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Local Teen with Autism Utilizes Talent at Catholic Charities

Diocese of Metuchen Shelter

Press Release 7/26/17

METUCHEN/EDISON – Diagnosed with high functioning autism with Asperger’s at age 7, James Rosa attends a therapeutic behavioral school where he has access to his counselors, group sessions, medication and many other special services, geared to those with his diagnoses. Special offerings of the school include culinary classes, woodworking, photography and cosmetology, which James has been studying since he was in 6th grade.

James Rosa gives a haircut

James’ mom Amanda says he has always been attuned to the needs of others, often putting them before his own.  For his 13th birthday, James’ family took a trip to NYC, where as part of the trip, James made and distributed lunches to homeless men and women.  So it was no surprise when James, now 15, after four years of study and ready to implement his cosmetology skills, chose to do so at the Catholic Charities’ Ozanam Inn, a shelter for homeless men in Edison, NJ, giving haircuts to the men who currently reside there.  Eight residents signed up to get a haircut during James’ first visit on July 10, 2017.

Catholic Charities Resident Attendant Supervisor, Cynthia Bagner expressed appreciation for the important service James provided.  James was enthusiastic to have provided the service and eager to start his barbering career, “I was very happy to have this opportunity brought to my attention by my mother’s friend, Cynthia.  It made me feel great about myself knowing I am able to provide my services to the people who need it the most. It was amazing to be able to do it”, he said. Eight gentlemen received haircuts and were very pleased, one of whom waited 7 months to get a haircut before James’ visit.  Both James and the shelter are hoping to make this a monthly event for the residents.

Looking forward, James will attend a vocational school part time during his junior and senior years and will earn his cosmetology license in addition to his diploma.  He will have a chair waiting for him at his local barber and will continue to advocate for the homeless and raise awareness about Autism.

The Ozanam Inn Men’s Shelter provides temporary and emergency lodging, meals, physical and mental health assessments, crisis counseling, assistance with housing and employment, case management and referrals to homeless men.  14,212 nights of care and 28,424 meals were provided to 163 men in FY 2016.  For more information about Catholic Charities, Diocese of Metuchen and how you can help those in need, visit the agency’s website,



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