Welcome back to Jewish Community Services’ quarterly newsletter for individuals with disabilities, their family members, their caregivers, and the community that supports our programs. In our December edition, we are excited to bring JCS news, policy updates, resources for families, fall event and program recaps, words from our residents and staff, and more to YOU – our JCS family! 
Can't Wait to See You

On November 29, JCS officially transitioned to a hybrid model of operations, resuming in-person services at both our Park Heights and Owings Mills offices while also continuing to offer telehealth and remote service options, as appropriate. 

Moving forward, our staff will work with each client to determine the best means of service delivery based upon their needs, accessibility, and regulatory considerations. 

To safeguard the health and safety of our staff and clients, the following protocols will be in place for anyone visiting our offices: 
  • Proof of vaccination is required
  • Prior to arriving at our offices, employees, clients, and visitors must complete an online health screening found at https://bit.ly/enter-jcs. (If unable to complete the online form, call 410-466-9200.) 
  • Upon arrival at our offices, employees, clients, and visitors will be asked to provide the code received after submitting the online health screening and temperature will be taken by a touchless thermo-scan reader. 
  • Masks are required throughout our offices. 
  • Social distancing must be observed. 

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 websiteFacebookTwitter, and in our e-newsletter (subscribe here).    
Updates to Appendix K

Appendix K may be used by states during emergency situations to request amendments to approved Home and Community Based waivers. A memo went out in August that categorized Appendix K flexibilities based on their termination date, where applicable, and by authority source. Updates as of December 6 have been made concerning various extensions and planning for re-opening safely, which include but are not limited to: 
  • The waiver of training requirements for family members providing services, which allowed family members to be hired and not receive trainings until after the 90 days of the State of Emergency Plan ending has been extended until 12/31/21 
  • Telephonic and remote virtual services may remain in place under the service recipient’s Personal Center Plan until 12/31/21 
  • Legal guardians and relatives may be paid in the community-based programs until 12/31/21; however, there are some extension exceptions that can be found in the self-direction waiver 
In support of these extensions, the Maryland Department of Health, the Maryland Department of Disabilities, and the Developmental Disabilities Coalition have reached consensus on the following actions: 
  • Extend pertinent Appendix K and related COVID flexibilities 
  • Promulgate emergency regulations to continue to allow a minimum of less than six hours for billing for meaningful day services 
  • Create a sustainable plan over three years that factors in the annual four percent cost of living adjustment and enhanced payments under the American Rescue Plan Act 2021 
  • Accelerate the completion of the developmental disabilities provider rate setting study 

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. 
Opportunities Surface During COVID for Workers of All Abilities
By Jean Davis, Director of Economic Sufficiency, JCS 
For most of us, the COVID pandemic has upended how we work. While some, unfortunately, were separated from their jobs, others were deemed essential or were able to shift to remote work. We often view changes due to COVID as a challenge we had to overcome or adapt to, but for some, this was an opportunity. 
For Our Family, it's a Huge Step
By Beth Hecht, parent of a child with disabilities 
It was always our fervent wish and dream that Daniel would eventually move out and live on his own. We were blessed to find a program which specializes in working with adults with Autism, who guided and assisted us through the planning of this huge step. 
Direct Support Professionals Recognition Week
JCS celebrated DSPW (Sept 12-18) with many activities and appreciation for our heroes such as delicious treats, handwritten thank you notes, Ice Cream Icy’s, and a special video! Check out our heroes in action.
Sukkot in the Sukkah
On September 23, we were planning to head outside into the Sukkah at the JCC, but unfortunately, it was a very rainy day. We didn’t let the rain dampen our fun! We brought the event inside and worked on a great volunteer project, making soup kits to donate to Jewish Volunteer Connection. We also shared lunch and sweet treats.
Community Development Services
On October 18, we returned to in-person Community Development Services (CDS) held at the Park Heights JCC. We purchased many new items to use, including job readiness books in braille and print, recreation items, kitchen tools and ingredients for cooking, and much more. We are creating new internship opportunities and have begun one with Our Daily Bread where we are volunteering once a week. We have also created an amazing partnership with Jewish Volunteer Connection and have completed some of their volunteer projects.
Hanukkah Hoopla
On December 2, we had a Hanukkah party in the Park Heights JCC auditorium. Attendees enjoyed music and games by DJ Mike on the Mic. This party was the first of our hybrid events where individuals and families chose between in-person and virtual attendance. In keeping with JCS COVID policies, all who attended in-person were fully vaccinated and followed all of the CDC recommended precautions. Individuals were able to dance and socialize within their table pods and took home a bag of wrapped goodies and favors to enjoy.
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. Want to be part of the change you wish to see in the world? Check out open positions with JCS Support Services for Individuals with Disabilities (SSID) and Employment Support Services (ESS): 

See more JCS job openings
Meaningful Day Activities 
Various days and times 

Book club, fun and fitness, cooking, games, movies, and more! Enjoy enriching activities throughout the week with new and old friends.
Polar Bear Plunge 
January 28 - February 5 

Join the 2022 MSP Polar Bear Plunge and help provide year-round sports and leadership programs for 6,102 athletes of Special Olympics Maryland.
Jewish Disability Awareness & Inclusion Month
Save the Date:
February 2022
Weekly speaker series open to the community.
Purim Party
Save the Date: March 10, 2022
Park Heights JCC
Passover Event
Save the Date: April 7, 2022 
Park Heights JCC
To stay up-to-date on our events and programs, visit jcsbalt.org and take a look at our Events Calendar.
Meet Abisola Akinrinade 
Job Coach, Employment Support Services 

“I am a mental health professional with 18 years of case management experience with various organizations, working with various populations.

My new position at JCS has enabled me to use my vast experience preparing individuals in employment related matters. Working with individuals who have behavioral health issues has helped me to understand the strength of each person I work with, which enables me to know where they would benefit from help to find the best employment positions for them.

I really like helping individuals feel a sense of accomplishment in their everyday lives and I appreciate my friendly team of colleagues, not to mention my great supervisor who is ready to listen no matter what time I call her. I am here at JCS and I like it!"
Meet Erika 

“I am an adult with disabilities and mental health issues who has received services through the JCS Supported Living Program and Employment Support Services since 2019. Before coming to JCS, I graduated from Pikesville High School, went on to earn my AA degree in IT, and worked for a while at Walgreens and CVS. I'm remarkably close with my family who helped me find the support available at JCS where I now work with a Personal Support Staff and Job Coach. Some of my favorite things to do are walking in the community with my Personal Support Staff, going to the dollar store, and eating out. I have also joined the disabilities council committee at JCS. My goal is to become independent and live on my own in my apartment, but it has been an extremely hard transition for me to leave my childhood home due to my mom being ill. I do my best to take care of my apartment with great care and pride. My staff help me with keeping it clean, too. I am eager to get back into the workforce and am always learning new skills like how and when to spend money, pay bills, go to the doctors, and gain more job knowledge. JCS continues to help me with all my needs and I am happy that I can rely on my staff, who I really like, and family."
Ingredients for the cookies - 3 cups of all-purpose flour, 1.5 teaspoons of baking powder, .5 teaspoon of salt, 1 cup of butter softened to room temp, 1 cup of sugar, 1 large egg slightly beaten, 3 tablespoons of whipping cream, 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract (can substitute almond extract) 

Ingredients for the icing - .33 cups of softened butter, 1 pound of powdered sugar, .25 cups of milk, 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract 

Directions for the cookies - (1) whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt; (2) beat together the softened butter and sugar until creamy; (3) mix in the egg and vanilla, followed by the whipping cream; (4) mix in the flour mixture until no more dry streaks of flour remain; (5) divide the dough in two, roll each half out between two sheets of parchment paper; (6) transfer the sheets of dough, still sandwiched between parchment, to the fridge to chill for at least one hour or up to overnight; (7) heat the oven to 400°F; (8) use cookie cutters to cut out the cookie shapes; (9) transfer the cookies to a cookie sheet; (10) bake 5-8 minutes; (11) let cool completely 
Directions for the icing - (1) beat together Crisco or butter, powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla extract until smooth; (2) if your icing is too thick to spread evenly, add tiny amounts of milk and thoroughly mix until the icing is the consistency you prefer; (3) separate into different bowls, add food coloring to achieve various colors; (4) spread the icing onto the cookies, use piping bags for decorative accents or add sprinkles, sugar pearls, and more, if desired 
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.