Volunteer Blog: Home Improvements for Disabled Homeowners

Written By Patrick Young, Volunteer Blog Writer for ACI

Being a homeowner with a disability presents unique challenges. You want a living environment that supports your needs functionally, but you don’t want a home that feels institutional. Thanks to changes in the market, you can find homes that suit your mobility needs or modify an existing property for better accessibility.

Posted on September 19, 2018 and filed under Housing, Volunteer Blog.

Vote for the NJDPP 2018 Grand Marshal!


1) AnnRose Rubright
As an unapologetically proud woman with Down Syndrome, AnnaRose is a role model in the community learning to embrace our voices and celebrate our disabled identities. AnnaRose is currently a student at Rider with dreams of becoming a filmmaker. Despite her young age, AnnaRose is already making waves in the disability community. She has worked for NDSS and has become a leader in many of their advocacy efforts on capital hill, including their employment campaign #EndLawSyndrome. In 2016, AnnaRose was the face of World Down Syndrome day. She is also the president and co-founder of her own by-and-for organization the Anna Foundation. AnnaRose considers Down Syndrome an important part of who she is and has dedicated so much of her young life to spreading the ideals of disability pride. She has already become a powerful force in our community and will only continue to grow and make waves.

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2) Patrice Jetter
Patrice “the Artiste” Jetter is an avid artist who paints, draws, and sews her own costumes! She received a scholarship to attend The Yard School of Art In Montclair and the Art Institute of Philadelphia. She used to do modeling in the early ‘90s and was a dancer on MTV’s The Grind, and she starred in her own cable show on Montclair’s Public Access Channel 34, The Trish Show. Today, she makes her own short films and puts them on YouTube. She has done acting and musical theater in New Jersey for 20 years, and played an angel named “Patty” in Through Our Eyes, a musical about people with disabilities written and produced by her dad, Alan Rosen. She also made costumes for her niece and her band, The Moldy Peaches, who did the soundtrack for the movie, Juno. She has won lots of gold medals in Special Olympics in gymnastics and alpine skiing.

Patrice works as a personal care assistant for her companion and volunteers at the Arc of Mercer doing art, drama and music, and models her own designs in Alllies, Inc’s Fashion Show. She was also a member of DIAL, Inc’s Advisory Council and Board of Trustees and a graduate of Project Take Charge Class of 2000, and a graduate of Partners in Policymaking Class of 2001. She currently is a member of PCIL as well as NJSILC.

Patrice was the Grand Marshal for NJDPP 2014 and we loved the energy and style that she brought to the parade!

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3) Chris Miller
Chris Miller is known as a tireless advocate for people with disabilities. Chris is a former member of the NJ Council on Developmental Disabilities and is currently on the staff of Disability Rights NJ. Chris works includes fighting for the rights of people with disabilities to vote. He is on the planning committee for REV UP NJ, which focuses on increasing the participation of people with disabilities in the election process. He has spoken at a few of REV UP NJ's events and was instrumental in obtaining several of other speakers. Chris is a natural advocate, and a future leader within NJ disability community. Chris embodies the spirit of the NJDPP.

Who do you want to become the 2018 Grand Marshal?
Posted on September 17, 2018 and filed under NJDPP.

ACI and REV UP NJ to Host US Senate Candidates Forum on Friday, September 14th 2018

On September 14th, New Jersey residents with disabilities and their families will have an opportunity to meet the candidates for US Senate.

“Every midterm election is important and this year’s is no exception,” says Carole Tonks, Executive Director of the Alliance Center for Independence, a non-profit organization that assists people with disabilities in Middlesex, Somerset and Union counties and chief organizer of the forum. “The next congress will take up many issues, and this event is our attempt to ensure that the priorities of 56 million disabled people are sufficiently addressed.”

Posted on September 13, 2018 and filed under Voting, Press Release.

Welcome Marisa!


Please welcome Marisa Pierson, Office Manager, to the ACI family! We are happy to have her!

Marisa Pierson retired from Rutgers in 2016 after 27 years of service, twelve of those as the senior program coordinator of the Clement A. Price Institute at Rutgers’ Newark campus. While at Newark, Marisa established the semi-annual Dance Symposium series in 2005 which features educational workshops and full evening performances with professional dance companies. Marisa joined the Price Institute in Newark in 2004 following 16 years managing a variety of radio and television projects at Rutgers-New Brunswick campus.

As an instructor and performer of Middle Eastern Dance, Marisa has taught for local school districts and at Rutgers-New Brunswick and the College of New Jersey, and integrated bellydance classes for ACI. She also sponsors local dance seminars in New Jersey. She is artistic director of the Mystic Moonlight Dancers of Ocean County NJ which performs for community festivals and facilities (including NJDPP 2018!).

Posted on September 5, 2018 .

Somerset Patriots Baseball Game 2018

On the evening of August 29th, ACI and friends went to the TD Bank Ballpark to root on the Somerset patriots to victory over The Road Warriors. Although it was a hot evening, everybody had a good time! There is nothing better than having some ballpark snacks while watching a good game with friends. Even Sparkee and General Admission, the Patriots' mascots, stopped bye to say hello to the ACI group.

Posted on August 30, 2018 and filed under Social Rec.

ACI and REV UP NJ Host Public Forum with US Congress District 6 Candidates

On August 27th, ACI and REV UP NJ hosted a public forum on disability issues with Congressional District 6 candidates. Incumbent Democrat Congressman, Frank Pallone, and his Republican challenger, Rich Pezzullo, discussed and responded to questions on topics including the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Affordable Care Act, and the role of the Federal Government in assisting people with disabilities. The 6th Congressional District includes towns in Middlesex and Monmouth counties. "The event offered the perfect opportunity for our constituents to meet and hear the views of the candidates for US Congress," said Carole Tonks, ACI Executive Director.

This forum was made possible by a grant from Disability Rights New Jersey, through their Protection and Advocacy Voting Access (PAVA) fund. ACI and REV UP NJ will be hosting a US Senate Candidates Forum on September 14th at Middlesex County College. Visit our website for more details: adacil.org/upcoming-events/us-senate-candidate-forum

Posted on August 28, 2018 and filed under Voting.

What's the Scoop Ice Cream Social

On the evening of August 24th, ACI and friends went to What’s the Scoop ice cream parlor in Metuchen, NJ. The ice cream and pizza were topnotch! Numerous homemade flavors to choose from left everyone happy with their choice. It was good to see some old friends that came back to join us and a few new faces that we hope will continue to come and have fun with us. Thank you so much to the staff of What’s the Scoop for making the night great!

Posted on August 25, 2018 and filed under Social Rec.