Monthly Archives: June 2022

Breaking through the silence of autism: Sadiq’s story

“I want water flavored.”

Those were the first words that 7-year-old Sadiq said to his mom, Bethany, using his augmentative communication device.

Sadiq is on the autism spectrum and is completely non-verbal. However one day, as he sat next to his mom who was ordering groceries online, he grabbed her hand to signal her to return to the previous screen containing his favorite treat.

Upon hearing about this, the therapists and teachers at the YCS Sawtelle Learning Center did an evaluation to see if Sadiq could do even more with an augmentative device. The results were encouraging, and they began teaching him how to use the device at school.

When the state ordered a shutdown in March, Sadiq’s in-person lessons had to stop. In order to sustain his progress, YCS staff prepared individualized lessons that his parents could implement 3-4 times a day at home. Even then, mom Bethany knew that Sadiq would regress without the one-on-one therapy sessions provided at the Sawtelle center.

In September, Sawtelle staff made the decision to keep the school open full-time for any family that requested in-person learning for their child. The Abrams were elated. As a result, Sadiq has made great strides despite the challenges posed by the pandemic.

“It means the world to me that Sadiq will have the ability to fully communicate,” said Bethany. “We now have a window of hope.”

A long journey home: Jeffery Mathews’ story

Everyone deserves a place to call home.

When Jeffery Mathews first signed up for the Urban Senior Jobs Program offered by ULEC, he didn’t tell anyone that he was homeless. He had been sleeping in Lincoln Park and Penn Station, where many other homeless people slept. He felt ashamed.

The staff at ULEC reassured him that there was no reason to be ashamed, and immediately found a short-term solution to take Jeffery off the streets while he continued to train for employment.

Jeffery was committed to his training to become a maintenance assistant, and quickly found work at a local brewing company.

A month later, he was interviewed by a subsidized rental apartment complex in Newark. Jeffery completed the application and became eligible for a housing unit there. With some help from a corporate funder’s grant, Jeffery was able to pay for the security and first month’s rent.

When Jeffery finally got the keys to his own apartment and entered it for the first time, it felt as though he had hit the jackpot.

He was finally home.

The Urban League of Essex County changes the lives of many others just like Jeffery. Your donation to the Holiday Fund sustains employment and housing programs that provide hope to the most vulnerable in our community. Give to help those in need today:

The Nutley Family Service Bureau helps single mothers through food programs

Every meal with your family is precious. Never take it for granted. 🙏

For some families, it’s a huge deal to be able to have a meal together.

The rising costs of food, clothing and housing has made it difficult for many people to even put food on the table.

That’s what Rebecca, single mother of 2, found herself struggling to do. Despite her best efforts, she was having trouble making ends meet and found herself 1 car repair away from economic devastation.

The Nutley Family Service Bureau Food Pantry has been a life saver for Rebecca. With her biweekly food distribution, she is able to feed herself and her children even when times are tough. She receives fresh produce, dairy products, bread, meat and shelf-stable groceries with every bag.

When you support the Holiday Fund, you help sustain food programs like these. Give to families in need today:

Newark Day Center’s parent aide program helps family navigate through a serious accident

Accidents can entirely disrupt a family’s daily activities and long term goals.

When Naomi and her daughter were hit by a car while walking across the street, Naomi broke both of her legs and needed to recover at the hospital, away from her family. On top of that, she tested positive for COVID-19, which meant she had to stay for longer. Her husband Ed needed help to continue managing the household, the kids’ activities, and his studies at the same time.

Newark Day Center sent a parent aide to help the family out. The aide assisted with daily household functions, helped both parents stay on track with their studies, and kept the kids company when Ed went out for errands.

The family was able to navigate smoothly through the accident, and they are now doing well and staying healthy.