The Daniel Jordan Fiddle Foundation
2009 Grantees

The Daniel Jordan Fiddle Foundation (DJF) 2009 Grantees represent outstanding and innovative role model programs throughout the United States and exemplify our national organization’s unique mission to develop and support residential, recreational, vocational, educational and family programs that provide suitable and sustainable opportunities for adolescents and adults with Autism to participate in community life. The 2009 grantees showcase success stories that offer promising practices that can be replicated in communities around the country. Each program provides an avenue for its participants to obtain hands-on experiences that can travel with them throughout adult life while enhancing skills that advance productive futures. Importantly, each program provides a support system that maximizes independence and values the individuality of each person. Linda Walder Fiddle, Founder and Executive Director of DJF sums up the organization’s philosophy as” accepting and meeting individuals with Autism where they are,” and she states that, “the goal is to provide the necessary training and supports that will lead to successful outcomes and the best lives possible for all adults with Autism.”

The Autism Center of New Jersey Medical School
The Daniel Jordan Fiddle Foundation has developed and funded numerous programs at The Autism Center (TAC) of New Jersey Medical School in 2009. Included among them are the "Bridging the Gap" programs that featured an array of seminars on topics ranging from co-morbid health conditions to safety issues taught by leading professionals and family respite evenings of food, music and entertainment. In addition, in 2009, The Daniel Jordan Fiddle Foundation, Global Communities of Support and Alpine Learning Group as members of the Steering Committee for Advancing Futures For Adults with Autism, invited TAC to join them in hosting a town hall meeting (one of 16 throughout the United States) to identify and discuss key issues affecting adults with Autism.

Read all about the collaborative programs and events at TAC in 2009

Job Path, Inc.
Job Path, Inc. located in New York, NY provides on- the- job training and job coaching for individuals with challenges. The $6000 grant will expand the life- coaching program for participants on the autism spectrum with Asperger’s Syndrome. This life-coaching model will help each person define their goals relating to employment, volunteer work, community activities, college attendance and independent living.

Watch NY1 story on DJF and Job Path

Jewish Vocational Services, Inc.
Since 1939, Jewish Vocational Services (JVS) has provided, on a non-sectarian basis, job placement, vocational rehabilitation, technical skills training and workforce programs for special populations in under-served communities in New Jersey. The $7000 grant will create a pilot program in the summer of 2009 geared towards teenagers with Asperger’s Syndrome as they plan their transitions into adult life. Each participant will receive an individualized vocational evaluation and report completed by a qualified JVS vocational evaluator who is experienced in assessing people with Autism. In addition vocational and educational opportunities will be explored as well as work place dress, grooming and social skills. There will be a recreational aspect to the program where social and life skills are enhanced and behavioral and stress-reduction skills are taught.

Kelly Autism Program, Inc.
Located at Western Kentucky University, the Kelly Autism Program provided a school-to-work transition program in 2008 with funding from the DJF Foundation. In 2009, the $7500 grant will allow for the continuation of this program that offered a purposeful transition program for over 100 participants. Additionally in 2009, thanks to this grant, participants will establish their own business where they will be building and making items such as rocking chairs, CD cabinets and toys to sell as well as creating a website and marketing strategy for their products.

Vista Del Mar, Inc.
The Nes Gadol (Great Miracle) program at Vista Del Mar Child and Family Services located in Santa Monica, California, was founded by Elaine Hall whose Miracle Project theater program was featured in the Emmy award winning documentary, AUTISM: THE MUSICAL. In 2008, DJF awarded a grant that will now be expanded into a musical theater and film program in 2009 with a $7000 grant. The musical theater and film program has two parts: Miracle Theater Judaica (religious) and Miracle Theater Inclusion Program (secular). These 22 week programs celebrate the process of writing stories, creating characters and collaborating in an actual live production along with typically developing siblings and peers. In addition, the grant will be supporting a post Bar/Bat Mitzvah class for participants 14 and older.

Triform Camphill Community, Inc.
“Recipe for Success” is an exciting new enterprise for Triform Camphill Community located in Hudson, New York. Since 1979, Triform has provided a holistic, residential community for adults with Autism and other challenges that includes developing work and social skills while recognizing the integral importance of each individual to the whole community. The $10,000 grant will expand vocational training and create a business opportunity for the residents of Triform to launch their own cookie making business. The Triform Cookie Studio will provide the residents of this rural community with the ingredients they will need to successfully attain employment and independent life skills.

West Bergen Mental Healthcare, Inc.
A community mental healthcare provider since 1963, West Bergen Mental Healthcare exemplifies the DJF belief that grassroots organizations are the fiber of our communities and can empower citizens with Autism to attain the self-esteem and skills necessary to participate and contribute in meaningful ways. In 2009, a $6000 grant will create a role model counselor-in-training (CIT) program for young adults with Asperger Syndrome (AS) who will be trained in CPR, social skills, co-worker relations and workplace behavior as well as other practical skills such a filling out time sheets and using a variety of work related equipment. The clinical staff at several points during the program will evaluate all participants and the final program report will serve to provide other programs with a blueprint. In addition to training and skill acquisition the CITs will mentor younger people with AS thereby enhancing interpersonal skills needed for workplace success.

Sid Jacobson Jewish Community Center, Inc.
This community center located on Long Island, New York will offer two separate socialization programs (13-17 years and 18-25 years) led by social workers. The $6000 grant will combine community outings and team sports with discussion groups on age relevant issues. For teens and adults with Autism it is often difficult to have friendships and a social life and this program will create a supportive environment for doing so. The final report will include a description of the curriculum that will provide a roadmap for other community centers and organizations throughout the country to develop similar services.

Arts Unbound, Inc.
The mission of Arts Unbound is to provide arts education and vocational training in the visual arts for people with mental and physical challenges. In 2007, DJF funded a pilot program that created the opportunity for young adults and adults with Autism who manifested artistic interest and talent to partake in master art classes and then exhibit and sell their work throughout the State of New Jersey. This hugely successful program and its curriculum are exemplary for many reasons including the fact it brought the world of art to individuals in underserved communities, provided a supportive environment to nurture strengths and talents and showcased the artworks of the participants thereby exhibiting an Autism success story to the community at large. In 2009, DJF will award the program a grant for $24,400 that will permit it to expand to new venues and serve more participants. In addition, the 2009 program will add an augmented vocational component to locate volunteer or paid employment positions in arts related activities for participants.

VSA Arts of New Jersey, Inc.
This program developed by DJF and VSA arts recognizes the need to unite young adults with and without autism through the arts. Participants with Autism benefit from interaction with their peer mentors who model age-appropriate social behavior, exhibit sensitivity to their challenges, and engage in the shared arts experience under the guidance of art and music therapists. The $6000 grant will fund two ten-week Inclusive Arts Workshops: one series will focus on art and one series will focus on music. The final report will not only include a curriculum model but evaluations by the peer mentors and a survey reported by the autistic individual.

Spectrum Autism Support Group, Inc.
Located near Atlanta in Grayson, Georgia, Spectrum has been providing autistic individuals and their families support, education and programs since 1998. The $6000 grant from DJF will provide an opportunity for teens with Asperger Syndrome (AS) to participate in a role model counselor-in-training program (CIT). The CITs like those in our grant to West Bergen Mental Healthcare, Inc. will receive job training and social skills instruction and will work in a variety of camp positions supporting younger campers. CIT teens will have the chance to work in a variety of other vocational positions at camp as well including clerical, janitorial, inventory control and food services. At the end of the program protocols will be documented so as to encourage replication in other venues throughout the United States.

In 2009, The Daniel Jordan Fiddle Foundation has selected a group of organizations that will receive grant awards of $5000 or less as” seed” money to start a new endeavor or help an existing program grow. These organizations, like those in our larger grant award category, have an established record of working successfully with individuals with Autism and expertise in providing programs for their benefit. Many are located in communities in the United States where there are few programs for young adults and adults with Autism and it is our hope that these programs will inspire the development of more opportunities for those who reside there.

Healing Strides, Inc.

The purpose of this equine therapy program is to promote wellness for people with personal challenges who can benefit from equine assisted activities conducted in a safe and supportive environment. A grant of $4300 will be awarded to this program located in Boones Mill, Virginia to start a therapeutic riding program for young adults and adults with Autism. Healing Strides is planning to partner with local autism treatment centers and therapists in order to design an appropriate and beneficial curriculum for the participants in this program.

Metro West Kids Foundation, Inc.
This Clive, Iowa program called Project Teen PLACE ( People, Life skills, Acceptance, Community, Encouragement) will develop a program with the input of teenagers with Asperger Syndrome in a teen youth center setting. The program will include transition planning and will develop a curriculum for improving social skills that will be funded by this $5000 grant from DJF.

A residential care facility in a farm setting for women located in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Mandy’s provides a supportive living environment for individuals with challenges that require one-on-one support. The $3000 grant from DJF will allow for a therapist to work with the residents on behavior management so that they can participate more fully in community life outside of the farm. In addition, the staff at Mandy’s will benefit from the training that will be provided.

Zabota Foundation, Inc.
“ Fun with Friends,” is the name of this program that provides community-based activities for adults with Autism on a one-on-one basis. Located in Fair Lawn, New Jersey in a daycare center for senior citizens, this program for autistic individuals is a part of an adjunct program at the center. The $4800 grant from DJF will create the opportunity for autistic adults to experience community recreational outings while working on managing behavior challenges and enhancing social skills.

West Tennessee Family Solutions, Inc.
This Memphis based program currently serves twelve individuals with Autism in supported living homes in the East Memphis, Midtown, Cordova and Arlington areas, and through its Adult Enrichment Center: the Good Life Center. The program will expand its services to serve 25 individuals with the $2500 grant from DJF that will also fund a multimedia lab.

Putnam County Arc (PARC) Inc.
PARC’s Regional Autism Resource Center is a much-needed project in New York’s lower Hudson Valley. Currently, there is no central place in the area that parents and professionals can turn to for state-of-the-art knowledge, a listing of local resources, and compassionate advice and support about Autism. The physical site of this resource center will be at the Mahopac Library and the $5000 grant awarded by DJF will provide for the purchase of books and resource materials, two separate workshops for young adults and adults and a support group for each age group.

Autism Society of Southeastern Wisconsin, Inc.
This decision-making skills training program will help enable young adults to attain the independent living skills they will need in their adult lives. A unique aspect of the program, that will receive a grant of $2000, is that it will focus on creating understanding among the participants and their families as to what behaviors are considered appropriate or legal in the community and what may be interpreted as inappropriate and even illegal. The parents will meet separately from the participants to learn effective techniques for relating to their young adult or adult child and will benefit from the support group setting of their sessions.