MARILYNN SCHNEIDER, director of Jewish Service for the Developmentally Disabled’s (JSDD) WAE Center, announced her retirement last month after over 20 years of service. Under Marilynn’s leadership, the WAE (Wellness, Arts, Enrichment) Center has become known throughout the state of New Jersey as a model program for engaging people with developmental disabilities in continuing education and creative endeavors with respectful appreciation for their abilities and talents.
Schneider began her affiliation with JSDD as a chaplain, then moved on to become director of residential services. She served as director of the WAE Center for the past 16 years. As a staunch advocate for individuals with developmental disabilities, Schneider focused on providing the resources and support each individual needed to find joy and a sense of meaningful participation in society. Her personal mission was to assure that those who reside in a JSDD home (and others) could have the same choices and access to opportunities available to anyone.
“To say that she has left her mark on JSDD does not nearly express how important she has been to the growth and reputation of this agency,” said Linda Press, JSDD executive director. “The WAE Center is a legacy and will always be tied to Marilynn, her tenacity, and her dedication to finding the spark within every person.”
She added gratitude for Schneider’s “unwavering commitment and support through the many challenges presented along the way.”
Schneider developed a team of professionals dedicated to the WAE Center’s mission. “We will continue on with her voice inside our heads inspiring us all to see the potential, appreciate the talent, and never underestimate the ability of anyone to achieve extraordinary things,” said Press. “She has left JSDD better today than when she arrived.”