Today’s ChangeMaker is Jillian Copeland, the Founder of Main Street Connect, an inclusive, community-centered residential development where 25% of the apartments are designed and designated for adults with disabilities.
About Jillian Copeland:
Jillian was an educator, staff trainer and technology coordinator for Montgomery County Public Schools for several years prior to founding The Diener School in 2007. Since Diener’s inception, they have worked with over 250 families. Jillian served as the head of school from 2007 to 2013, board of trustees chair for the following 6 years and now serves on the board of trustees.
Jillian’s latest and greatest endeavor, Main Street, is a joint initiative with her husband Scott. Main Street is a model and a mindset, the first of its kind inclusive and affordable apartment building and community center serving people of all abilities. Main Street opened our doors to our residents in the summer of 2020 and currently has several hundred members providing 10 virtual programs per week so members can connect, learn, move, try new experiences and socialize.
Jillian feels honored and humbled to work with vulnerable populations. She has volunteered in many different capacities for several organizations ─ including CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) of Montgomery County, Children’s National Medical Center, and Bullis’ 5K Buddy Run benefitting special needs children and adults in our local community.
Currently a member of the board of directors for the Jewish Foundation for Group Homes, Jillian also serves on the disability inclusion committee of The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington, The Developmental Disabilities Administration Task Force, University of Maryland’s Transition Hub and Jubilee’s Housing Task Force.
Jillian received the 2009 Community Leadership Award from Jewish Women International (JWI), the Abe Polin Humanitarian Award from the Bender JCC in 2016, and The 2018 Bullis School’s Community Leadership Award. In 2018 she and her husband Scott received the Melvin Cohen Humanitarian Award from The Jewish Foundation for Group Homes and in March of 2020, they received Adapt’s Humanitarian Leadership Award which was to be presented in New York City. Additionally, Jillian will receive the 2020 Trailblazer award from the Vis-Arts community. She is also a proud graduate of Leadership Montgomery’s Class of 2013.
In 2014, Jillian created Teens Like Us, a weekend and summer inclusive social program designed to meet the needs of teens with disabilities in the Greater Washington area. Jillian and her husband, Scott, have joined forces to create Main Street, the first of its kind inclusive life experiences for all, GO Main Street!