16 February 2021
A reflection from Marcy Bennett, Director of MOST Programs and Northern Virginia Residential Services
Jewish Foundation for Group Homes
Bridging the gap between the completion of secondary school and joining the adult workforce can be a challenge for young adults with disabilities because real-life guidance is often limited. That’s where the Jewish Foundation for Group Homes (JFGH) Sally and Robert Meaningful Opportunities for Successful Transitions (MOST™) Program comes in. Since 2008, more than 200 people have accessed the program, with 83 percent successfully completing the term. For a full year, MOST™ participants experience an individualized program that not only helps them hone social skills necessary for the workforce, but also encourages them to explore different paths and follow their own passions in life.
While the flagship location is in Rockville, the program has since grown to include two additional locations in Virginia. As a result of the overwhelming need for transitions programs, Loudoun County officials requested a MOST™ location, and in March 2020, JFGH planned to be thrilled to welcome more hopeful faces to the newest location. However, participants have not been able to be supported within MOST™ walls since the pandemic began. Understanding the critical role MOST™ plays, staff very quickly came together to ensure a continuity of services for those already in the program and to figure out how to welcome new young adults to the program.
Utilizing new and existing partnerships, the MOST™ Program has been able to continue to provide participants with meaningful, engaging opportunities in an entirely virtual world. Not missing a beat, participants are able to access social skills training, fitness and movement classes, career preparation and exploration and opportunities to engage with others through lunch gatherings and interest groups. Delving into the virtual space has opened doors, as well. MOST™ participant Emily has found a way to connect with the greater community through her new podcast Adulting with MOST. Patrick has found joy in sharing how-to videos on YouTube. This is just the start for these young adults.
While everyone at MOST™ misses being in person, the program continues to thrive and prove to be essential in reaching participants where they are—in their lives and living rooms—to guide them along a path to adulthood of their own choosing.
For more information, contact Marcy Bennett, Director of the MOST™ Program at firstname.lastname@example.org.