May 2020 -- Iyar-Sivan 5780,  Volume 26, Issue 5

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Mother Cabrini Health Foundation Awards $125,000 Grant to Support WJCS Group Homes During COVID-19

The Mother Cabrini Health Foundation has awarded a $125,000 grant to WJCS-Westchester Jewish Community Services for emergency COVID-19 funding to ensure the safety and wellbeing of the 95 developmentally disabled adults who reside 24/7 in 13 WJCS group homes and the180 hands-on direct service professionals and program specialists who provide the highest quality care and services to them.


The coronavirus pandemic has presented unprecedented challenges in maintaining the health and safety of residents in WJCS group homes, licensed by the New York State Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD). Group Home facilities are especially vulnerable to COVID-19, a disease that spreads easily and can be particularly dangerous for people with pre-existing conditions, including those with developmental disabilities who might also have specific health problems. The residents living in WJCS Group Homes need full-time support and staff available 24/7 to help with basic everyday activities, from cooking and getting ready for the day to personal care. Especially now, direct service professionals are providing life-saving services to the group home residents.


The grant from Mother Cabrini Health Foundation will help WJCS to:


Keep our staff healthy: Funding from Mother Cabrini Health Foundation will support the purchase of the vital equipment needed to allow group home staff to safely do their jobs and to keep residents safe. It will protect the staff and residents from infection by reducing the risk of transmission of the virus in the group homes. Grant funding will help WJCS purchase necessary Personal Protective Equipment, such as, surgical masks, N95 masks, face shields, goggles, gowns, isolation suits, shoe booties, gloves and thermometers.


Reduce feelings of social isolation among group home residents: “Social distancing” has temporarily ended family visitation at WJCS Group Homes as well as all day programs for residents, leading to agitation and behavioral problems with residents. WJS is actively using technology (video conferencing/phone calls) to help connect residents to their families, engage in virtual games and activities, and alleviate feelings of isolation and loneliness. Grant funding will allow WJCS to purchase more devices and increase its virtual programming for group home residents.


"Our direct service professionals are heroes and we need to give them the tools they need to safely and properly do their jobs," said WJCS CEO Seth Diamond. "W are grateful to the Mother Cabrini Health Foundation for their grant which will strongly support these workers. The work of the group home staff is hands on and our staff wok closely with the residents every hour of every day. This funding will allow that critical work to continue and will protect the health of our staff, our residents, and our community."


WJCS-Westchester Jewish Community Services has been serving those most vulnerable in Westchester, including individuals with Intellectual and/or Developmental Disabilities. since its founding in 1943. It is a non-sectarian, not-for-profit, trauma-informed human service agency and its mission is to help people of all ages and backgrounds cope with emotional, cognitive, environmental, physical, interpersonal, social, and educational challenges. Agency experts, using evidence-based practices, provide youth, mental health, trauma, disabilities, home care, and geriatric services to approximately 20,000 people annually, It also offers privately-funded educational and spiritual programs for the Jewish community. For more information, please visit


The Mother Cabrini Health Foundation is a private, nonprofit organization with the mission to improve the health and well-being of the vulnerable New Yorkers, bolster the health outcomes of targeted communities, eliminate barriers to care, and bridge gaps in health services. The Foundation – which is named in memory of a tireless advocate for immigrants, children, and the poor – provides flexible support for new and innovative approaches that enhance health and wellness across New York State. For more information, visit