Location: Bergen, Passaic and Middlesex counties
Key Members: Christopher Perry, CEO and president
Spectrum for Living’s culture is deeply rooted in family values and principles. In 1978, a small group of Bergen County parents who had children with developmental disabilities gathered together to discuss a common concern: Who would care for their adult children when they could no longer do so? Their shared concern was the impetus behind Spectrum for Living, and the dream of founding parents Alexander Gallione, Rena Kamena, Adele Guttenberg, Edna Melosh and Annette Levy was realized. In 1983, the first Spectrum for Living site opened its doors in Closter, and, now, in 2022, Spectrum for Living’s network has grown to 27-plus facilities operating throughout Bergen, Passaic and Middlesex counties.
Spectrum for Living offers support and encouragement for adults with developmental and intellectual disabilities to socialize with likeminded clients through a calendar of events planned throughout the year. Our intention is to provide our clients with accessible means for community integration, individual development and recreation. Our goal is to provide clients with access to programs and activities that will help them increase self-esteem, gain practical skills and share in experiences that build connections to each other and the community.
Spectrum for Living is a nonprofit organization that empowers adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities to attain their highest level of skills, purpose, and independence. Our mission is achieved through an ongoing commitment to comprehensive quality services, advocacy and family partnership. We believe strongly in the philosophy that individuals with developmental disabilities have the same rights as others to a fulfilling and meaningful life. Our programs and services provide quality housing and clinical services in state-of-the-art facilities and in the homes of families caring for a disabled loved one.
Spectrum for Living serves more than 1,000 adults with disabilities each year. We provide barrier-free supportive housing, adult day programs, case management, respite services and recreational programs. Clients include adults with cerebral palsy, epilepsy, spina bifida and other neurological impairments. Many clients have substantial functional limitations and require accommodations and assistance for self-care, independent living, mobility and self-direction. Spectrum provides medical care and nursing services, as well as physical, occupational, speech and dietary therapies for each of our clients.
Spectrum for Living’s major accomplishments within the past few years directly correlate to our organization’s change in leadership and financial management systems. In 2017, CEO and President Christopher Perry joined the Spectrum team. During his initial months as CEO, he met with stakeholders, program directors and key partners to analyze our current programs and processes and brainstorm how we could reorganize ourselves to better fit the needs of our clients, staff and constituents. During the investigation process, we were quick to realize that the livelihood of our programs rests on the work of our direct-care professionals. Upon reaching this conclusion, our management teams revisited our budgets and increased funding allocation to give our direct-care professionals pay increases. We are pleased to share that, as of Jan. 1, our direct support professionals are now being compensated at $17 an hour. By investing in our staff, we are strengthening their connection to Spectrum and ensuring our clients are well-taken care of into the future. As a result of these changes, Spectrum for Living is operating more efficiently and is poised for success for many years to come.
Spectrum for Living raises money through special events, grant writing and fundraising appeals. Each year, we host an annual golf classic, 5K and gala. Our Development Team follows a robust plan to source donors that have a focus on improving the quality of life for our clients.
We rely heavily on the support from our corporate partners, foundations, civic groups and individual donors. We value relationship building and partner with donors that have a clear focus on offering capital improvement assistance, recreation development and program support for our clients.
Spectrum for Living offers its clients the freedom to make their own choices, become active members of society and have access to the same opportunities able-bodied individuals do.
To learn more about Spectrum for Living or to get involved, go to: spectrumforliving.org or call 866-367-7732.