Spotlight on William Britt

img_3692Willy Britt is 80 years young and lives independently in an apartment in West Haverstraw. He is an artist, a creator, very witty and an absolute joy. Willy is an individual with special needs. How “special’ he truly is you are about to find out.

Willy grew up living in institutions.  When he was young, there were no programs for children like him yet he overcame many obstacles that he faced with determination and a positive attitude.  Years later, Willy is now an employee at the Rockland Conservatory of Music.  He has a job coach from Jawonio and a Service Coordinator from ARC.  He is a professional painter who is proud to display his art pieces at numerous art shows and has even sold many of them.

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Willy loves his job at Rockland Conservatory of Music. He started a work study program through Jawonio in 2007 and was officially hired in 2014.  He cleans that facility, takes out garbage, and greets staff and students and makes others happy at his job. He loves to paint, make repairs, create things out of wood and sing. Willy is independent and actively involved in the community; he cooks for himself, bowls every Tuesday and plays softball with Touching Bases.  The people he works with say he is sympathetic and cares so much about everyone.  “He has a beautiful heart,” says one staff member.  Pictured below are many of Willy’s art pieces.  Willy is also pictured below with Marigene Kettler, Executive Director and Martha Lerner, Director of Marketing and Community Relations at Rockland Conservatory.

Willy is an inspiration and he shares his many natural gifts with the world.  In 1986, Willy was honored with the Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr. Foundation Award for Outstanding Artistic Achievement at the Kennedy Center.  At the presentation, Maya Angelou read this poem she had written to honor Willy’s contribution:

William Britt by Maya Angelou

Fancy a distressed solitude, beyond the grasp of
human reason. So far separate the sounds are like
the noisome clattering of unwelcome guests, and affection
An inexplicable mirage

Fancy that William Britt lived in such desolation
from the age of five. The magic of puberty and the maelstrom
of adolescence arrived and departed leaving him locked
behind a door that had no key

A miracle happened. Divine imagination and
human concern reached into that barren otherness and
claimed Britt as Special. As Artist. He drew on paper,
on wooden boards and finally on canvas.

The triumph of William Britt is our triumph.
He is telling us our individual stories; despite the
ignorance which imprisons us, and the loneliness of
our lives, each of us can be reached and liberated by
Divine imagination and Human concern.

Greetings to the Special Artist who allows us
all to be special at his side.

Willy continues to paint every day in his art studio in his apartment and will continue to sell his art. Jawonio’s Employment Services and his Job Coach Stevenson, have played a very important part in Willy’s life, connecting him with and supporting him in his job.

Willy says, “I love my job and all the people I get to see there every day.”

Willy is a gift to the world and we are so very honored to share in his life.

You may view his art and purchase his paintings by calling Stevenson Durandisse at 845-708-2000, ext. 2319.

For more information about Job Placement Services contact Isabel Newmeyer, Coordinator at 845-708-2000 ext. 2391 or via email: isabel.newmeyer@jawonio.org. 

Jawonio Celebrates Employee Longevity

congrats-signJawonio celebrates the longevity of its staff every year.  This year we celebrated 1,175 cumulative years of service among our staff.  Starting at five years of service, employees are given a gift of appreciation and for those who have worked at Jawonio for ten years or longer, they are celebrated at our annual Longevity Breakfast.  This special event is an opportunity for us to acknowledge the years of service of our dedicated staff and the contributions that they have made to our organization and to the lives of the people we serve.
This year’s breakfast was held on Friday, December 2, 2016 where sixty employees who have worked at Jawonio for ten, fifteen, twenty, twenty-five and thirty years were honored for their years of service.  Each twenty, twenty-five and thirty year honoree was introduced by a supervisor who shared the special qualities each of them has brought to his/her work and the positive impact that they have had on the people they work with.

Madelon Berger, Jawonio Inc. Board Chairwoman and Jim Johansen,awards Jawonio Foundation Board President, both gave warm greetings andJill Warner, Jawonio CEO welcomed all and shared her pride in the work of our tremendously dedicated employees.

“We are a family for the individuals we care for.  Many of our employees have been with us for a long time which creates continuity with our consumers and helps us create that sense of family.  At times someone may decide to move from one position to another. We encourage growth at Jawonio and like to see people stay with our organization when they are seeking a change. Our dedicated employees are what makes Jawonio the special caring place that it is.” Jill Warner, CEO

Congratulations to all employees celebrating Longevity this year!

30 Years of Service

LAURA BUONANNO
(pictured here with Madelon Berger, Gail Nachimson and Jill Warner)
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25 Years of Service

JUDY FLORSHEIM
JEAN LUCIEN
THOMAS HUTTON
ISABEL NEWMEYER

20 Years of Service

UGUETTE JOURDAIN
FANIE JOSEPH
JEAN RODGERS
MARIE FLEURISMOND
MARIE FLEURIMOND
STACY BABCOCK
DIANA WEIR
GERALDINE JACKSON

15 Years of Service
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ELISA MCGUIRE
MARIE VAN DUNK
DADY BENOIT
FUSNEL TELFORT
MARIE FLORE JOSEPH
ALAN SQUITIERI
WESNER BELLANTON
GUERDY JOSEPH
JEAN DESTINE
CAROLYN VERRI
DURIE DEMAIO
DERRICK MASON
FRANTZ BEAUVAIS
JOSEPH REYNA
RAYMOND VASQUEZ
ROSE ELIAZAR
THELEMAQUE ABELARD
TERESA RUEDA
MARGUERITE AMBROISE
WILDA AUGUSTIN
MARISSA NARDIS
KATHLEEN ROSS
CLAIRE HILAIRE-JOISEUS
YOLENE FRANCOIS
ANNE MICHEL
DENISE GERSCH
GISELA HERNANDEZ-MENENDEZ

 

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Husband and wife, Shirley and Jean Lucien, celebrate their longevity, Shirley for 10 years and Jean for 25.

 

 

 

10 Years of Service

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PAUL PITTERSON
CIELO LASSO CANTILLO
CECILE LIN
ELY TEJADA
DRELIN GABRIEL
BRUNILDA GONZALEZ
VANESSA DIGGS
SHIRLEY LUCIEN
MARIE DESTINE
SHARI THOMAS
EMILY TYRRELL
CALEB NOEL
RICHARD WALSH
DANIEL AZEMAR
WILLIAM BRADLEY
SANTA SALTO
ANTOINETTE EDWARDS
SHEDRICKA EDWARDS
EDINA TURKIC
FERNANDO RAMIREZ

5 Years of Service
ELTA DORLUS
LIDWINE JEAN-BAPTISTE
MARY BABINEC
LELICE FORD
NEIL FABELLA
ADINA HINDS-SMITH
LITOYA PARKER
KISHA FRANCOIS
ANTONINE ST. BRICE
ALPHONSO TURNAGE
BASIL AARON
MAGDALINE CHARLES
STACEY RISKO
DEVIN MCGILL
SIMON OLSEN
CASMARAH YORK
BONNIE KURTZ
DANA FERRARO
MIRNA BOYCE
SHARI COBIN
THERESA GARIGLIANO
CARINA MANNO
SHANE SCHWARTZ
JENNA CORRENTE
SUSAN JARKIEWICZ
VANESSA FONTAINE
CHRISTOPHER O’KEEFE
ANGELO DAMETAS
MAUREEN HYATT
MARIE SAUVAL
TERRI SCHOENFELD
GARRET CIBELLI
JULIE FELDMAN
FELIPE GUTIERREZ
VETURIA JAKAB
MARION MCKENZIE
MIA WOLINSKY-ZAZON
ABIGAIL BAGLIONE
STEVENSON DURANDISSE
ROBERT HANDLER
SUZANNE MILLER
JOMARIE ZANGRILLI
ALICE SOWIN
SANDY WATSON
BRITTANY CASSIERE
KERWIN DALY
MARIE GILLIS
SHAMEKA MCCRAY
EVELYNE CHERY
JAYSON RAMOS
BARBARA STERN
SYNDIE CHARLEMAGNE
RANDY MCKINSTRY
FESSEHA HAILE
MAGALIE LINDOR
REINHARD HOFFMAN

For more information about careers at Jawonio go to our Careers Page: www.jawonio.org/careers

Staff SPOTLIGHT PROFILE – Christine Curley

christine-curley-headshotMeet Christine Curley who has been working at Jawonio for over 21 years.  She started as a Direct Support professional at the Bobbi Lewis House in Chestnut Ridge.  She worked there for about a year then transferred to Moskoff House where she has worked every since.  She moved into the position of House Manager in 1999.  Christine was introduced to Jawonio through her mother, who was a Licensed Practical Nurse at Jawonio and helped set up and open Cummings House.

As House Manager, Christine wears many hats.  She manages the house, staffing, scheduling, ensuring each resident is getting the care they need and advocating for them. Each day is different.  “I love what I do, managing the house and advocating for the residents.  We advocate every day for the best care for them and back them up in the choices that they make to have an independent, self-determined life.”

There is a wide range of needs of the residents of Moskoff House. Some are able to be more independent than others; one resident drives, another goes on an annual cruise with the Coffee House, a social group.  There’s also all age ranges in the house.

Christine went back to school and got certified as a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant.  This skills and knowledge she gained through this training, benefits her work with the residents, understanding their needs and the therapeutic interventions that are most effective.

She acknowledges that the flexibility and support she has gotten at Jawonio as an employee and  working mom, has been extremely helpful.  “We have a strong team at Moskoff, the staff all works really well together and supports each other.”  Residents stay a long time, staff is consistent.  The professional development the staff participates in includes topical retreats, internal and external trainings that all help to support their work.  She says that the retreats are a great because they deal with situations and concerns that are current for the staff and residents.

Christine has also been involved with Touching Bases, a baseball
league for 240 adults, ages 21 – 80, with disabilities that runs each fall. She has been involved for the past several years, the past three years as a coach for the Jawonio team. She is pictured here with volunteers touching-bases-team-shot-w-volswho assist players each week to throw, catch and run the bases.  She not only is a great coach but wonderful role model for the volunteers.  In fact her two teenage sons, Sean and Chris, have been volunteering with her for the past three years also.

This year we are so excited to congratulate Christine on winning Coach of the Year!

Reflecting on her work Christine says, “With the training I have, I could work in the Occupational Therapy field, but I’d have to leave my place here.  I can’t leave, the guys at Moskoff, they have my heart. The most rewarding part of my job is seeing the residents accomplish their goals and dreams. I love it.”

Thank you Christine for making our Jawonio Community such a caring place and Congratulations on earning Coach of the Year!

Employment Breakfast Awards

Last week Jawonio hosted our 23rd Annual Employment Recognition Breakfast at the Tarrytown DoubleTree Hilton. Opening remarks were made by Jill Warner, CEO, Madelon Berger, Board Chair and Stacey Kantrowitz, Progarm Director of Community Employment Services. Jawonio recognized our National Disability Employment Award Winners including; Rockland Music Conservatory, Uniqlo, WEROK, NCTRC, Stony Point Conference Center, Nyack College, TJ Maxx, CVS, Stop & Shop, Yonkers Riverfront Library, CH Martin, Unitex, St. Joseph’s Hospital, Meals on Wheels, Burlington Coat Factory. A highlight of the event was the presentation of the Joslin Outstanding Performance award to Travis Roberts-Leavitt by Bob Hammel of NYSID. Our guest speakers included Amarnauth Mahabal, of Uniqlo and Steven Messina, who works at Burlington Coat Factory. Employees also received award for 20 and 25 years of work through our program. Congratulations to all! 

 

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STAFF PROFILE – NATIONAL DISABILITY EMPLOYMENT MONTH

Meet Nichelle Brown who is a Job Coach in the Jawonio Community Employment Services Program based in Yonkers and has been at Jawonio for over 5 years. As a Job Coach, Nichelle provides employment supports and coaching to workers placed a companies throughout Westchester County including the DoubleTree by Hilton and Marriot in Tarrytown, Shoprite in New Rochelle among many others.
Before working in Community Employment, Nichelle started at Jawonio in the Day Habilitation program as a counselor. She got to know many of the program participants and othnichelle-with-norbert-shawn-and-david-who-work-at-the-double-treeer staff, then moved over to Employment after two years.

Nichelle got involved in this field from the start of her career. She stared at the Center for Family Support as a care manager where she worked for two years. Her inspiration was her family. She has a brother with a disability and has seen firsthand what’s needed to help a person be as independent as they can.

“The best part of doing my job is seeing the people I work with be happy with where they are and feel good about the work they are doing. Seeing them be independent and succeed is the best reward for me.” Nichelle emphasizes that a key aspect to her work is making sure that the workers are treated fairly in whatever environment they are working in and ensuring that they have the opportunities to address issues that may come up on the job.