Diaz Creates Disability Advisory Council

Published on October 13, 2009, 3:21 pm
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…in recognition of National Disability Employment Awareness Month.

On Wednesday, October 7, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., joined by the Commissioner of the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities, Matthew Sapolin, and the Executive Director of Bronx Independent Living Services, Brett Eisenberg, announced the creation of the Bronx Borough President’s Disability Advisory Council (BxBPDAC), in recognition of National Disability Employment Awareness Month.

Borough President Diaz also announced the participation of his office in the National Disability Mentoring Day, to be celebrated on October 21st, which is a large-scale national effort to promote career development for students and job seekers with disabilities through hands-on career exploration, on-site job shadowing, and ongoing mentoring leading to internship and employment opportunities. A small group of mentees will be assigned to work in various departments of the Borough President’s Office, where they will be matched with workplace mentors according to their expressed career interests.

Other borough institutions such as Lehman College, Hostos Community College, Bronx Parent Housing Network, Bronx Independent Living Services and North Central Bronx Community Hospital, will be taking part in this national effort.

“As one of the first initiatives of the Disability Advisory Council, The Bronx will institute a Quarterly Disability Mentoring Day. Statistics show that there is a significant disparity between the job attainment and earnings of the disabled population versus that of the non-disabled labor force population. Therefore, it is my hope that the QMD will help disabled Bronxites in their job search,” said Borough President Diaz adding that the next Disability Mentoring Day will be scheduled in February 2010 in partnership with Lehman College.

“Lehman is delighted to be the first institution to participate in this exciting initiative. We know how important it is to expose our students to work opportunities in their chosen field of study,” added Merrill D. Parra, Director of Student Disability Services and Veterans/Reservists Affairs for Lehman College.

The planning committee of the BxBPDAC includes: Brett Eisenberg, Executive Director, Bronx Independent Living Services; Joanne Casado, Executive Director of Bronx Health Link; Bob Leiber, Bronx Health Link; Joanne Siegel, Director of Community Affairs, Children’s Evaluation and Rehabilitation Center; Monica Sanabria, Program Coordinator for the Family Support Project for the Developmentally Disabled, North Central Bronx Hospital; Nelly Velez, Parent Transition Services Advocate, John F. Kennedy Jr. Institute, Lehman College.

During the press conference, Brett Eisenberg, the Chair of the BxBPDAC, released applications for membership to the council to be submitted by Friday October 30th, via email at brett@bils.org or fax 718-515-2844. Interested parties must live and or work in the borough of the Bronx, must submit a recent resume and short writing sample on why they are interested in membership, what they think are the top three issues facing the disabled community in the Bronx and how they feel they can contribute to the solutions.

“I am honored and privileged to chair the council. By advising the Borough President and his staff on the issues most relevant and important in the community we will strive to improve the lives of Bronxites with disabilities,” said Brett Eisenberg.


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