By Gail Small, Chief Executive Officer
Diagnosed from birth with cerebral palsy, Arlene Fels has led a meaningful and enriching life despite her disability. In fact the way she has led her life would probably put many of us to shame. Arlene worked as a teacher’s aid in a nursery school for 10 years and then as a clerical worker at JVS (Jewish Vocational Services) for 19 years until her retirement in 1999. A number of us who were working in the building at that time probably remember greeting Arlene in the halls and her sunny, upbeat disposition.
Arlene has gained the respect and admiration of so many people because of her determination not to let anything get in the way of what she wants to accomplish for herself. Since Arlene’s retirement she has devoted herself to helping others by giving back to organizations that helped her. Organizations such as the JGH, Miriam Home, the Mackay Rehabilitation Centre, CJCS and yes – Ometz.
Arlene’s 5-year gift to Ometz is allowing us to provide a subsidized work experience for an individual living with a disability. We are using this subsidy to encourage an employer to hire an individual living with a disability who is having difficulty finding a job. The placement could be either within Ometz, our Federation system or in a private company.
We have unveiled a plaque in her honor, as our appreciation for the important contribution that she is making to our community. Thank you, Arlene!