The "Why" Behind The Tasting Experience

March 27, 2024

The "Why" Behind The Tasting Experience

Jewish Family & Career Services (JF&CS) provides best-in-class services to adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD), supporting them to live fulfilling lives as independently as possible. We are pleased to announce that this year, ALL of our nonsectarian IDD services will benefit from the proceeds of The Tasting Experience on May 2, 2024, which includes the Zimmerman-Horowitz Independent Living Program (Z-H ILP), our Community Access Program and Supported Employment Program.

“The funds raised from this event fill the funding gaps for all of our programs that provide services to adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities,” said Jessica Katz, Director of Development. “Money is raised from sponsorships, ticket sales, silent auction and donations. The community comes together to support The Tasting Experience, and it is great to see how many people care so much.

Larry Smith: A Champion of Inclusion

At this year’s event, we are proud to present the inaugural Champion of Inclusion Award. This award celebrates those who have changed the landscape for individuals with disabilities, and we are honored to recognize Larry Smith for his commitment to creating a more inclusive and supportive world for all.

Larry dedicated nearly 20 years of his life to Home Depot, while simultaneously advocating for individuals with autism and developmental disabilities. He’s been a board member of The Marcus Foundation since its inception and a founding board member of the Marcus Autism Center, where his commitment to supporting individuals on the autism spectrum flourished. Larry’s continued work in the disabilities arena is an inspiration to us all.

“It has truly been our pleasure working with our inaugural Champion of Inclusion Award winner, Larry Smith, leading up to this event,” said Allison Holmes, Events & Special Projects Manager. “He is an incredibly humble man who has truly changed the landscape for individuals with disabilities and accomplished so much!”

About Our IDD Programs:

Community Access Program

Our Community Access Program is a community integration program which provides day-to-day engagement and enrichment for our clients. We do these by exploring the community through group outings and activities, as well as classes like cooking, yoga, music, gardening and more. Participants follow a schedule of learning and socializing activities, led by our team of Direct Support Professionals (DSP).

“I am beyond thrilled that we will be featured at The Tasting Experience this year. The financial support will help us advance our work in so many areas of our programming,” said Abby Frantz, Community Access Program Manager.

As part of The Tasting Experience this year, guests will be treated to a special performance from members of our IDDS Choir, comprised of IDD clients and the DSPs who work with them in the Community Access Program.

Supported Employment

The Supported Employment Program equips IDD clients with the skills to secure and maintain employment within their community. Clients are given enhanced accessibility to opportunities and effectively positioned to secure employment.

“The proceeds generated from the Tasting event will contribute to the expansion of the Supported Employment program,” said Lillian Gibson, MRC, Director of Supported Employment. “I am enthusiastic about contributing to the advancement of our program through the provision of this support. My mission is to enhance the quality of life for clients by providing supported employment opportunities, thereby positively impacting the lives of individuals with disabilities.”

Lillian is in the process of developing and implementing a novel initiative called the ‘Skills 4 Success’ training program, which will be advantageous to both employed clients and those seeking employment. Course topics will include self-advocacy, active listening, time management, workplace professionalism, financial management, teamwork, and fundamental computer skills.

Zimmerman-Horowitz Independent Living Program (Z-H ILP)

The Zimmerman-Horowitz Independent Living Program empowers clients with IDD to live as independently as possible. Depending on the level of need, clients receive support either in their own homes or live with peers in our Community Residential Alternative, often called a Group Home.

No matter the setting, our compassionate and skilled staff works with each individual client to teach the skills needed for independent living, including money management, cooking and cleaning, household management, laundry and social skills.

We’re excited that proceeds from this annual event will now benefit all of our IDD services, improving the quality of life for all of our clients. To join us in the food and fun, purchase your ticket here.