Public Hearing on Proposed Closure of Vineland Developmental Center

By Jerry Henry

The battle over the closing of Vineland Residential Center continues.  The Christie administration’s proposal to shut down the center, which is a residential center for females with developmental disabilities, is meeting with heavy opposition in a community dependent on the more than 1,000 jobs at the center.  A joint legislative panel held an emotionally charged public hearing on the proposal.

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One Response to Public Hearing on Proposed Closure of Vineland Developmental Center

  1. Thelma Harcum says:

    The impact of closing the Vineland Developmental Center will be detrimental to the community that hire
    many people in the community and will most of all impact the lives of people who cannot speak for themselves who are mentally challenged who is in need of continual support.

    A closing of this facility would be a shame as it would represent the lack of true caring for the residents and the employees who tend to most all of their daily needs.

    The Vineland Developmental Center is where I got my first job as a teenager(working rehab) which was very helpful in me
    finacially where being the oldest of thirteen children, was able to help my family. I also recieved the states first scholarship for
    nursing from which I have been a nurse (RN) for over thirty years.

    Not only did the Vineland Developmental give me job but also a place to stay (in staff resident quarters) after getting in an accident
    and was not able to work if I did not have the tranportation.

    While living at the Vineland Developmental Center, I was able to finish high school in Vineland but with a
    Bridgeton High School Diploma.

    I was also in the first nursng class at the Cumberland County College’s 2 year Program.
    If it was not for the Vineland Developmental Center, I would not have had the opportunity to excel in my life
    as I have.

    To show how a joint effort of how a community works- not many people know my story- how one person can change the lives of many is it’s beginning which is very hard to determine.

    I am also thankful for that taxi driver who gave me a ride for that first job interview from Bridgeton to the
    Vineland State School as it was called at that time. I had no money to pay him but I told him I would one day. Not only did this taxi driver take me there but waited for 2 hours after the interview and took me back to the taxi stop where I walked 10 miles back home. I hope one day I can find him or his family to thank them for giving me this start in my life.

    Mental illness is something that should be redefined. I believe each and every person have struggled with
    mental illness or a mental disruption in what you would quote a mental disabilliy of some kind; how we all heal from it(those who do) is a wonder.

    Mental illness is one of the most challenging conditions of our times because, not many people know fully how the brain works and how it don’t work.

    There should always be the comfort of knowing that people no matter who, should be protected for the remainder of their lives for conditions of mental illness or disabillities-conditions that is not their fault; conditions they don’t understand and lack the power to do anything about it.

    I hope that this is my way of giving back to a system that have propelled my life in a sunny and a great place.

    In nursing school, I was taught that 90 % of the admissions in the hospital are caused by stress related conditions; stress can develop from many, many causes.

    Lets keep the Vineland Developmental Center Open and recognize it as a place where many positive things happens- however, beauty and talents unkowning to many of the outside world.

    Thelma Harcum

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