Project Community Launches “You & Me”: The newest innovative program to help special needs residents of our community
Project Community is proud to announce “You & Me,” a Project CHILDD (Community Help In Learning about Developmental Disabilities) program in partnership with law enforcement in Pelham and Pelham Manor. Continuing in its 35 year commitment to empower independence, provide safety, and improve the quality of life of our children, teens and adults in our community, this is the newest of innovative programs from Project Community.
Public Safety For All - A Collaborative Effort
As the mother of an autistic young adult, Project Community board member Susan Deland has often worried over the years about her daughter Diane. “There have been various situations since Diane was a little girl where the police have been involved with finding her after she escaped from our home,” said Susan. “This led me to informally speak to the Pelham police to familiarize them with her photo and her particular idiosyncrasies. I have often thought we needed to do this more formally, as a community, and I am thrilled they can automate this data with it readily accessible to the officers, should the need arise.” According to Dr. Anne Frost, President & cofounder of Project Community, "Research has proven that the most effective way to achieve public safety for ALL residents of a community results from police and community members working collaboratively to create effective public safety. We are extremely confident that working closely with both Pelham and Pelham Manor Police, ‘You & Me’ will be a tremendous success."
How It Works
Safety will be facilitated by information provided by families, on a volunteer basis, for a registry to be kept by both Pelham and Pelham Manor Police Departments. This registry will feature pertinent information, including a photo as well as description of unique behavioral characteristics. Police officers will have immediate technological access to this information while they are in the field. This registry will help to mitigate dangerous encounters that can be triggered by a lack of familiarity with special needs citizens.
Join The Registry
Another goal for the registrants is to be able to view our police officers as helpers whom they can trust to keep them safe. Registration will begin with the participant coming with their families to the police stations to meet with available police officers. This will initiate or reinforce a relationship to promote trust and comfort. Such a positive experience will be important when a participant is having difficulty and is approached by a police officer. It is especially important when the situation requires that the participant be reunited with their families.
Designated Community Safe Spaces
Specific signage with friendly, informative graphics will be designed for posting in stores that will be identified as a "safe space." This insignia will also be part of an appropriate piece of jewelry that will be offered to participants in the program, both to add to their sense of safety and for ease of informed recognition by any community member.
Community Awareness Sessions
The third goal of “You & Me” is to promote awareness and a united community. Awareness sessions will be offered by Project Community experts for schools and community organizations, with up-to-date guidance on the Project Community website. These awareness sessions will promote community understanding of our citizens with autism, ADHD, Down Syndrome, anxiety, depression, etc. The emphasis of a united community is to promote the health of everyone through informed and sensitive interactions resulting in a stronger sense of belonging.
Project Community is developing a joint Community Advisory Board to promote optimum success for a very important segment of our community, and for ensuring greater pride in the ability of all community members to help one another.