‘We don’t see people by their disabilities’

Members of the St. John of God Community Service staff (left photo) display a poster explaining how their clients are matched with jobs that suit their needs and skills. The organization serves all of South Jersey. ALBERT J. COUNTRYMAN Jr./The Sun

St. John of God program’s goal is to help clients find jobs

It was a festive evening on March 8, as more than 200 people took tours and learned about programs offered at St. John of God Community Service in Westville.

Brother Thomas Osorio, executive director, was thrilled about the turnout for the organization’s open house.

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“We were looking at ways to get people to visit and tour our facilities and learn what we do,” he said, explaining that one of St. John of God’s main goals is for clients to get and keep jobs in their communities.

“We don’t see people by their disabilities,’” he added. “Rather, we see people who just happen to have a disability.”

“We have four job coaches who help clients get employment in the community,” explained Jen Macchione, supervisor of vocational rehabilitation services for the organization, who was at one of the seven information tables in the main room at the open house.

Coaches get to know clients and match them to a situation that best suits them, she added.

“The program is working very well, as 80 percent of our clients are getting jobs,” she pointed out. “The open house is really great and nice for the community to see every program we have to offer.”


St. John of God Community Services – which provides for clients in all of South Jersey – is a human service organization that serves individuals from birth through adulthood. It began in 1967, the same year it established offices in Westville.

St. John of God Community Services is part of a worldwide health services organization that is active on five continents and in more than 50 countries.

Other programs highlighted during the open house included early intervention, pastoral care, human resources, the Fulfillment Center, the House of John Day Rehab and clinic services. As for the first open house, Zach Cooper, senior executive of Communications and Marketing for the organization, said, “We wanted to bring people in to interact with the program supervisors and the clients we serve. Every program and service has a booth.”

Osorio has been with St. John of God for 22 years and became executive director seven years ago. He expressed pride in his staff.

“It’s a great family atmosphere here,” he noted. “Everyone buys into our mission and serves in a spirit of hospitality. We serve clients in Camden, Gloucester, Salem and Cumberland counties.”

The organization has always had a food pantry on site; last year, it purchased a bus and converted it into a mobile pantry.

“It allows us to go into the community neighborhoods that need fresh food and produce,” Osorio said.

Families with children or adults who have special needs can get information on St. John of God Community Service by calling (856) 848-4700 or visiting www.sjogcs.org.

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