We are pleased to share the latest edition of our quarterly newsletter with news, updates, and highlights from our Support Services for Individuals with Disabilities and Employment Support Services. Like you, we are looking forward to the arrival of spring and all the possibilities it brings. 
Jewish Community Services News
Over the last few weeks, COVID cases in Maryland have declined to below 1.5%. Due to the decline in positivity rates, Jewish Community Services returned to our hybrid model of service and regular in-office schedules on March 7th, 2022. Clients were afforded the flexibility to be seen in our offices or remain receiving virtual services, based on their preferences, as appropriate. All safety protocols remain in place. Staff, clients, and visitors to the building are required to be vaccinated, complete the health screening, wear a suitable mask (please see CDC (Centers for Disease Control) recommendations) and we continue to suggest appropriate hand sanitizing.

As we have throughout the pandemic, we will continue to monitor the public health situation, as well as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) and State of Maryland Guidelines and consult closely with The Associated and our community health partners to ensure safety, adjusting our plans if needed. Should updates be necessary, we will post them on our website, Facebook, Twitter, and in our e-newsletter (subscribe here).
Updates to Appendix K

Recent updates to Appendix K guidance concerning various extensions and planning for re-opening safely. 

Appendix K may be used by states during emergency situations to request amendments to approved Home and Community Based waivers. A tables content and memo went to all stake holders on 8/13/21 and providers that categorize the Appendix K flexibilities based on their termination date, where applicable, and by authority source. There were several Flexibilities noted that will have some service-level exceptions through DDA’s Waiver Amendment #3 or via recently revised DDA processes post Appendix K termination. As of 3/15/22, flexibilities that were due to expire on 3/31/22 have now been extended through 6/30/22.

Key flexibilities extended through 6/30/22 include (but are not limited to):  
  • Remote/virtual supports
  • Providers allowed to bill for a day of service if at least one hour of meaningful day service is provided
  • Day supports allowed to be provided in someone’s home. 
  • Additional 8 hours of funding provided for people who are spending daytime hours at home in residential settings 
  • Family members allowed to act as paid staff 

For a complete, detailed list of the flexibilities and Executive Orders, please click here.

These updates and more can be accessed on the DDA COVID-19 Resource page.  

*Appendix K is a temporary regulatory change to the Medicaid Waiver put in place as an emergency response to the pandemic. Among other services that the adaptation to the waiver allowed, the DDA was able to offer family members of individuals receiving services the opportunity to be the “staff” for their loved ones. Those family members could be hired by providers as Appendix K employees to work on the goals and outcomes that their “regular” personal supports staff would normally help their loved ones to learn. 
A is for Able Artist!
By Debbie Hart

Since the time I was 3 years old, I have worked diligently to give the best quality of life to my sister, one of the very first residents of Jewish Family Services’ - now Jewish Community Services - group homes.

Barbara is a very special individual with special needs. She brings joy and love to those she is around. It is truly a blessing to be with her and to see her growth and potential.

When Barbara was born there weren’t the kind of services there are today. My parents and family worked vigilantly to provide her with a situation whereby she would have independence within a group home setting to carry on her life in the best possible manner.

Unfortunately, it was not until after our parents were both gone that Barbara was discovered as an artist through the CASE program at CCBC. Subsequently, she has taken many art classes through her day program and become a successful Visual and Ceramic Artist. Barbara is extremely proud of her abilities and continues to prove how “ABLE” a Learning-Disabled person can be!
It's a Meaningful Day
By Jamie Leboe

It’s Monday at 5:00 pm and Cooking Class is about to begin. Part of Jewish Community Services’ Meaningful Day Activities for Individuals with Varying Abilities, this class – along with others such as Book Club, Arts & Crafts, Job Club, and more – enriches the lives of individuals with chronic behavioral health challenges or developmental disability diagnoses.
Purim Party
On March 10th, JCS had a virtual Purim party. The party was hosted by DJ Mike on the mic. Clients had the opportunity to participate in a drive by party favor pick up at the JCS Park Heights location. The Purim party was open to the community. Clients and community members were able to join in on the fun, following along with DJ Mike, dancing and participating in fun virtual games.
Community Development Services
Fortunately, COVID positivity rates are down, allowing us to return to a hybrid model of service as of March 7th. We now have a robust virtual schedule that includes 8 classes, and we are always trying out additional classes to add to our offerings. We are also partnering with our sister cluster, Prevention Education, to bring a series of valuable programs to our clients. We have plans to bring a series on money management via Zoom as well.
BJAA provided a variety of JDAIM activities and programs offered by the agencies of the Associated system. On March 8th, 2022, BJAA hosted a panel discussion where the associated agencies provided information on the services and resources they offer to assist individuals of varying abilities to live, work, and to have full membership in their communities. Each participant received a swag bag with resource materials and other items provided by the participating agencies.
The Ignite Career Center, Employment Support Services program sponsored a weekly speaker series during the month of February in recognition of Jewish Disability Awareness, Acceptance, and Inclusion Month [JDAIM]. We highlighted speakers from within our JCS professional community and brought in professionals to present important topics. Participants received information on how to plan for their loved one's future by creating a disabilities trust, empowering individuals with disabilities to become self-advocates and strategies used to cultivate and maintain employer relationships to create work opportunities for people with varying abilities.
Jewish Disability Advocacy Day (JDAD) 2022
The Network of Jewish Human Services Agencies provided two powerful days of education, engagement, and advocacy. This national event was held virtually on February 23rd and 24th. Breaking Down Barriers was the opening ceremony topic on the evening of February 23rd. Participants were able to hear from remarkable community members with disabilities, who shared their personal stories and challenges they faced and overcame. February 24th, Advocacy Day allowed participants to hear from leading members of congress, disability advocacy champions, and experts who helped us to better understand the obstacles of inclusion.
Meaningful Day Activities 
Various days and times 

At the beginning of the new year, we created new virtual meaningful day programming. We have kept some old classes that everyone enjoyed and added some new exciting offerings to our calendar. Some of the newly added classes are a talent show, social skills group, and arts and crafts. You can find a full schedule of virtual classes by clicking the link below.
Virtual Passover Seder
for Individuals with Varying Abilities

Thursday, April 7
7:00 – 8:00 pm via Zoom

Passover is a time to celebrate freedom as we recall our ancestors' exodus from Egypt. We welcome community members with varying abilities and their families to an interactive Seder filled with songs and meaningful readings.

Free and open to the public. Pre-registration required.
An ASL Interpreter will be available during programming, made possible by the Macks Center for Jewish Education.
To stay up-to-date on our events and programs, visit jcsbalt.org and take a look at our Events Calendar.
Meet Dina

“Dina is a smart, energetic, performing machine”, exclaims Tina Ash, Associate Senior Manager of our SSID department. She doesn’t shy away from displaying her talent of dancing and singing and welcomes any and every opportunity to steal the spotlight. During the pandemic, to combat feelings of isolation and loneliness, Dina seized the opportunity to learn and master all the songs and choreography in the movie: “High school musical.” Dina is a ball of fun, there are no dull moments with her. 

Dina lived with her mother and older brother in Pikesville. Dina has 4 brothers and a younger sister. The family relocated to Baltimore from Indiana in 2016 to be near to some of her siblings.  
They applied for DDA services for Dina and although she had received services in Indiana, she was placed on a wait list in Maryland and remained at home until she was approved for Residential funding and moved into Bland Ave, one of nine, JCS group homes, in 2019. 
Dina adjusted well to her new environment on Bland Avenue; however, her roommates took some time to adjust to her strong personality. Dina enjoys drawing cartoon characters and coloring pictures from her favorite show. Moving to the residence expanded Dina's world greatly and she blossomed socially. Dina loves to dance and attend parties with her roommates. She enjoys interacting with peers who are also observant members of the Jewish community. The residence is not far from her mother's apartment and those of other family members, so she can see them often. Dina started to attend the Chimes in 2019 and really enjoys attending. Dina looks forward to making many memories at her permanent home in JCS."
Kenny Jackson 
Direct Support Professional

“I have worked as a Direct Support Professional in Support Services for Individuals with Disabilities at JCS since 1998 in different capacities including providing 1:1 services to a very challenging individual to being a Program Coordinator. Since my mother took ill a few years ago I did not want to leave my JCS family and took on a role as an overnight staff at one of the Community Living Group Homes that JCS provides services to. This is a very rewarding and humbling experience to provide care to individuals with a variety of personalities and needs. I provide daily direct support care with activities of daily living including hygiene care, medication administration, meal prep, doctor’s appointments, and everyone’s personal favorite – planning community outings and desired activities. I have been on several week-long vacations with the individuals that I serve, and it gave me great joy to be a part of them enjoying themselves at places like Ocean City, Maryland, Wildwood, New Jersey, and Six Flags - just to name a few. I have also met a lot of great co-workers and have formed long-time friendships. It’s an honor to work alongside others who also share the desire to improve the quality of life of those whom we provide services to and support daily."  
Monique M. Shearn
Direct Support Professional

“I am a counselor that works with vulnerable/intellectual disability adults who need assistance with daily living skills. To be effective with this job, a counselor needs to be patient and understanding of the needs of the individuals they service. A counselor needs to understand that each individual needs should be addressed differently but with the same amount of concern and care as they would want someone to treat their loved ones. My job allows me to make a difference in someone’s life who needs help, love, and understanding.

My focus is to be an advocate for individuals who struggle with expressing their needs effectively. Working at Jewish Community Services has taught me positive work ethics and integrity. My experience working with JCS is rewarding because of their dedication to their employees and individuals. One moment that stands out to me is when JCS sent each employee a letter about Baltimore Jewish Council Stands Against Injustice and Discrimination; that let me know that JCS cares about their employees and the community. JCS is a place where I want to grow and retire because of the many great people and individuals that I have worked with over the years. JCS represents excellence with great leadership and the understanding of helping individuals in need of service. Each supervisor I have had the privilege of working with demonstrated great strength and leadership in teaching their employees and individuals how to provide quality and effective services."
Our diverse team of professionals is dedicated to creating a community in which every person can achieve their highest quality of life and well-being. Join us in fulfilling that vision. We have open positions in out Support Services for Individuals with Disabilities (SSID) and Employment Support Services (ESS): 

See more JCS job openings.
Package of nestle morsels or any brand chocolate chip you like (either milk or dark chocolate) 
6 egg white 
1/4 cup sugar 
1tsp vanilla 
1 package coconut flakes 
Preheat oven to 450 
Melt chocolate morsels in pot over boiling water. Be sure no water splashes into chocolate. 
Separate eggs. Do each egg separately and then put each into large bowl, that way you make sure no yolk gets in. Beat on high speed slowly adding sugar and vanilla until stiff peaks form. Fold in bag of coconut and gently mix. When mixed add melted chocolate and mix well. 
Place a tablespoon size dollop on either parchment paper or very lightly greased cookie sheet. Leave about 2” between. 
Place in oven for about 6-8 minutes. Check that it looks glossy on top, and bottom looks firm. Can burn bottom easily so check after 6 minutes. Take out and cool on rack if you have one; if not, put on plate.

Repeat until all mixture is used. 
JCS provides a range of community-based services for individuals with disabilities and their families through supported living, residential services, and employment support services.  
Our mission is to enable people with differing abilities to live, learn, work, and otherwise participate as full members of their Jewish and general communities. We are dedicated to ensuring all individuals have the same opportunities that are open to other community members; that is, the ability and support to live a dignified lifestyle with opportunities for growth, friendship, recreation, and choice. 
Learn more at jcsbalt.org/disabilities.