Unveiling Unlimited Horizons: Ocean Partnership for Children's CONNECTIONS Empowers Youth

Chief Carrington, Shane, OC Prosecutor Billhimer
Chief Carrington, Shane, OC Prosecutor Billhimer
TOMS RIVER, N.J. - Dec. 20, 2023 - PRLog -- Ocean Partnership for Children's (OPC) CONNECTIONS group is not just a program; it's a catalyst for transformative experiences, fostering growth, connections, and joy for youth with developmental disabilities. This grant-funded initiative, awarded by The Office of Individuals with Disabilities, Ocean County Department of Human Services, began when the staff of OPC saw the need for the program and developed a curriculum and activities. This unique, one-of-a-kind program has become a haven for 10 to 21 year old youth with developmental disabilities, offering a range of opportunities designed to nurture their social, emotional, and physical well-being.

At the heart of CONNECTIONS lies a commitment to creating a supportive community where lasting friendships and essential life skills are cultivated. The group's bi-monthly meetings serve as a platform for youth to explore their interests and passions, transcending the limitations often associated with developmental challenges.

One standout story within CONNECTIONS is that of Shane, an active CONNECTIONS group member with a profound love for law enforcement. This passion recently led to a unique opportunity for Shane and CONNECTIONS facilitator, Liz Menges, MA, LPC, ACS - a special tour of the Ocean County Prosecutor's Office. Inspired by a social media post showcasing a similar tour for an individual with Autism, OPC reached out, resulting in not only a tour for Shane, but an immersive experience exploring various departments under the Prosecutor's Office.

On December 19th, Agent Mike Collwell toured Shane and Menges through all the departments of the Prosecutor's Office. Shane met with individuals in the Victims Unit, Trial Unit, Major Crimes Unit, Juvenile Justice Unit, Child Advocacy Unit and Tech Crimes Unit as well as meeting with Ocean County Prosecutor Billhimer. "All the folks that met with Shane, including Agent Collwell were so kind and generous with their time," noted Menges. Shane received goodies from this trip including water bottles, pins, a quarter zip sweater with the Prosecutors logo, and much more. "Shane was ear to ear smiles. This made his Christmas. When Shane and I walked back to our office, he wouldn't stop talking about the experience," continued Menges. This collaboration exemplifies the power of community partnerships in creating tailored experiences that cater to the unique interests and aspirations of CONNECTIONS participants. It symbolizes the breaking down of barriers, opening doors to new possibilities, and affirming that, with support, every youth, regardless of developmental challenges, can aspire to achieve their dreams.

The opportunities provided by CONNECTIONS extend beyond vocational. OPC recently hosted the first-ever CONNECTIONS Gala at the Lacey Elks in Forked River, NJ. It was a night designed to provide the CONNECTIONS youth, their families, CONNECTIONS facilitators, and the leadership team of OPC an opportunity to dress up, dance, dine and have fun. All attendees enjoyed a photo booth, games and prizes and dancing the night away to the sounds of the DJ.

Menges highlighted the significance of the gala, saying, "It was the ultimate opportunity for youth and their families to make connections with one another. The families were as excited as the youth who participated, seeing their youth smiling, dancing, and enjoying themselves," The Gala not only provided an avenue for youth to connect with their peers, but also served as a platform for them to reintroduce themselves to OPC's Leadership Team, reinforcing valuable social skills.

The CONNECTIONS Gala, along with the various other initiatives, stands as a testament to OPC's commitment to fostering an environment where youth can thrive through the CONNECTIONS program. "OPC has been so fortunate to be awarded grant funding from the Ocean County Office of Individuals with Disabilities, who became interested in the CONNECTIONS program. We are so grateful the County recognized the need for this programming for the youth of Ocean County," said Mary Jo Buchanan, Executive Director of OPC. For youth with developmental disabilities and challenges, this group has met the need for their socialization, wellness, and CONNECTION, embodying the essence of OPC's commitment to fostering an inclusive environment where every individual can thrive.

To learn more about Ocean Partnership for Children or register your child for the CONNECTIONS group, please visit OceanPartnership.org.

About Ocean Partnership for Children Inc.
Founded in 2005, Ocean Partnership for Children (OPC) is Ocean County's Care Management Organization (CMO). Its mission is to enhance the well being of youth and their families through natural and community supports. OPC provides care coordination services for Ocean County youth up the age of 21 years who have mental health, substance use, intellectual and developmental challenges. OPC strives to keep children and adolescents at home, in school, and in the community by connecting them to resources that meet their unique needs and help them achieve their goals.

Ocean Partnership for Children is a non-profit organization available at no cost to all youth and families in Ocean County who meet the eligibility criteria of the New Jersey Children's System of care. To learn more, visit https://www.oceanpartnership.org or www.oceanresourcenet.org.

Allison Brown, Design 446
Source: » Follow
Email:***@design446.com Email Verified
Tags:Developmental Disabilities
Location:Toms River - New Jersey - United States
Account Email Address Verified     Account Phone Number Verified     Disclaimer     Report Abuse
Ocean Partnership for Children PRs
Trending News
Most Viewed
Top Daily News

Like PRLog?
Click to Share