Health & Wellness: Megan
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United Way of Greater Milwaukee & Waukesha County

Health & Wellness: Megan

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Megan has been part of the Harry & Rose Samson Family Jewish Community Center (“the JCC”) for many years. She is well known to both members and staff.

Megan loves being involved in the Chaverim program, part of the JCC’s Center of Inclusion and Special Needs. Chaverim, which means “friends” in Hebrew, is a social, recreational, educational, and Judaic program for adults with developmental disabilities. It is also a United Way funded program through the Community Fund. 

As 2020 began, Megan was faced with her first big challenge of the year. Her dad had just accepted a new job, and her family was leaving their Shorewood home and moving to Mercer, Wisconsin, 281 miles away.  

Mercer is a very small town and Megan was not going to have direct access to programming, like she was used to at the JCC. She was also leaving a core group of friends she had made over the years.  

At the same time this was happening, the world was introduced to COVID-19 and the JCC was forced to close its doors.

Social isolation is a strain on everyone during a pandemic, but it is especially challenging for adults with disabilities. Chaverim Program Manager Jody Margolis knew they needed a plan. Her team quickly went to work devising virtual programming that would engage their members.  

By the second week of April, Jody and her team had created a Chaverim online program. Not only was this going to allow members to participate during the pandemic, it allowed Megan, now living 4-and-a-half hours away, to stay connected to her JCC family. 

Virtual, she can socialize with friends, participate in art projects, and so much more. 

Megan’s move during COVID-19 taught the team at the JCC that technology can allow so many to be part of their programs - even from far away. 

Megan and the Jewish Community Center remind us all, that to live better, we must Live United.

Consider supporting this important work with a donation to United Way’s Community Fund.