Supporting Young Adults with Disabilities to Live Independently
POINT is a unique program with supportive services that enables young adults, ages 21+, with
developmental and learning disabilities, including autism spectrum disorders, to live independently in apartments located throughout downtown White Plains. Participants engage in a variety of vocational, life skills training, and social activities and enjoy the camaraderie of others and the oversight of specialists provided by Westchester Jewish Community Services (WJCS) and Jewish Child Care Association (JCCA). Click here to view a video about the program.
Services that are provided through the POINT program include:
- Crisis intervention and 24-hour emergency coverage
- Counseling and social skills training
- Social and recreational opportunities
- Community activities
- Volunteer opportunities
- Exercise and sports
- Travel training and local and regional trips
- Wellness programs
- Service coordination and benefits management
- Life skills training in housekeeping, cooking and money and time management
- Vocational specialists who provide counseling, job development and job coaching.
Staffing is provided through a collaborative arrangement between Westchester Jewish Community Services and the Jewish Child Care Association, and includes:
- A full-time director
- Program specialists who support participants and help them coordinate their programs
- Life skills trainers
- Dedicated service coordinator
- Vocational specialists who provide counseling, job development and job coaching
- Instructors in wellness activities.
Initially mapped out in 2008 by families seeking a new model of placement for their young adults, POINT was designed to enable young people to live independently in apartments, with supports tailored to the needs of each participant. Participants receive a weekly visit from their program specialists to help them to achieve their personal goals and assist with any problem-solving needs.
A full calendar of activities is available to participants each month and includes movie nights, card and videogame tournaments, group dinners and volunteering as well as sports teams (softball, hockey, basketball, and bowling), Special Olympics, miniature golf, yoga, hiking and rock climbing.
In addition to having created a genuine community, POINT boasts a vocational participation rate that is most impressive. All POINT participants are expected to be actively engaged in employment, education, or volunteer opportunities. More than 50% of POINT participants are in paid employment, with the balance engaged in paid and unpaid internships, training programs or volunteer situations. This compares with the national rate of 85% unemployment among persons with developmental disabilities and demonstrates the value of supports in enhancing the skills of adults with special needs.
Families are an integral part of POINT. They participate in a number of committees that help to enhance program offerings, advise on program management and assist with accessing needed services for participants. Parents do fundraising and volunteer their talents to provide increased opportunities for the young adults.
POINT continues to grow and seeks young adults who have had some experience in living away from home, such as sleep-away camp, college, or a post-secondary residential program. They must be able to take medications independently and must demonstrate emotional stability prior to admission.
Families interested in finding out more about the POINT program can contact Barbara Greene, MPH, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 761-0600 X175.