From festive gifts to holiday meals, Community Access Unlimited is doing everything possible to make the season bright.
CAU provides comprehensive services for people with disabilities and youth at risk in New Jersey with the goal of assisting them to become as independent as possible in the community. Whether members will be visiting family over the holidays or not, the nonprofit works to make this time of year special.
“We ask them what they want and they give us their wish list and we try to satisfy it as much as possible,” said Sheila Allen, an assistant director at CAU’s Transitional Opportunities Program for youth.
Contributions from generous individuals and organizations have also helped CAU make a greater impact with members around the state. CAU would like to thank Delivering Good for a donation of hundreds of pieces of new clothing and Holiday Express for holiday gift bags filled with warm winter accessories and toiletries for members.
CAU member Jillisa Smith said she has a lot to celebrate this year. She is enjoying increased independence since she moved into her own CAU apartment in November, transitioning from living in a residential program with others. Her support staff will be helping her with transportation training to learn how to commute to and from work using public transit.
“I’ve been talking about it a lot,” Smith said. “I like to do things on my own like cook some meals for breakfast and dinner.”
Youth member Khiam Massey, 19, said CAU is helping him in his early adulthood after years of moving between foster families. Staff have helped him set up a bank account and learn how to budget, and they are helping him study for his driver’s education test.
Member Mark Bloom said that his support staff assisted him in picking out the perfect Christmas gift for his mother. Because his parents are getting older and couldn’t put up a Christmas tree this year, he plans to bring his own Christmas tree over their house to celebrate.
“They always took care of my brother and me and now it’s time to take care of them,” Bloom said.