REGION – An area group with local connections is continuing its work as a social and educational group for individuals with disabilities.
“We’re open to anybody who needs a helping hand,” said Marilyn Hoffman, a Hudson resident and the mother of Faith Hoffman who is the founder of Having a Voice Boston.
”Everybody pitches in and nobody is left behind,” Marilyn continued.
Through monthly events and gatherings, community members can join and participate in activities and group meals with one another.
“Each month we try to do something centered around things going on,” said Marilyn. “We do not have an age bracket.”
Faith, a graduate of Bunker Hill Community College, has suffered from epilepsy for the majority of her life. She formed this group in 2013 in an effort to meet the needs of its members by fostering a level of independence that she believes is unseen in other organizations.
“They did not let them think for themselves, or do things that allowed the social ability to come through,” Faith wrote in a recent letter to the Community Advocate. “Independence is very important for learning.”
Faith said she believes that it is important for organizations to work with their members to create an atmosphere that is inclusive and accepting of each of its members.
“It’s not just my voice, it’s everyone’s voice,” she said. “I’m not the only one.”
The organization has approximately 20 active members in Boston, as well as in Chicago and in Florida, where Faith and Marilyn regularly travel. The organization hosts biweekly Zoom calls for its members in addition to its monthly in-person events.
The organization was established with the help of Jewish Big Brother Big Sisters of Boston, which provides other activities such as Yom Sport, a daylong sporting event for adults of all abilities as well as M.A.G.I.C., which pairs a volunteer with an adult with mild to moderate disabilities.
Having a Voice Boston will next host a gathering for its members on March 18.
Though the organization works with synagogues in Boston, Faith and Marilyn Hoffman note that Having a Voice Boston accepts individuals of all ages and faiths to participate in group activities.