Meet Janet Livingston

From one role to another

This winter, Janet Livingston will step down from her dual roles as co-chair of The Associated's Caring Commission and co-chair of the Jewish Federation of North America's (JFNA) Services and Public Policy Disability Committee to take on new leadership opportunities at The Associated. While she will still be a member of the Caring Commission working on their goals to make things better for people with disabilities, she will be taking on a new responsibility.

As she segues into chairing Chapter Two, a program that engages empty nest women in The Associated, she is looking forward to sharing her passion for the Jewish community with her peers.

And Janet, a Baltimore native, has incredible passion for the work of The Associated since first becoming involved in 1984. At that time, she had returned to the city as a young, single woman and she wanted the opportunity to get involved in the community and meet new people. She reached out to a family friend who introduced her to the Young Leadership Council.

It was an experience that hooked Janet from the beginning.

She became involved on the board of the JCC and Jewish Community Services (JCS). She became active in Campaign and became the Women's Department Campaign Chair. A member of JFNA's National Young Leadership Cabinet for six years, she went on to work in the Women's Campaign regionally and nationally.

When her son was 7, he was diagnosed with autism, so Janet became deeply involved in his care and education. As he got older, she turned her personal experiences into a commitment to individuals with disabilities.

She sat on the Disabilities Task Force of the Caring Commission. The Task Force focused on ways in which The Associated system could better assist people with disabilities.

"One of the things the Task Force discovered, at that time, was that people felt they had a hard time finding services and information for individuals with disabilities and their families," she says.

The work of the Disabilities Task Force led to the development of the Baltimore Jewish Abilities Alliance, a website and in-person resource for individuals with disabilities and their families. Today, the Caring Commission is looking at how to maximize the use of technology in the social service arena so as to better meet the needs of individuals with disabilities, caregivers and older adults.

Janet's involvement in this arena led to her appointment as co-chair of JFNA's Services and Public Policy Disability Committee, working with lay and professional leaders nationwide. Together, they look at best practices and programs for meeting the needs of the Jewish disability community.

Through this work, Janet recently attended Jewish Disability Advocacy Day in Washington, DC. She joined more than 100 participants nationwide and they advocated for Social Security Disability Insurance, slated to become insolvent in 2016. They also advocated for funding to the Transportation Administration to make new investment in public transportation to increase access for individuals with disabilities.

"The Associated helps nurture and mentor you," she says. "It's a place where you can find your passion, whether it's helping individuals with disabilities, children and Jewish education, seniors or any number of causes. It's been an opportunity for me to see how one person can make a difference. I can't wait to turn on the women in Chapter Two to the wonderful things we are doing."

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