jewish Communal Agencies ,” will be held on Wednesday, June 19th at 3pm ET and is open to the entire Network. The Disabilities Services Professionals Affinity Group wanted to share this webinar with the Network because as a group, they realize that disabilities and disabilities rights impact all of us at every level. Drawing on her extensive personal and professional experience in the disability field, Shelly Christensen, MA, leader in the faith community disability inclusion movement, will break down the components of both the “why” and the “how” of successful inclusion efforts, giving Jewish professionals and lay leaders a path to developing communities that are more than a place to be included. They are places to belong. Learn more about the webinar here .

The group looks forward to hosting meetings over the next year that not only highlight areas of interests in the disability world, but also highlight member agencies who are doing innovative work in the field. Chairs Stacey Spencer, Program Manager of the Inclusion Program at JFCS Minneapolis, and Jamie Weiner, Manager of Disability Services and The Alexander Institute for Inclusion at JFS Houston, hope that as the group evolves, professionals can find support, and network with one another, as this is an important journey they are all on together. The two hope to continue to cultivate a safe place to share and grow ideas; a place to keep up with the ever growing and ever changing political climate surrounding disability rights and advocacy, and a place where new ideas can be shared and nurtured.  

Invigorated disabilities service professionals continue to connect through emails and post pictures of Zoom meetings on social media. Each meeting is a more cohesive experience as participants continue to engage and trust one another. Email Megan to join the group!

(Presented by the Disabilities Services Professionals Affinity Group)

Wednesday, June 19th – 3pm EDT

Disabilities Services Professionals Affinity Group Chairs
Stacey Spencer has been working with JFCS Minneapolis for almost 13 years. She is the Program Manager of the Inclusion Program, which coordinates efforts in raising awareness and increasing access for people with all abilities to participate fully in Jewish life. She was trained by The National Alliance for Direct Support Professionals (NADSP) to become a Direct Support Professional-I. She is passionate about supporting Jewish adults of all abilities by working with her community synagogues and other Jewish organizations on their important journey of being warm and welcoming to Jewish people with disabilities. She also does one-on-one home visits with Jewish adults to remove barriers that may prevent them from celebrating their Judaism. When not in the office, you can often find Stacey walking her very active Wire Fox Terrier, Otis; gardening (taking advantage of a relatively short Minnesota growing season!); enjoying precious family time with her adult children and husband; playing Scrabble and eating sushi.
Jamie Paul Weiner , LCSW, has been working with JFS Houston for 7 years this August. She began as the manager of their supported employment program, Celebration Company. She is now the Manager of Disability Services and The Alexander Institute for Inclusion- a think tank working towards lowering stigmas related to disabilities in the workplace, places of faith, and communal organizations through direct service, education, arts and advocacy.

Prior to her work at JFS, Jamie taught for 9 years at a private school for kids with disabilities. Jamie began her love for Jewish Communal work as a JCC day camp counselor and worked for a while at several JCCs in the area of elementary and middle school aged kids and enrichment activities. She received a JCCA Scholarship to attend Yeshiva University's Wurzweiler School of Social Work where she graduated with her MSW in 2001. Jamie lives in Houston with her supportive and loving husband, Eddie and their two creative, loud and loving kids, Eliana and Isaiah.
·     Clinical Service Professionals
·     COOs (#2s)
·     Disabilities Services Professionals
·     Holocaust Survivor Service Professionals
·     Home Health Agency Administrators
·     IT Professionals
·     Lay Leadership
·     Marketing & Communications Professionals
·     Older Adult Service Professionals
·     Refugee Service Professionals
·     Small Agency Executives
·     Volunteer Service Professionals
·     Workforce Development Executives
·     Workforce Development Professionals
How to Join
Member agency professionals are encouraged to email Megan to join an affinity group. Groups meet periodically via Zoom video conferencing. Web cams are available at no charge to those in need of a camera. Email Lisa for details. 

How to Access Call/Webinar Access Links (On Your Own)
Member agency professionals are encouraged to visit the Members Only section of the NJHSA website to obtain call and webinar access and registration links housed on the Calls & Webinars page. Email Megan for logins