Read Our NJ Nonprofit Blog | Community Access Unlimited


It’s DSP Recognition Week! Thank You For All you Do!

September 16, 2021

Erin Jerome

It's Direct Support Professionals Recognition Week! We are proud to celebrate CAU’s 602 DSPs for the talent and dedication they bring to assisting members in living life to the fullest.  DSPs offer specialized support to increase independence. They may meet medical and behavioral health needs, provide personal care, assist with mobility, and teach social, workplace and daily living...

In Remembrance of 9/11 and Colleen Fraser

September 13, 2021

Erin Jerome

Elizabeth residents gathered to remember and honor the lives lost on 9/11 this Saturday, with community dignitaries and residents attending a ceremony at the Midtown Pedestrian Plaza, where the city has a 9/11 memorial statue. The ceremony opened with sirens at 8:46 a.m., in recognition of the first attack, and a moment of silence. Among the six Elizabeth residents who died that day was...

What’s the Difference Between Supportive Housing and Transitional Housing?

September 8, 2021

Erin Jerome

Supportive Housing vs. Transitional Housing Housing resources are available for those who need support for a variety of reasons, such as having a disability, chronic illness, drug addiction, mental illness, or facing homelessness. Supportive housing and transitional housing offer different options depending on the needs of individuals. What is Supportive Housing? Supportive housing is a type of...

Celebrate Creativity at Arts in the Park

August 4, 2021

Erin Jerome

All are invited to enjoy a summer day of arts and entertainment organized by Community Access Unlimited on Aug. 20 in Warinanco Park in Roselle. Community Access Unlimited is seeking artists, musicians, singers and dancers to share their creative passions and participate in Arts in the Park from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. This free event is open for the community to enjoy. Arts in the Park will take...

Advocates Recognize Disability Pride Month and the Anniversary of the ADA

July 27, 2021

Erin Jerome

Myrta Rosa at work at Community Access Unlimited in Elizabeth July 26 marked the 31st anniversary of The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990- a landmark piece of legislation that prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities in several areas, including employment, transportation, public accommodations and access to government programs. July is also celebrated as Disability...

ACE is Back! Join us in Roselle for Continuing Education

July 19, 2021

Erin Jerome

There is no such thing as “one size fits all” when it comes to education. For adults with developmental disabilities who are looking to continue their academics and job skills training, CAU offers an alternative to traditional day programs.  The new Academy of Continuing Education location opened July 6 in Roselle and offers a variety of options to appeal to every type of student,...

Spring 2021 Independent Citizen is Here!

June 2, 2021

Erin Jerome

The Spring Independent Citizen is here! Our newsletter is filled with agency updates, member stories and information about upcoming events. What's Inside: Join us for Walkathon! The Annual Ira Geller Walkathon is June 21-26! CAU Recognizes Autism Acceptance Month. Hear from CAU staff and a member about setting and achieving their goals. CAU works with Amazon. Read about our...

Get Ready for the Ira Geller Walkathon!

May 21, 2021

Erin Jerome

Hop on a treadmill, go to a local park, or walk or run in your neighborhood to support services for people with disabilities and youth at risk in New Jersey! The CAU virtual Ira Geller Walkathon runs the week of June 21-June 26. On June 26, individuals living near Warinanco Park in Roselle are invited to walk or run in the park. Click here to register! Walker or runner tickets are $30...

The PACES Newsletter is here!

May 21, 2021

Erin Jerome

Check out the inaugural issue of The PACES Post, the CAU PACES program’s new quarterly newsletter! This newsletter features important news, upcoming events, and a celebration of members' achievements. The Pathways to Academic and Career Exploration to Success (PACES) program supports youth in foster care, ages 16-21, in their successful transition to and retention in...

Teachers and Students Strive for Success During Autism Acceptance Month

April 13, 2021

Erin Jerome

Michael Adamowsky says he didn’t plan it, but he has found his purpose in life through teaching. Michael Adamowsky is an educational specialist at CAU. After completing his master’s degree in accounting and starting a career at Community Access Unlimited, Adamowsky found that the accounting position didn’t suit him, and he didn’t like sitting at a computer all day. He decided to...

Musicians Partner to Support Community Access Unlimited March 22-27

March 23, 2021

Erin Jerome

From pop to blues and rap to jazz, there’s something for everyone at a virtual concert fundraiser for Community Access Unlimited this week, March 22-27. Banding Together features musical performances at 7 p.m. nightly on the CAU Facebook page. All proceeds will support programs at CAU. Jefferson musician Jeiris Cook kicks off the six-night concert on Monday with his signature blend of...

CAU Couples Appreciate Their Valentines Through Pandemic Challenges

February 16, 2021

Erin Jerome

Jennifer Brown and Harold Harris attend the CAU Prom in 2019. Last week, Harold Harris chose an engagement ring and picked up a red dress shirt for a celebration on Valentine’s Day. He said he couldn’t wait to officially propose to his girlfriend, Jennifer Brown.  Both Harris and Brown are members at CAU, and the two have been a couple since the CAU Prom in 2019. Jennifer agreed to go...

CAU Works with Amazon to Support Jobs for People with Disabilities

February 3, 2021

Erin Jerome

Wilford Edwards completes a training session in December to start working at an Amazon sortation center in New Jersey. Community Access Unlimited is working with Amazon to help people with disabilities in New Jersey begin new careers working for the retailer. Amazon has made a commitment to “building and supporting an inclusive workforce,” which may include supported employment such as...

CAU members receive some winter warmth with coats donation from Delivering Good

January 15, 2021

Erin Jerome

CAU members have received new winter coats to help keep them warm and comfortable this season thanks to a generous donation from Delivering Good. CAU received 300 coats from the organization, which first reached out to CAU with an interest in supporting our youth programs. Delivering Good was able to supply enough win ter coats to outfit all members in residential programs who needed them....

Happy Holidays! And Thanks from CAU to You

December 23, 2020

Erin Jerome

The holidays are bright at Community Access Unlimited, and we want to thank those who are helping to make it extra special this year. Members of the community have supported CAU in a host of ways through the challenges of this year, from donating personal protective equipment to help keep us safe, to donating funds that directly impact the programs we operate every day. This holiday season...

CAU Recognizes the International Day of Persons with Disabilities

December 3, 2020

Erin Jerome

In New Jersey and in places around the world in 2020, people with disabilities faced increased risks related to COVID-19, extensive job losses, and mandated closures of critical in-person programs and services that support their well-being, goals and independence. According to new research from the National Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Family Support at the University of...

How to Vote in New Jersey: Election 2020

October 23, 2020

Erin Jerome

The freedom to vote in America is your political right! Read on to learn how to vote in the 2020 Presidential Election. Election Day is Nov. 3! How to Vote by Mail: Each active registered NJ voter should have received a vote by mail ballot. Your ballot must be postmarked on or before November 3 and be received by your county’s Board of Elections on or before November 10. OR: You...

Developmental Disabilities Employment Awareness Makes Business Better

October 22, 2020

Erin Jerome

Developmental Disability Employment Awareness is More Important than Ever in 2020 Hiring people with disabilities is not just a step toward being an inclusive part of your community- it’s also good business sense. October is Developmental Disabilities Employment Awareness Month, an observance made more important this year in light of job losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The rate of...

CAU Holds Virtual Walkathon and Celebrates Supporting Each Other Through Pandemic

September 21, 2020

Erin Jerome

CAU kept up its annual walkathon tradition on Saturday, albeit in a virtual format, to support services for people with special needs. Donations are still being accepted for the  Ira Geller Walkathon and will support services as well as help cover expenses incurred due to COVID-19. With some of the CAU community coming together to walk safely with members of their households in Warinanco...

What is a DSP? CAU Celebrates DSP Recognition Week!

September 17, 2020

Erin Jerome

What is a Direct Support Professional (DSP)? Direct Support Professionals work directly with people with physical and/or intellectual disabilities with the aim of assisting the individual to become integrated into their community or the least restrictive environment. Direct Support Professionals are more than just service workers- they become part of members' lives and serve as advocates to...

Join us for the CAU Virtual Walkathon Sept. 12!

September 3, 2020

Erin Jerome

The Ira Geller Walkathon is going virtual this year to raise crucial funds for services that support people with disabilities and youth-at-risk in a safe and social distance-friendly event. Community Access Unlimited invites members of the community to walk, jog or roll in their neighborhoods or parks in the Ira Geller Virtual Walkathon on Sept. 12 from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. Supporters around...

Read All About It: Independent Citizen Fall 2020 is Here!

August 27, 2020

Erin Jerome

The Fall 2020 Independent Citizen is here! Click Here to Read! What's inside? How to Register for the CAU Virtual Walkathon Explore Exciting Virtual Services CAU Members Rally for Local Restaurants 30 Years of the ADA COVID-19 Creates a Crisis for Runaway and Homeless Youth in NJ And...

COVID-19 Creates a Crisis for Runaway and Homeless Youth in NJ

August 14, 2020

Erin Jerome

The COVID-19 pandemic is straining resources for programs serving runaway and homeless youth that were already in short supply prior to the crisis. The primary causes of homelessness among youth are family conflict or severe economic hardship, making these programs more critical than ever to ensure young people who need aid do not slip through the cracks. Youth programs at Community Access...

30th Anniversary of the ADA: The Fight for Disability Access Continues

July 28, 2020

Erin Jerome

The civil rights movement for people with disabilities reached a landmark on July 26, 1990 with the passing of the Americans with Disabilities Act. On its 30th anniversary, people with disabilities are celebrating hard-earned victories and are speaking up about the work still to be done and recognizing the historic law intended to prohibit discrimination against individuals with disabilities in...

A Tribute: July 15 is National Developmental Disability Professionals Day

July 15, 2020

Carolee Marano

On behalf of Community Access Unlimited What is a Developmental Disability Professional? Developmental disability professionals make sure that people have access to the supports and resources they need to live full, self-directed lives. They go by different names based on their specialized areas of service - Direct Support Professionals (DSPs), Support Coordinators, Behaviorists,...

Find your Groove and Support CAU with our Virtual Concert Series!

June 23, 2020

Erin Jerome

The sounds of different genres of music are as loud as ever this summer, even as most listen to music at home instead of a concert hall. Everyone with an internet connection is invited to listen in together for a week-long virtual concert benefiting Community Access Unlimited from July 6-11. “It will be a week of nights of music that we hope everyone will get entertainment out of while we...

Want to Support Social Services in New Jersey? Complete the 2020 Census with CAU!

June 9, 2020

Erin Jerome

We're highlighting social services in New Jersey and how the Census impacts them! The federal government uses Census data to allocate resources to state governments- more than $45 billion dollars a year in New Jersey. People with disabilities have been identified by the Census Bureau as a hard to count population, meaning they are more vulnerable to being missed in the decennial...

CAU Members Rally for Local Restaurants During COVID-19 Crisis

May 19, 2020

Chris Reardon

&grain, a restaurant in Garwood, has joined Rally for Restaurants thanks to CAU members With New Jersey now in its eighth week of state-mandated stay-at-home restrictions and all restaurants and bars closed to diners, eateries across the state are suffering mammoth losses in income. Restricted to selling take-out orders only, New Jersey restaurateurs are fighting to hold on until the...

Your support is needed on #GivingTuesdayNow

May 4, 2020

Erin Jerome

Click here to donate to our campaign! Community Access Unlimited is responding to help meet the needs of its members with disabilities and youth at risk by launching a fundraiser with a goal of $25,000 to support its new operations and COVID-19 safety measures as a provider of essential services across New Jersey. #GivingTuesdayNow is a new global day of giving and unity that will take...

CAU is here for you through COVID-19 restrictions- Ask about virtual support

May 1, 2020

Erin Jerome

Did you know that many CAU services are available remotely? Our vital programs and services are still active and going strong. CAU is a provider of essential services that will continue to be delivered throughout the pandemic. Our direct support staff will continue to provide on-site supervision and support 24 hours a day, every day. CAU has remained diligent in continually securing and...

CAU Videos to Help you Relax and Unwind at Home

April 28, 2020

Erin Jerome

Have you checked out the CAU YouTube Page? Subscribe to Community Access Unlimited on YouTube to enjoy educational videos and other information and CAU activities! Below are a few videos to help you relax and unwind at home. Be sure to check out our page for educational videos for families with instructions for getting dressed (part 1 and part 2), putting on shoes, and cleaning up after a...

CAU talks Advocacy and more on 106.7 Lite FM

March 23, 2020

Erin Jerome

Rebecca Kasen, Advocacy Director Disability advocacy, the Census, and CAU's response to COVID-19 were among the topics in CAU's interview this week on 106.7 Lite FM. Advocacy Director Rebecca Kasen spoke with host Nina del Rio. "We do feel like there is a strong presence in the state government to make sure that our Direct Support Professionals are being paid competitive wages, so...

CAU Members are Advocates in Action during Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month

March 4, 2020

Chris Reardon

Juanna Quinn (left) and Annie Sims, individuals with developmental disabilities, are passionate advocates for their fellow citizens. People with developmental disabilities are ready. As the calendar turns to March, Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month, members of the New American Movement for People with Disabilities (NAM) have an agenda of issues they are taking action on, including...

Our City: Check out a CAU interview with Elizabeth Mayor Chris Bollwage

February 27, 2020

Erin Jerome

We sat down with Elizabeth Mayor Chris Bollwage to talk all things CAU: from how we started, how our programs have expanded, and how the agency is navigating for the future. Joshua Bradley, our assistant executive director of quality assurance and training, shared that the agency's main focus continues to be getting people with developmental disabilities and youth at risk involved in the...

Home Dreams Come True for CAU Member Gary

February 20, 2020

Erin Jerome

Congratulations are due to a CAU member who now has a condo of his own! Gary Rubin now has a lifetime tenancy at his home in Elizabeth, and will have voting rights in his condo association. The two-bedroom, two bath condo he has all to himself is a far cry from institutional living at E.R. Johnstone Training and Research Center, where he lived and worked as a young man from 1985 until...

Dancers Take the Floor at ACE

February 14, 2020

Erin Jerome

Fanning out across the floor of the Academy of Continuing Education, students danced, stretched and moved last week with the direction of a talented local dance company. Many of the members were no strangers to the joy of dancing as participants in Community Access Unlimited’s annual musical production and other performing arts programs. Four dancers and choreographer Carolyn Dorfman of...

CAU Members Celebrate Culture at National African American Read-In

February 12, 2020

Chris Reardon

Crystal Jackson stood before a small audience of other youth at risk and sang Whitney Houston’s “I Look to You,” with its lyrics, “After all that I’ve been through / Who on Earth can I turn to / I look to you.” Jackson is living within New Jersey’s child welfare system and was participating in a local celebration of National African American Read-In along with about 20 other...

In My Words: The Social Security Proposal

January 27, 2020

Erin Jerome

Many CAU members are fierce self-advocates fighting for policies that give people with disabilities equal access to opportunities that are afforded to citizens without disabilities. This year we recognize the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, which prohibited discrimination based on disability in 1990. The ADA also requires covered employers to provide reasonable...

“Guys and Dolls” Invited to Audition for CAU Community Players!

January 23, 2020

Erin Jerome

CAU Community Players in "Hairspray Jr." in 2019 Place your bets! The Community Access Unlimited Community Players will take on a Broadway classic in three performances of “Guys and Dolls Jr.” this summer. The popular musical comedy follows gamblers, gangsters and other characters in a Runyonland fantasy of New York City. CAU is currently welcoming CAU members and members of the...

Musicians with and without disabilities strike perfect chord at collaborative concert

January 14, 2020

Chris Reardon

There was a steady bustle back stage Friday night at the Eugene G. Wilkins Theatre for the Performing Arts at Kean University a half-hour before the curtain was set to rise. Musicians tuned their instruments while singers stretched their vocal cords and performers dabbed on make-up in bathroom mirrors. Yet what was unique about this production was the performers were a mix of musicians...

Remembering the Homeless and Organizing to Make a Difference in Union County

December 26, 2019

Erin Jerome

What do the world’s religions tell us about the homeless and the needy? Leaders of different faiths shared prevailing teachings on charity, generosity and poverty Thursday at Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church in Rahway. The memorial vigil honored the lives of people who have died due to homelessness in Union County. The 4th annual vigil was held just before the longest night of the...

Valley Bank Supports CAU Housing for People with Disabilities

December 16, 2019

Erin Jerome

The final touches are complete on a brand new house in Union built by Community Access Unlimited. The project was supported in part by a $10,000 grant from Valley Bank. It will soon be home to four women in a supported living program for people with disabilities. CAU is a Union County-based, statewide nonprofit that strives to integrate people with disabilities and at-risk youth into...

Meet New York Marathon Runner Robbie!

December 6, 2019

Erin Jerome

Running just comes naturally for 24-year-old Robbie Matos- and he’s picking up speed. The Springfield native breezed to a 4:03:59 finish in the world’s largest marathon in New York City on Nov. 3, completing with the top third of runners. Robbie is a CAU member who attends the Academy of Continuing Education in Cranford, where he studies theater, upper level math and...

Community Access Unlimited Awarded $15,000 Major Grant from The Provident Bank Foundation

December 2, 2019

Erin Jerome

Community Access Unlimited (CAU) has been awarded a $15,000 grant by The Provident Bank Foundation through their Major Grant program in support of Community and Civic Engagement programming. The program aims to empower at-risk youth through advocacy and leadership training to reduce social and class inequalities and improve their lives. CAU is a Union County-based, statewide nonprofit...

What are we Thankful for this Year?

November 27, 2019

Chris Reardon

Joyce Cargle was not sure how much she had to be thankful for five years ago after being diagnosed with cancer. Since then she has had chemotherapy, undergone an operation for a hernia and suffered a leg injury. Yet today, Cargle, a person with disabilities, is in full remission, her other ailments have passed and she is all smiles as she prepares for a hearty Thanksgiving dinner and...

Assistive Tech is in your Hands at CAU

November 14, 2019

Erin Jerome

Assistive technology (AT) is moving the needle for communication for people with developmental disabilities. At school, students who are nonverbal or have limited speech are often loaned tablets equipped with communication augmentation apps such as Proloquo2Go. While the tech isn’t new, it is continually improved and embraced in schools and at home. Other examples of assistive tech...

Women of Faith Share Experience, Unity at UCICC Conference

November 1, 2019

Erin Jerome

A night of solidarity and faith gathered women and men for a conference Oct. 29 at CAU headquarters in Elizabeth. Under a “United and Empowered” theme, six women with diverse experiences in faith and work sought to share universal lessons about spirituality and serving others. “We recognize that women do a lot in the background in ministry and faith,” said Michelle Mobley, an...

Workers with Disabilities Praised During National Disability Employment Awareness Month

October 31, 2019

Chris Reardon

Each day Sharon Bravo and Chavia Crute travel from their homes in Elizabeth to Irvington High School to work in the cafeteria, helping to prepare and serve meals and clean the kitchen afterward. According to Krystal Tanneer, food service director for Whitsons School Nutrition, which operates the school’s food services, Bravo and Crute are two of her best and most reliable employees. As...

Eric LeGrand Inspires Youth Services Professionals at CAU

October 28, 2019

Chris Reardon

Eric LeGrand lied paralyzed on the football field at MetLife Stadium nine years ago, struggling to breathe and thinking he was going to die. Today the former Rutgers University football player considers himself truly blessed and encourages others to always find reason to be positive in the face of challenges. That message was particularly poignant when LeGrand spoke to a rapt audience of...

Walk-a-Thon Brings Community Together at Oak Ridge Park

September 20, 2019

Community Access Unlimited

More than 600 Community Access Unlimited members, employees and friends turned out at Oak Ridge Park in Clark on Saturday to celebrate at the annual Ira Geller Walk-a-Thon. Whether walking, rolling, dancing, or just hanging out with friends, attendees came together for a great time during CAU’s 40th anniversary year. Sponsors of the Walk included Investors Bank, Lakeland Bank, and...

CAU Community Players very special ‘Hairspray, Jr.’ thrills hundreds

July 19, 2019

Community Access Unlimited

RAHWAY – Hundreds of theatergoers were moved by a very special production of "Hairspray, Jr." performed by the CAU Community Players, a troupe of actors both with and without developmental disabilities. The troupe staged three productions of the popular musical at the Rahway High School Center for Performing Arts on the last weekend in June. Click to view full...

Local Advocate with Disabilities and Nonprofit Coordinator Speak at Immigration Advocacy Vigil

July 19, 2019

Community Access Unlimited

ELIZABETH, NJ - Often overlooked in the national debate about the treatment of immigrants being housed at detention facilities along the Southern border and elsewhere in the nation is the treatment of immigrants with disabilities among those being detained. This past Friday a member and staff coordinator from Community Access Unlimited helped voice those concerns at a vigil held outside the...

Alejandro Amaya

July 19, 2019

Community Access Unlimited

Sometimes a struggling youth simply needs the right environment and support to turn around his or her life. Alejandro Amaya has been with CAU for just about a year but has already made significant progress toward a better future. An unfortunate home life situation led Alejandro to a short stay in a youth shelter in Bergen County before being referred to CAU. Today he lives in a CAU property and...

Tonya Hopson

November 8, 2018

Community Access Unlimited

Tonya Hopson very much looks forward to going to work at Target in Clark, where she has been employed for 12 years working in the children’s department four to eight hours per week. “I like my friends here and the customers I get to meet, the little kids who recognize me when they come in,” she said. “Some of them I’ve known since before they could walk. It really becomes a community...