What the Shupin Community Means to Me
  • Stories & Testimonials
  • People with Disabilities

JFCS’ Gary Shupin Independent Living Community provides connection, community, support, and independence for adults with developmental disabilities. As a Shupin Club member since 2018, Heather loves trying new activities and one day hopes to have a job and help others. Read on to learn more about Heather and her favorite things about the Shupin Social Club.

Heather Ostrow

Heather Ostrow

Tell us about yourself!

My name is Heather Ostrau. I am from Palo Alto originally and lived in Napa and Concord at other independent living programs until I found Shupin House.

When did you join Shupin Club? What were things like before you joined?

I joined the Shupin social club in 2018. I found it on the JFCS website. I had trouble making friends before at the other places. When I joined, it was a nice community and everyone was caring—good balance of support and independence.

And when did you move into Shupin House?

I loved the Shupin Club and community, and a year later, I moved into the house!

Is there an activity you have done with Shupin Club you have never done before? Did you enjoy it and why?

Jelly-making! (Jelly, the kind you put on bread). As a group, we helped with different parts of the jelly-making and worked together to make two kinds. We each took two jars home to eat!

Heather and Shupin Club members making jams and jellies

Heather and Shupin Club members making jellies.

Since the pandemic, how has it been to participate in Shupin Club virtually through Zoom now?

Technology can be hard. Some don’t mute or have trouble getting on. But Alex and the staff are amazing. They have new ideas to try like painting and cooking through Shupin Delivered! We also have had more people join who used to live at Shupin House, and people from other states.

What is the best thing about the (e)Club?

I like Shupin Delivered. We have an idea of the activity, but it is also a surprise. We open the box delivered as a group (on Zoom).

I also like game days and virtual field trips. We have been to the zoo and aquarium (virtually), even to places around the world through Google Maps.

Where do you want to virtually travel to next?


Heather with Disney Charachters

Heather with two of her favorite Disney characters at the Lesher Arts Center in Walnut Creek.

What would you tell someone why they should be part of Shupin Club?

It’s a nice community. Everyone is friendly and welcoming. It may be hard to have your own apartment at first, but the community and staff will support you to be independent.

What does Shupin mean to you?

It’s community for my life!

What is one thing you hope for in the future?

I would like to get a job. I like to help people. I want to try new activities in-person with Shupin Club.

Gary Shupin Independent Living Community includes several buildings and programs: Shupin House, Gary’s Place, and the Shupin Social Club. Because connection to community is vital, the Shupin Social Club was created to meet this need. A group of young adults gather together, now virtually, on Tuesdays and Thursdays with group activities include game nights, cooking, art, and more. For more information about Shupin Social Club, please call (415) 449-3822 or email [email protected].

To support Shupin Social Club and its engaging activities for participants who otherwise can’t afford to participate:

Gary Shupin Independent Living Community, a division of Jewish Family and Children’s Services, is made possible by the leadership support of the Barbara and Gerson Bakar Foundation.  

Major support is provided by Jay and Rose Phillips Family Foundation of California/Terry and John Levin. Additional support is provided by the Barbara Shupin Fund for Independent Living; Terry & John Levin Endowed Fund for Persons with Disabilities; Seymour & Frances Friedman Endowment Fund; Fred M. & Nancy Livingston Levin Fund for Adults with Disabilities; Jessica & Zach Whyman Fund and generous donations, fees. 

To learn more about JFCS’ services to our community or to support JFCS’ Disability Services and Gary Shupin Independent Living Community, please contact Barbara Farber at [email protected] or 415-449-3858. 


Posted by Admin on February 3, 2021