Cornerstone Montclair is on a mission to empower people with disabilities to be active participants in the vibrancy of their community.
Cornerstone Montclair LLC was recently established to be a leader and community partner committed to making Montclair more inclusive for people of all abilities. In fulfilling its mission, Cornerstone Montclair will focus on three “mission pillars”: meaningful work, social engagement and healthy living through movement.
Cornerstone Montclair’s mission will be achieved by creating opportunities in a 3,000 square-foot building located at 198 Bellevue Avenue. By offering highly desirable, yet affordable space in the building, Cornerstone Montclair is partnering with businesses, non-profits and individuals who provide job opportunities, professional services, and educational and recreational activities that compliment the empowerment of people with disabilities. We hope to provide a model to demonstrate to our community that these types of opportunities can work for all of our residents if we think creatively and work collaboratively. The building is scheduled to open in fall 2017.
Wendy Lacey, Founder and Executive Director, says “Cornerstone Montclair will have activities and businesses attractive to everyone, and simply goes out of its way to make sure that ‘everyone’ includes people with disabilities.”
Cornerstone Montclair has several mission partners already in place, including:
• The Inclusive Movement Center, run by award-winning NJAPE.org (New Jersey All People Equal), will offer inclusive movement classes and sports/fitness training for individuals and groups of all athletic abilities. Each class will be structured upon a very simple but powerful approach; activities will be “FOR EVERYONE, WITH EVERYONE.” In addition to family classes and personal training sessions, classes will include Montclair Ninja Warrior, Rock & Rope, KangaRoll, Box Builders and Zumba. NJAPE also employs interns who have disabilities to work alongside their typically developing peers. More information about NJAPE can be found at www.njape.org
• Creative Speech Solutions, a private pediatric therapy center started by Cynthia Marrapodi over 20 years ago, is a well-known and respected practice based in Summit, NJ. CSS employs a team of highly talented and knowledgeable speech-language pathologists and will have an office at Cornerstone Montclair, where they will provide speech, language, and feeding evaluations and therapy. Social skills and play programs will also be offered to help improve the communication and social skills of children with all abilities. For more information about CSS, please visit their website at www.creativespeechsolutions.com.
• Lauren Kaiser Art & Design will be offering art classes for people of all abilities, including kids, adults and seniors, as well as art portfolio coaching, vocational training, resume writing, and interview preparation for the graphic design industry.
• Include Montclair, a local organization whose mission is to foster and facilitate ongoing opportunities for people with disabilities to participate in and be valued as respected members of a fully inclusive Montclair community.
In addition, Cornerstone Montclair has approximately 600 square feet of prime real estate available on the first floor available at an attractive rental rate. The retailer would have to appeal to a wide variety of community members and make a commitment to help further the mission.
Lacey says, “Behind the spirit of the mission is the message that people with disabilities aren’t satisfied sitting on the sidelines. They find fulfillment in the same things their non-disabled peers do: they want to be contributors, they want to work, they want to be healthy and have fun. Perhaps most importantly, they want to have friends and feel comfortable and welcome where they live.”