Jawonio Means “Independence”

With Independence Day weekend upon us, we felt it would be a great time to share this truly inspiring story of Independence in our community. After all, Jawonio is a Native American word that means “Independence” and it’s a cornerstone of our mission, which is to advance the independence, wellbeing and equality of people with disabilities and special needs.

Independence means something different to all of us, but if you ask many of the adults in our community, they will tell you that Independence is the right to the same opportunities afforded anyone else. That includes the opportunity to work, earn a living, and support yourself. As you read this story, please consider if there is more you can do to help people with disabilities achieve greater independence. Much is being done in New York right now to create jobs for people with disabilities, and if you are a business owner, there is plenty of incentive to hire people with disabilities. Share with your employer and legislators that an inclusive workforce is good for business, and good for society! Check out the resources at the bottom for more information on how you can get involved in providing meaningful employment for people with special needs.

Ed Pederson

Ed Pederson has been a part of Jawonio for nearly 15 years. He was referred to Jawonio after a period of rehabilitation after suffering a serious head injury at work. Ed began working at the Jawonio Work Center in Rockland, which for over 40 years had provided services such as packaging, product assembly, mailing/sorting and more, for businesses in the tri-state area. In addition to receiving a paycheck, Ed found that steady work in a safe and friendly environment had a big impact on his health and self-esteem.

I was not able to work for many years. Jawonio gave me a chance to get back on my feet again when I didn’t feel good enough. Being at the Jawonio Work Center it built me back up. I loved my work there, it was ‘piece’ work at first, but I liked the repetition. I liked the work. The stronger I got, the better at it I got.

Ed was one of the Work Centers best employees and loved the environment on the Work Center floor.

Four years ago, Jawonio began the process of phasing out its Work Centers and Jawonio Employment Staff have been successful in transitioning and placing Work Center employees into new job opportunities, or day habilitation services. Last year, Ed began training as an employee in one of our Jawonio Businesses – eBizDocs Document Imaging.

Today, eBizDocs, in collaboration with Jawonio, provides document imaging solutions for companies, state agencies, local governments, and other organizations. Over 50% of the eBizDocs workforce has a self-disclosed disability of some type and the company provides tons of training, coaching and supports so that employees not only have the skills to thrive at work but also in daily life.

I like working together with everyone, and I feel this is a real job now and I really enjoy coming to work.

Jawonio Employment Counselor, Julio Vargas, says this of Ed: “It is gratifying to see that Ed has achieved his goal in going from a supervised work setting to an independent work setting which is exactly what Jawonio is all about.”

And Victor Figurelli, Production Manager, eBizDocs/Jawonio Document Imaging adds, “I trust Ed to perform well with every document he is working on. He is meticulous in his work, and has an incredible attention to detail. His work ethic is outstanding.”

Ed’s birthday is July 4th. It seems the perfect date for a man who truly epitomizes the journey towards independence.

I always try to do the best I can do, and what I see here at Jawonio is that everyone else is doing their best too.

Happy Birthday Ed and Happy Independence Day to all!

Jawonio Employment Ed Pedersen


Inspired by Ed’s story? Check out these resources to do more:

Hiring People with Disabilities: http://www.sba.gov/content/hiring-people-with-disabilities
Bottom Line Benefits for Business: http://www.jawonio.org/for-businesses/hire-people-with-disabilities/
Testimonials from Business Owners: http://www.jawonio.org/for-businesses/testimonials/
eBizDocs Works Philosophy: http://ebizdocs.com/diversity-abilities-work-ebizdocs/

Better Hearing Improves Family Life

Our senses play a big role in the decisions we make everyday and they shape our life and experiences.

Sound is one of the most important, but as we get older it starts to deteriorate, especially if you have high blood pressure, high cholesterol and/or diabetes. It is vital that you go for a hearing check as soon as you notice any change in your hearing so that deterioration can be spotted and treated as early as possible. Statistics show that someone with a hearing loss waits up to 7 years before getting a hearing evaluation, making it harder to successfully treat.

Earlier intervention can go a long way in helping you maintain a healthy level of hearing. Anyone over age 50 is recommended to get a routine hearing test, but we should also be alert to hearing changes in our partner, parents, and children, as it could signal something more serious like a hearing disability. Don’t underestimate your role in bringing your loved one to a licensed and professional audiologist who can conduct a full range of diagnostic hearing tests to figure out the problem.

Hearing problems can affect the whole family by creating miscommunication, depression, decreased social activity and ‘family time’, and weakened relationships. Thus your whole family benefits when someone with hearing loss is helped.

Hearing aids are the most common item to help improve hearing, and there are also personal sound amplification products – small electronic sound amplifiers that help people hear things that are at low volume or at a distance (for example, enjoying nighttime TV without disturbing sleepers, or being able to hear a toddler from many yards away) and are not intended for a hearing loss greater than a very minimal one. Both are wearable, and some of their technology and function is similar, but only hearing aids are intended to make up for impaired hearing.

Digital technology has developed ten-fold since the inception of hearing products. Advances in technology mean that you or a family member can clearly hear the direction of traffic, as well as potential warnings over a loud speaker – generally improving safety, and hear others much better in a background of noise.

In children with hearing loss, the ideal solution is to create a custom hearing aid package that addresses their hearing needs at home, at school, and in their typical social settings. The prescription and adjustment of the hearing aid is critical for success, and your child’s audiologist should be expert in fitting hearing aids for infants, toddlers and older children. It is not a one size fits all industry.

While the technology itself does wonders, there may be adjustments that require additional counseling, education, or rehabilitation so that hearing needs can be met in many situations, such as hearing in groups, on the phone, with television and in crowds. Jawonio Audiologists know from many years of experience that your hearing healthcare needs are as individual as you are. For every patient, a personalized path to better hearing is developed, starting with a complete and thorough hearing evaluation. Our focus is not to make a sale– it is to find the best solution to your hearing deficit, whether that means referring you to an Ear, Nose and Throat physician or suggesting hearing aids and assistive devices. Only professionals like the ones you will find in our Jawonio Health Center Audiology department are committed to being by your side through the process of adapting to whatever devices are recommended for you, and using our knowledge, expertise and compassion to help you reach the highest possible level of hearing ability.

The Jawonio Health Center invites you to come in for a hearing checkup with our licensed and professional Audiologists. We offer a patient and family-centered approach to hearing healthcare for people of all ages. We also encourage you to spread the word that Jawonio’s Audiology services are available to the general public, and our expertise with children and adults with special needs gives us an extra advantage in the early intervention of hearing loss that can greatly benefit you and your family’s wellbeing. For an appointment call: 845.708.2000 x1310. We encourage you to bring your family with you to your appointment so that their input and observations can be included as part of the evaluation and rehabilitation process.

Jawonio Welcomes New Senior Staff

We welcome two new members to our senior team this month who will be integral to us as we continue to expand and grow Jawonio into a premiere, regional health care provider.

Matthew Shelley has joined the Jawonio team as Chief Program Officer. As CPO, Matt will oversee Jawonio’s service delivery programs. He brings a broad range of expertise to Jawonio, as he served as the Senior VP of Health and Human Services at the Greyston Foundation for the past 10 years. Before his work in the not-for-profit sector, Matt worked for Merck & Co. and was responsible for business planning and execution for Medco Health Solutions. Matt has a Bachelors in Economics and Psychology from Johns Hopkins University and his MBA in Strategy and Operations from The Wharton School.

Joe Bloss has joined the Jawonio team as Chief Business Officer. In this new CBO position, which includes all of the Chief Financial Officer’s responsibilities, Joe will provide oversight to the Purchasing, IT, Contract Negotion, and all related business activities for the corporation, as well as strategic development and implementation. Joe brings to Jawonio a wealth of experience within our industry, having held the lead finance position at PSCH, St. Vincent Catholic Medical Center, and VNA. I look forward to Joe’s contributions toward enhancing Jawonio’s business services and ongoing strategic development of its services.

Business at the Ballpark: eBizDocs at Jawonio Day (July 15)

eBizDocs will be among the Jawonio Businesses attending Jawonio Day (annual Active International/ Rockland Boulders Charity Challenge) on July 15th at Provident Bank Park in Pomona, NY… the home of the Rockland Boulders.

If you are a business owner or professional, plan to attend eBizDocs ‘lunch and learn’ taking place in the Rockland Boulders Owner’s Box between 11 am -2 pm. This is a free event but tickets should be purchased in advance here.

If your company or organization of any size is struggling with file management and organization, let the experts at eBizDocs show you how to get it and keep it under control – all while taking in a ball game and enjoying some fine food.

A no-pressure environment to discuss your business needs:

• Where to start if you’re looking to go paperless
• How to organize, implement, and maintain a records management plan that works for YOUR business
• The features and capabilities of a wide variety of Kodak Alaris scanners
• Our document management software complete with specialized demos
• Q&A — You bring the questions, we have the answers

eBizDocs is an award-winning electronic document management service provider that helps companies, state agencies, local governments and other organizations find electronic solutions. Over 50% of the eBizDocs workforce has a self-disclosed disability of some type. eBizDocs has actively embraced the full inclusion of people with disabilities since its founding over 13 years ago and it is a cornerstone of the business. The Jawonio-eBizDocs partnership expands document-digitizing services, while at the same time advancing the independence, well-being and equality of people with disabilities or special needs.

There are many reasons why your business benefits from inclusion – and we highly recommend you read more about eBizDocs decision to provide meaningful employment here: Diversity and Abilities Work for eBizDocs

See you at the ballpark!

Supporting Our Veterans with Special Needs

When veterans need help, the concerns they express are often ones that providers find especially challenging.

There’s a great need within the veteran community for additional services and additional support, including increased access to care and services at a local level, as vets play an important role in our communities.

Many see the government and the private sector working together more synergistically as a constructive approach to helping veterans, their families and caregivers. The need to create coordinated community approaches to supporting and engaging veterans and their families by bringing together diverse sets of resources and identifying new initiatives will be critical.

The very nature of veterans’ service will make them more susceptible to a range of behavioral health issues. PTSD, depression, and ongoing stress (to name only a few of the better understood issues) –brought on both during deployment and in trying to adjust to civilian life.

Some veterans don’t seek help until PTSD, substance abuse, and other problems have robbed them of everything.

It’s our job to get to them sooner. A therapeutic community approach can help close the “gap” in care for severely traumatized veterans. It’s important to keep awareness up so that we in the non-profit world can possibly meet some of the current shortfalls.

Large numbers of Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans are returning home with serious mental and emotional problems. There are many veterans that are part of the “Jawonio Family”, so caring for them is personal. This Memorial Day we at Jawonio are sensitive to the unseen issues and problems that veterans face and the need for more comprehensive support.

Please stay aware of veterans issues and be open to new ways of caring and supporting our veterans and their families.

Jawonio is working on integrating Veterans care into our services, and plans to be an asset to veterans and their families in our communities in an integrated and coordinated care environment.

To all who serve and have served– Jawonio thanks you for your service. And to our community, we wish you a wonderful Memorial Day weekend!