MONTVALE, N.J. — A teen with developmental delays needed verbal cueing as he greeted attorney Raymond Falcon on the first day of his internship at Montvale's Falcon & Singer P.C. three years ago.
Eight months later, he stuck out his hand, looked Falcon in the eyes and — all on his own — shook his hand
The teen was among three interns in Best Foot Forward — a Rotary District 7490 job-sampling initiative that Falcon devised for Bergen, Passaic and Hudson County students with special needs.
The initiative connects schools with high-functioning students with disabilities to Rotary Club businesses seeking interns.
“As a firm, our mission overlaps to try to be a place where parents of kids with special needs or mental health issues get guidance and legal work all bundled together,” said Falcon, who founded the firm with his legal partner, Doug Singer, in 1995.
Falcon & Singer is the only B Corporation-certified firm in New Jersey and one of two in New York. B-Corp businesses use the “power of business for good,” its website says.
We try to find as many ways as we can to help people with special needs become integrated into society and lead normal healthy lives.
“Schools work hard to develop skills that can be transferred to the marketplace. If the skills aren’t utilized, within six months to a year all those are gone,” he said.
Relatively quiet places with any amount of repetitive work are good for people with special needs to gain skilled experience that can’t be duplicated in a classroom, Falcon said.
Falcon is a member of the Park Ridge Rotary Club and chairman of the Special Needs and Mental Health Committee.
The firm is developing a business model in which special needs teens will work with typical people and the public can “maybe go in one day and buy something,” he said.
“These other agencies... might not be able to handle the volume, so we’ll create our own jobs,” he said. “Let the private sector step up.
“That’s what we’re good at.”