Blog

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...
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