June 26, 2013
“Best Kept Secret” is a feature-length documentary about the struggles of [The John F. Kennedy School in Newark] teacher Janet Mino, a veteran educator who specializes in helping severely autistic kids. The film follows Mino as she prepares six young men at JFK for the harsh realities of life once they “fall of the cliff” — Mino’s words for what happens when they age out of the public school system at 21. The film, made with a grant from the Sundance Institute’s Documentary Fund — awarded to about 50 filmmakers in the world each year — [had] its New Jersey premiere Saturday [May 4, 2013] in Montclair.
Janet has since gone to work on something else – creating a dedicated center in Newark for young adults with severe autism. More from the Star-Ledger:
Mino … hopes someday to open what she’d call the Valentine Center in Newark to help autistic students transition into adulthood. Named after her late mother Louise Valentine, the center she envisions would offer both job programs and recreational activities to autistic young adults. Mino is working to get her dream off the ground; she’s applying for non-profit status, and is looking for grant writers and a site. “The need is so great, so I have to put myself out there,” she said.
Janet came to the Community Foundation of New Jersey to create a fund for the center. You can support this very worthy effort whether you’re a CFNJ donor (by accessing DonorCentral) or not (by clicking to donate online). Please contact CFNJ with any other questions about the Valentine Center Fund.