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Local nonprofit members celebrate the 25 days of Christmas

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ELIZABETH, NJ--The nonprofit Community Access Unlimited (CAU) is celebrating the 25 days of Christmas by posting on its Facebook page Christmas memories and feelings from its members with disabilities. Each day another posting shares the thoughts of a different member.

“Christmas is my favorite holiday because my family gets together and we talk to one another," Mary Kurnos said. "Conversations that make you laugh.  You can feel the love. A few years ago my brother got a camera and put us on the television. He took all of our pictures – they go back 20, maybe 30 years – and they appeared on the television. My sister makes really great appetizers and after dinner we exchange gifts and it’s so much fun. I feel important, special and loved. I really feel cared about.”

“My favorite Christmas goes back to 1986 with my new mom, my father, and my siblings," Gary Ruben, who has been a member of CAU for 32 years said. "We didn’t know how to decorate a tree because of our Jewish background. My mom came home from work and said, 'Hey, what are you three doing? You don’t know how to do the tree right?' We all laughed. Then we opened up our gifts and had dinner. We woke up the next day and had Christmas day dinner and that is what I remember best.”

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"Christmas is a time of forgiveness and giving to those who don't have anything," Edwardo Droz said. "It's about giving and charity. It's about gathering and having fun. I always spend Christmas at CAU, which I love. I decorate the tree and I help make a ham. I cook just like I do for Thanksgiving. Christmas is also about meeting new people and celebrating the day Christ was born."

"I love that it’s Jesus’ birthday and I love to decorate the tree every year with staff," Beverly Williams said. "I love to bake sugar cookies at Christmas and on Christmas Eve. At my day program, I love the Christmas party because Santa Claus comes. I love to get a new dress for Christmas and go to church. When I was little my dad would dress up as Santa and bring presents for me and my sister."

"What I love about the holidays is that I get to spend time with my family and friends," Joyce Cargle said. "I'm very happy to see the holidays. God loves me and got me through two years of fighting cancer and now I'm cancer-free and I love the holidays. I love making my tree and I am in the holiday spirit all year round."

"I love the holidays," Juanna Quinn said. "My family gets together and everyone gathers around and watches the little ones and all the gifts they receive. I like to watch their face because they are always in shock about everything. My very first holiday here at CAU was 32 years ago and it was so scary. I was 22 years old and didn’t know many people. Everyone was very friendly and that is what made me feel comfortable. There was a party and Santa Claus came down to greet everyone and gave us presents and candy canes. I'm so thankful to have my family and friends for the holidays."

To see more posts visit https://www.facebook.com/CommunityAccessUnlimited/.

CAU is a statewide nonprofit providing support program and services to adults with disabilities as well as the youth served under the Department of Children and Families (DCF) to enable them to live independently in the community, providing support in areas including housing, vocational skills, and life-skills training, education, advocacy, and recreation.

About Community Access Unlimited

Community Access Unlimited (CAU), celebrating its 38 years in 2017, supports people with special needs in achieving real lives in the community. CAU provides support and gives voice to adults and youth who traditionally have little support and no voice in society. CAU helps people with housing, life skills, employment, money management, socialization and civic activities. CAU also supports opportunities for advocacy through training in assertiveness, decision-making and civil right. CAU currently serves more than 6,000 individuals and families, with the number served growing each year. For more information about CAU and its services, contact us by phone at 908.354.3040, online at www.caunj.org or by mail at 80 West Grand Street, Elizabeth, NJ 07202.

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