After working together for just four months, Annie Garrett, Leah Heifetz and Lisa Houben, our Jewish Abilities Alliance team, has really had impact. They’ve conducted 10 sensitivity trainings in our schools and camps, coordinated dozens of meetings, and produced JAA’s annual Power of One Event, which was attended by more than 300 people and featured 31 nominees! As a professional trio their skills and interests mesh beautifully, and we love the way they “walk the walk” when it comes to promoting inclusive practices. Annie, Leah and Lisa always model “people first language” which emphasizes the person, not the disability. By putting the person first, the disability is no longer the primary, defining characteristic of an individual, but one aspect of the whole person. For example, a person is not autistic, they have autism. As Annie Garrett, JAA Manager says, “We can all do better to be allies for people with disabilities. Start right where you’re sitting!”
Meet the Team:
Annie Garrett, JAA Manager, has worked in special needs services in Atlanta since 2008, and recently finished a Masters degree in Public Administration and Nonprofit Management at UGA. She was formerly a coordinator of camps for children with special needs at Camp Twin Lakes.
Lisa Houben, Community Training & Inclusion Coordinator, is a speech therapist who left a private practice to become JAA’s Community Training & Inclusion Coordinator. She has four children and is a recent transplant to Atlanta. Lisa is pleased to be in a role where she can serve the Jewish community.
Leah Heifetz, JAA Associate, has two young daughters, one of whom has Down Syndrome. After living for several years in Israel, Leah came to Atlanta. Her daughter’s diagnosis propelled her to get involved with the disabilities community here and to join our staff.
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