Home 9 Podcast 9 Together We PLAN – Episode One. Advocacy in Action: Empowering Families and Individuals with Disabilities

Episode One – Advocacy in Action: Empowering Families and Individuals with Disabilities

With special Guest Paul Aronsohn, host Ellen Nalven, co-host Hazeline Pilgrim

Welcome to the inaugural episode of “Together We PLAN,” a new podcast series by PLAN|NJ, where we delve into a wide array of topics crucial to individuals with disabilities and their families. Our first episode, “Advocacy in Action: Empowering Families and Individuals with Disabilities,” sets the tone for the series by focusing on the vital role of advocacy in the disability sector. 

In this episode, we are honored to host Paul Aronsohn, New Jersey’s Ombudsman for Individuals with Intellectual or Developmental Disabilities and Their Families, and Hazeline Pilgrim, MSW. LSW, Executive Director of the Family Support Organization of Essex County.

Key Takeaways:

  • Personal Advocacy Journeys: Paul Aronsohn’s heartfelt narrative as a sibling to a sister with developmental disabilities illustrates how personal experiences profoundly shape advocacy efforts.
  • The Power of Family Involvement: Hazeline Pilgrim underscores the importance of family involvement in advocacy, emphasizing that their unique insights are key to shaping effective policies and programs. Service goals are reduction of parental stress, increased resilience, and hope.
  • Complexities of Support Systems: The episode provides an insightful look into the complexities of support systems at state and national levels, exploring both their strengths and areas for improvement.
  • Challenges in Disability Support: Discussions around significant systemic challenges, such as workforce training, compensation, and staffing, highlight the need for comprehensive reforms in disability support services.


“Advocacy in Action” is just the beginning. “Together We PLAN” will cover a variety of critical issues, including special needs trusts, mental health, housing, guardianship, supported decision-making, and other topics relevant to PLAN|NJ’s mission of supporting people with disabilities. Each episode aims to inform, engage, and inspire action towards creating a more inclusive and supportive community.

We invite our audience to join us on this enlightening journey. Your participation is crucial as we tackle these important topics. Stay tuned for future episodes where we’ll continue to explore, discuss, and advocate for meaningful change in the world of disability support.

Follow “Together We PLAN” on all major podcast platforms to stay updated with our series. Your engagement and support can make a significant impact in the lives of individuals with disabilities and their families. Join us in our mission to advocate, educate, and empower.

Follow us on Spotify and Apple Podcasts.

our story

"A Talk With Families"

The stories of three families with loved ones who have disabilities and who use PLAN|NJ's trust administration and care coordination services are told through interviews conducted in their homes by Executive Director Ellen Nalven.


Planned Lifetime Assistance Network of New Jersey PLAN|NJ
PO Box 547
Somerville, NJ 08876-0547
908-575-8300 (Phone)
908-927-9010 (Fax)


Alliance for the Betterment of Citizens with Disabilities
Association of People Supporting Employment First
Alliance for Pooled Trusts
National Alliance on Mental Illness
National Guardianship Association
National PLAN Alliance
Supportive Housing Association of New Jersey


We work hard to provide relevant and current information. If you feel something is missing or needs to be corrected, please contact us via our contact form HERE.

PLAN|NJ = Lifetime Advocacy for People with Disabilities



PLAN|NJ’s mission is to help family members of people with disabilities answer the question:

“Who will care for my loved one when I'm gone?”

We coordinate the supports needed by individuals with intellectual, developmental and physical disabilities, and challenges with mental health, including people with autism, cerebral palsy, traumatic brain injury, severe mental illness and more.

Spanish Translation

Si usted habla español y quisiera mas información sobre nuestros servicios o si desea una consulta con PLAN\NJ, por favor comuníquese con
Nancy Dilliplane, Director of Trust Services, para asistencia bilingüe:  908-575-8300, extensión 15