Greater Atlanta Jewish Abilities Alliance website

Greater Atlanta Jewish Abilities Alliance website

By Michael Jacobs | mjacobs@atljewishtimes.com

Atlanta has a new resource to help people with disabilities and their families, thanks to the work of the Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta’s Disabilities Task Force.

The Greater Atlanta Jewish Abilities Alliance website launched just before Passover after months of preparation, including the creation of a 17-page resource directory that runs from AARP in Georgia to the Zimmerman-Horowitz Independent Living Program of Jewish Family & Career Services.

The website, which is for all of Atlanta, not just the Jewish community, uses a template created by Baltimore’s federation, The Associated, two years ago. About the same time, the Disabilities Task Force in Atlanta was assessing the community’s needs; Federation began funding the new focus on coordinating disability services in the summer of 2013.

When Baltimore last year offered federations a chance to follow its lead and form a national network of Jewish Abilities Alliance websites, the Atlanta Federation was the first to sign on, said Jaime Russo, Federation’s community disabilities coordinator.

“Our goal is to reach as many people as possible in Atlanta, both Jewish and non-Jewish, and have them utilize the website, starting as a child develops and continuing through adulthood,” Russo said.

The website fits Federation’s operation as a convener of service providers rather than a direct service provider. The site provides a one-stop shop for the full scope of services available to families dealing with disabilities, including national information that will useful wherever the network expands.

“It is a priority of Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta to include those with disabilities in all aspects of our Jewish community, and this is a terrific resource for our city,” Federation CEO Michael Horowitz said.

Russo and Gena Rosenzweig, Federation’s education inclusion coordinator, said the cost to launch the site is about $18,000, but Atlanta will get some money back as other federations join the network.