Organizations That Make a Difference: A Consortium of Care

Every year we spread the good word about the many caring organizations in and around our community. It turns out that one very special one, started in 1982, had escaped our notice  — until last month, when a neighbor called and asked if we’d ever heard of South East Consortium. “No,” I admitted honestly, “Why…

Published February 5, 2016 9:57 PM
3 min read

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Makediff-thEvery year we spread the good word about the many caring organizations in and around our community. It turns out that one very special one, started in 1982, had escaped our notice  — until last month, when a neighbor called and asked if we’d ever heard of South East Consortium. “No,” I admitted honestly, “Why don’t you have someone from there call me.”

By Robin Jovanovich

makeadiffEvery year we spread the good word about the many caring organizations in and around our community. It turns out that one very special one, started in 1982, had escaped our notice  — until last month, when a neighbor called and asked if we’d ever heard of South East Consortium. “No,” I admitted honestly, “Why don’t you have someone from there call me.”

Ten minutes later I received a call from a program supervisor at South East, and two days later, a very polite young man named Jack Reisman was sitting in my office. He spoke excitedly and at length about the special needs community, ages 5 and up, they serve. The Consortium office is in the Mamaroneck Town Center, but they serve 11 Westchester member municipalities, including Rye.

“We operate out of high school gyms and recreation and civic centers,” said Reisman. “But we travel to lots of facilities. I started a rock-climbing program in New Rochelle. We went to the holiday train show at the NY Botanical Garden. In March, we’ll be on the court at Madison Square Garden during the Knicks halftime show. On April 2, we hold a Leprechaun Leap.”

Check South East’s schedule and you’ll see a wealth of offerings, from play production to jewelry and soap-making workshops to Friday night socials. Every Saturday morning they offer swimming (they even have their own team, the Sharks). Their upcoming Super Bowl Party is the one to be at this Sunday.

“Ours is a community,” says Reisman. “Everyone is looking forward to the St. Patrick’s Dance, and the prom, which is hosted by Bronxville High School. Meanwhile, Zumba has become the rage among many of the 350 participants.”

Reisman started volunteering at South East, as a Saturday aide, when he was 15. It was a good match. “When I was home from college on a break and they needed a hand, I would be there.” While his undergraduate degree is in History, he also earned a Master’s in Occupational Therapy. “Both have served me well in my job here the last four years,” he said.

South East has a small but dedicated staff, headed up by Jerry Peters, former director of the Special Olympics. Among the part-time staffers are teachers, graduate students, speech pathologists, and investment bankers.

Close to 50 percent of South East’s funding comes from Medicaid, and the remainder from member municipalities, fundraisers, and nominal program fees.

As South East Consortium approaches its 34th anniversary, Reisman hopes that more and more volunteers will offer their time and talents so that they can expand the range of activities and services even more, and make that dream of a bike rodeo, for one, a reality.

To contact South East Consortium, call 698-5232.

 

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