During the pandemic, Taylor and his mom, Darnell, found critical support through The Jack and Shirley Silver Center for Special Needs at the Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan, a UJA partner.

All parents worry about what will happen to their children if either parent gets sick, and it’s especially true if their child has special needs. Now, compound that worry by a global pandemic.

That’s why when Darnell’s husband contracted Covid-19, it meant so much to them to know their young adult son Taylor, who has Asperger’s, had a support system already in place.

 “If things got bad and both my husband and I got very sick, I knew I could call the Center for Special Needs at the JCC,” Darnell said. “I knew they’d be there for Taylor.”

Darnell is referring to The Jack and Shirley Silver Center for Special Needs at the Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan, a UJA partner. Well before the current pandemic, the Center had played a critical role for their family.

Since Taylor graduated from college, he’s found a welcoming place at Adaptations, a social and vocational program run at the Center for young adults with developmental or learning disabilities. Adaptations helped Taylor land a job as an office assistant. He also took art classes through the program, attended get-togethers, and went on a cruise to Bermuda two years ago, finding friendship and community.

“The best part of Adaptations is making friends with similar needs like me,” Taylor says.

As a parent, Darnell tells us, it’s a real gift to see her son sharing experiences with his peers.

That sense of connection and community has never been more important than now.

“The Center staff has called or emailed and checked in with us regularly,” Darnell says. “The care and concern for participants at Adaptations goes beyond offering a Zoom chat or activity. People really care. They don’t hesitate to let us know how important Taylor is to the community.”