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Chris Barone has big plans for Beth Tikvah. The recently hired executive director of the Arkell Street residence for developmentally delayed adults said he’s been given a mandate by the agency’s board to expand the agency’s services, which includes outreach service. Currently the residence is home to six individuals of both Jewish and non-Jewish backgrounds, as well as offering support to individuals who live outside the residence. But Beth Tikvah’s outreach services, run until now by dedicated volunteers, has not reached its full potential.
“The way Joy Zians and Sandra Morris put together the content was excellent,” said Barone, “but the attendance has been very disappointing.”
It’s been three years since the agency has had an executive director and Barone is wasting no time in getting the word out about the role he believes Beth Tikvah should be playing in the Jewish community at large.
“We are the only agency this side of Toronto that can support individuals within a Jewish framework,” he said. Barone’s vision is Beth Tikvah’s taking its place among other Hamilton agencies in offering support to individuals with developmental disabilities “at every life step down the road.” That’s why it’s so important to him that the community be informed that families seeking support for their loved ones can state a preference to be assisted by a Jewish organization.
“If that information is there, it would only make sense for us to provide that service and support because we have the knowledge, we have the background, we have the history.”
“But we not only have an obligation to the Jewish community,” he added. “We have an obligation to the Hamilton community to try to minimize the wait lists for residential or supported independent living.”
A native of Ancaster, Barone, 41, brings a wealth of experience to his new role. He spent 14 years working Rygiel Supports for Community Living, working his way up to Director of Services.
“I feel very lucky to be in this role because I’m going to be with an agency that is focused on growing,” he said. “As Franklin Simkevitz, chair, and the board indicated at the very beginning, ‘we know there are needs out there that are not being met within a Jewish framework and our goal is to fill those needs, so to have this opportunity is huge.’”
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