In all counties of New Jersey, The Columbus Organization provides person-centered and choice-based support coordination services modeled on the principles of self-determination. Our focus is on providing individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities the opportunity to lead a self-directed life with improved employability, relationships, and ability to make positive life decisions.
Specifically, we help clients with the following:
• Resource navigation
• Support and facilitated communication
Meaningful social interactions, integration in the community, and independence are the key pillars by which we help individuals and their families to follow their dreams and enhance their lives.
Tanya M. Wyant, PhD
New Jersey Executive Director of Support Coordination
100 Franklin Square Drive, #400
Somerset, NJ 08873
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Tanya (New Jersey Executive Director of Support Coordination): Tanya comes to the Columbus Organization with over twenty years in behavior health care from direct service to executive leadership, ensuring quality care that is person centered. Her compassion and dedication to service is the foundation of her ambitions. Through the years she has developed programs, secured funding and worked with many teams, providers, Boards and State entities across the care spectrum. She has prepared companies for Care Coordination Health Home divestiture and from case management to care coordination services. She has developed policies, procedures and work flow where strategic planning and the mission and vision of companies are embraced. Her years of success working with and leading many teams are a few of her various skills.
In her free time, for the past ten years she has been teaching behavior and social sciences in higher education and mentoring doctoral students. Some of her hobbies include painting, reading, traveling and cooking. Although there are many, one of her favorite quotes is “And when the wind did not blow her way, she adjusted the sails” (Elizabeth Edwards).
Julian (New Jersey Assistant Director of Support Coordination): Julian knew he wanted to dedicate his life to helping others from a young age. He found this calling in working with adults with developmental disabilities and has developed a passion for helping this population. For the past 7 year he has a formed a successful career working in direct support, behavioral support and support coordination. During his career in support coordination Julian has worked with some of the most intensive and challenging cases in the state of New Jersey, while developing a proficiency for navigating the New Jersey DDD system. Getting to share this knowledge to the entire support coordination team and creating positive outcomes has been a dream come true. Julian is also passionate about languages and culture being in fluent Italian and conversational in Spanish enabling him to work and create meaningful relationships with families of many different backgrounds. Julian is proud to be a part of the Columbus Organization where he can continue to make a meaningful difference in the lives of adults with developmental disabilities.
Shruti: Shruti has spent the last year and half, almost 2 years as a Support Coordinator at The Columbus Organization. Shruti earned her Bachelor of Social Work at Ramapo college which she accumulated 680 hours of field experience at Care One, Care Plus, and CASA for Children. Shruti obtained her graduate degree in Master of Social work from New York University where she accumulated 600 hours of field experience at the County of Bergen, Juvenile Family Crisis Intervention Unit-Family Guidance.
My name is Rahminique Hill and I truly enjoy helping others. I have a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Rutgers University and over 10 years of social service experience. I have been a Support Coordinator for 3yrs and I’m very passionate about assisting each individual that I service achieve their highest potential. Lastly, my favorite quote is “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, what are you doing for others” by Martin Luther King Jr.
Khris-Ann: Support Coordinator Khris-Ann has been a Support Coordinator for two years, and began working with Columbus in December 2018. Before working with the Columbus Organization, Khris-Ann was a Support Coordinator at Progressive Comprehensive Services for eight months. She graduated from Rutgers State University with her Bachelors in Social Work. Khris-Ann enjoys reading, listen to music and trying restaurants from various cultures.
Wendy: Support Coordinator who brings 15 (+) years of experience in the Mental Health and NJ Children’s System of Care. Wendy has a passion for helping others succeed. Wendy enjoys spending time with family, cooking and meditation.
Penelope: Support Coordinator, Penelope, has worked with individuals with disabilities for over ten years. She has performed many roles in this field from direct care support professional to a program manager for a thriving day habilitation program. She has her Masters of Science in Developmental Disabilities with a concentration in adult and transition services. Penelope has a passion for helping individuals live meaningful enriched lives while accessing available supports in their community.
Brian: Brian has worked as a high school teacher, a college professor, a mental health advocate and educator, a filmmaker, and a writer since graduating from Columbia University with his Master’s in clinical psychology in 2001. He has taught English literature, SAT verbal prep, psychology, human sexuality, psychology of gender, human development, film, and health. He has also written short stories, profiles/interviews, literary reviews, and essays for the literary journals PANK and Bloom, the third largest newspaper in New York, Newsday, the Andy Warhol-founded pop culture magazine, Interview Magazine, and co-founded and edits The New Engagement, a literary journal. He has also had a novel and graphic novel published and a feature film produced.
Anna: My name is Anna, and I have been a support coordinator for two years. I have a master’s inPsychological Services and bachelors in Psychology at Kean University. I have had experience working as a support counselor for six years in group homes and community based supports. My passion is to advocate for parents and caregivers with special needs. I am also a mother of three and have a child with autism. I also attend meetings at the Family Support Council of Union and Somerset County, and I am interested in public policy and affecting change in our community.
Dolores: Dolores “Lori “ has been a support coordinator for the past two years, and recently joined the Columbus team to continue to advocate for individuals for a quality life. Lori has 8+ years experience working with DCCP and presently volunteers with Domestic Violence response team helping victims of DV. Lori enjoys gardening and is a USDA certified urban farmer providing food ensure individuals with knowledge and produce to sustain themselves from food shortages. Lori encourages people and enjoys her husband and children. She likes the outdoors where she rock-climbs, skis, bike rides and gardens. Lori has an MPA from Rutger University.
JoAnn: JoAnn is new to The Columbus Organization and comes to us after spending the last 3 ½ years as an employment specialist. While in this position she worked tirelessly to help adults, with all types of disabilities, prepare to enter the competitive workforce. JoAnn earned her Bachelor of Science in Secondary Education from Cedar Crest College in Allentown, PA. While working toward her BS, JoAnn also earned her Special Education Certification. It was during her special education student teaching experience that JoAnn realized her dream, which is helping adults with disabilities to reach their full potential. JoAnn is looking forward to a long and fulfilling career with The Columbus Organization.
Shantelle: Shantelle has a Bachelor of Arts in Allied Health Studies. She comes to Columbus with five years of experience in health Insurance and an internship at Saint Clare’s Behavioral Health Services. She worked with members, health providers, clinicians, and a Health Educator. She is driven to succeed at whatever she does. She strives for high quality in all the work that she has done. Shantelle has a heart for servicing individuals in any way that she can. Shantelle loves God, skin care, personal finances, and spending quality time with friends and family. She is excited to be a part of The Columbus Organization.
Susan (Senior Support Coordinator): Susan has been a Support Coordinator for the last three years and has almost 20 years of healthcare operations and management experience. She earned a BS in Business Management and Marketing as well as a BA in Therapeutic Recreation from Kean College. She earned an MBA in healthcare administration from Moravian College in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania in 2012. Earlier in her career she was a Recreation Therapist in a subacute setting, eventually becoming a licensed nursing home administrator and regional director of clinical sales. Susan served on the board of directors for MOCEANS Center for Independent Living for five years (serving as board secretary for three years), where she developed a passion for serving people with developmental disabilities. She enjoys public speaking presenting such topics as inclusion and diversity in the workplace at the Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank and increasing awareness of common barriers faced by people with disabling conditions in the workplace at the Facing the Future annual conference. She is a widely published ghost writer and is now working on her first book, Whispering Out Loud; the psycho-social aspects of voice loss. In her free time, Susan is an avid crochet artist, loves to cook and volunteer. She has donated her time to the American Diabetes Association and NORWESCAP a local organization where she helped to facilitate a course on fall prevention for older adults.
Aneesha: Support Coordinator, Aneesha, has worked with individuals with disabilities for over the past 5 years, serving as a direct care support professional. Aneesha has a Masters degree in Human Resource, Training and Development from Seton Hall University. Aneesha has a Law Enforcement background, but finds that her passion is more of integrating individuals with special needs into societal norms to promote a healthy and inclusive life in their communities.
Allani: Allani has been a support coordinator with Advocates in Action for 10 months and is new to the Columbus Organization team. Prior to support coordination, Allani was an employment specialist with Waters and Sims Employment Services for 2 years and worked with children at Ocean Mental Health Services for a 1 ½ years. Allani graduated from Montclair State University majoring in Psychology and minoring in Child Advocacy and English. Allani enjoys reading, cooking, meditating, spending time with family, and finding new forms of self-care.
My name is Pamela Drake, I have a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of Phoenix online program. I began working as an early childhood assistant teacher with children ages six weeks – two and a half years old. I worked in the field of early childhood for almost ten years. I began working with individuals with intellectual disabilities in late 2012 to 2014 as a Direct Support Professional, in a day program, which I took a break from after my youngest son was born in 2014, during that time I also became a caregiver for my father for a few years. I then returned to work as a lead teacher for an early childhood center for the next two years. From there I decided that I really enjoyed working with individuals with intellectual disabilities and returned to work for the same day program in the beginning of 2018. I also have experience in group home settings as well as a short time with a supported living program. I enjoy spending time with my family, and helping others.
Ming: Ming is the support coordinator for the Middlesex/Passaic County Area. Prior to coming to Columbus, Ming was a Group Home Manager for an organization in South Plainfield, New Jersey for two years. Ming has also been a Behavioral Health Counselor, a Senior Director for a Summer Camp in Pennsylvania, and a Culinary Arts instructor for elementary school aged children in Bound Brook New Jersey. Ming has his bachelor’s in psychology from Kean University in Union New Jersey and his associates in History Teacher Education from The County College of Morris in Randolph New Jersey. When Ming isn’t working, Ming’s hobbies include being a frequent patron of flea markets, theater arts, museum hopping, cooking, and trying new foods. Ming is excited to be part of The Columbus Organization and working with the many families.