ENGAGE EDUCATE EMPOWER episode 3 with Deborah Jaffe

Deborah Jaffe has worked with special needs children for many years, and she witnessed the challenges and struggles they face everyday. They touched her heart, and inspired her with their strength, perseverance, and hopeful determination. While working at a private school for special needs children, she saw an opportunity to help the school and its students. The school’s 50th year of service coincided with her 50th birthday. Instead of gifts, she started a fundraising effort. She created a GoFundMe page, and founded two Facebook support groups dedicated to special needs children (“Help Special Children and “Friends of Children with Special Needs.”) As interest grew, she decided to focus on managing one group “Friends of Children with Special Needs” https://www.facebook.com/groups/926622747468511/?ref=share  Membership continues to flourish, and it is currently at almost 3,500 members. She also connects with many in the special needs community on LinkedIn, with almost 18,000 connections. She uses her vast network and social media outreach as a platform to help the special needs community, by sharing useful information and resources, offering support, inspiration, and guidance, connecting people for assistance and advice, creating awareness, and promoting inclusion and acceptance. One of the group’s goals is to bring together like-minded people and create a sense of community among its members. It is a very active group, where many members regularly post, share information, and interact with each other.
Deborah consistently seeks out new information and resources to share. She is also a regular guest on a local area special needs radio show called “Everything Special Needs” http://everythingspecialneeds.info/ and was offered  her own radio show to further her advocacy goals. She participated in an award-winning movie about the ability in disability, called “One Little Finger,” which has been shown at various international and domestic film festivals, including the Cannes Film Festival in France. It has also been in limited release in select theaters. Over 80 children and young adults acted and played major roles in the film, many of whom have disabilities. It is based on actual people and events, with many of those people playing themselves in the movie. Many talented people were involved in the project, including Quincy Jones, Julian Lennon, Dave Mason, and Kechi Okwuchi (from America’s Got Talent). Deborah recently attended the red carpet premieres of the movie in LA and NJ. She has a spoken word track on the CD for the soundtrack, and she also worked to get others involved with the film. She has worked at promoting the movie, and getting it to be shown in local schools and communities as an educational tool, for the purpose of creating awareness about disabilities and anti-bullying.



Attached are the links for more information about the movie:
She was also interviewed about her advocacy work for an internet TV show, called the “No Excuses Show,” hosted by Rodney John Arbona (https://m.youtube.com/watch?feature=youtu.be&v=KnNE2Bmzk7c ). 
Recently she received a Daily Point of Light award for her service work with “Friends of Children with Special Needs,” her Facebook support group dedicated to special needs children and people with disabilities. It was issued by “Points of Light,” the world’s leading organization dedicated to volunteer service. The Daily Point of Light award was established by the late President George H.W. Bush during his presidency, and it is given to individuals who donate their time to better their communities.
Points of Light | Creating a Global Culture of Volunteering
 She is also the recipient of the November 2019 Heartland Hero Award, which is an award given by njheartland.org and The Pascale Sykes Foundation, in recognition of her advocacy work on behalf of children with special needs and people with disabilities. 
She has been named an #ALLin Ambassador by the disability blog website Disability Talk (disabilitytalk.co.uk), which is someone committed to promoting equality and diversity.
She wrote a guest blog for Fitness For Health and FitnessForHealth.org. It was published, and it appears on the website fitnessforhealth.org, the Fitness For Health Facebook page, the Fitness For Health Twitter stream, the LinkedIn page for Fitness For Health, and the LinkedIn page of Marc Sickel, the president of the organization https://fitnessforhealth.org/?p=7014
She is also scheduled to be interviewed for a July episode of the “Xceptional Leaders” podcast, hosted by Mai Ling Chan, which spotlights people who focus their efforts on helping people with disabilities.
She attended the UN observance of World Autism Awareness Day on April 2, 2019 in NYC, for participation in panel discussions about disability rights and assistive technologies. She continues to look for new opportunities to give support and assistance to this underserved and underrepresented community. 
She has been married for 23 years and has a 19 year old daughter in the U.S. Air Force.

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