Pam Schuller, an internationally known advocate for individuals with disabilities, will be honored at Greater MetroWest ABLE’s “Celebrating Inclusion and Honoring our ABLE Awarded Partners” on Thursday, Feb. 25, at 7 p.m. at JCC MetroWest in West Orange.
At the event, marking Jewish Disability Awareness & Inclusion Month, Schuller will share her story of growing up with a severe case of Tourette syndrome and how she turned the challenges of the condition into professional and personal success.
Schuller is also the inclusion specialist for youth programs at Union for Reform Judaism.
Greater MetroWest ABLE (Access, Belonging, and Life Enrichment for People and Families with Special Needs) is a network of community leaders and professionals who work to raise awareness and champion the civil rights of people with disabilities.
GMW ABLE’s community inclusion coordinator, Rebecca Wanatick, said, “This program culminates a month-long celebration across Greater MetroWest, designed to support meaningful inclusion of people with disabilities and their families in every aspect of Jewish life, making our community a place made ‘whole and complete’ by all of its members.”
In 2010, in collaboration with clergy, professionals, and lay leadership, GMW ABLE developed “How Inclusive Are We? A Self-Assessment Tool for Synagogues.” After meeting benchmarks of inclusion, 11 area congregations have been designated ABLE Awarded partners. This year, a similar tool was produced for agencies. At the event, the newest ABLE Awarded synagogue and agency partners will also be honored.
“Together, we can foster a more inclusive Jewish community that emphasizes, first and foremost, the value, dignity, and capabilities of each and every individual,” said Wanatick.
A program of the Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest NJ, GMW ABLE is funded by the federation’s UJA Campaign, the Gruss-Lipper Family Foundation, the Linda Bunis Haller Foundation, the Joyce and Leonard Kulick Fund for Special Needs, and the Lester Z. Lieberman Special Needs Fund.