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Special Needs Programs at the JCC in Bridgewater

Special Needs Programs at the JCC in Bridgewater


The Special Needs programs of the Shimon and Sara Birnbaum JCC are designed to provide social, educational and recreational choices for children with Special Needs, Autism and Developmental Disabilities.  The JCC offers an inclusive environment that is open to all regardless of race, gender or religious affiliation. 

Program opportunities improve quality of life, enhance physical well-being, social and emotional development, cultivate friendships and provide opportunities to integrate into the community. 

The JCC believes all communities should open their hearts and doors to everyone. For additional information on all programs and services, please contact Ellie Willoughby, JCC Special Services Director, at 908-443-9029;

J-ZONE: The J ZONE’s mission is the gift of time. During this time we support children, their families and caregivers to keep them healthy, happy and strong. Supporting a child with special needs can be tremendously challenging on parents and caregivers. Often parents and caregivers of children with special needs go for long periods of time before they get any free time.  At the J-ZONE, we give parents and caregivers the time to take a needed break to have some fun, go out to eat, run errands, have some alone time or just get some needed rest.

Our respite program provides two hours of recreational fun to children with special needs, and offers a well-deserved break to parents and caregivers from the daily challenges of childcare.  Offered Sunday afternoons:  12:30-2:30 pm (ages 5-11) and 3:30-5:30pm (ages 12-16).

JCC CAMP RUACH - Summer Camp for Ages 2 and Up:

Camp Chaverim is a program designed for campers with special needs who wish to experience a typical summer camp and integrate with peers.  Programs will be tailored to your camper’s needs.  We offer individualized programs and camp hours are adjusted when needed.  We will work around ESY programs.  One-on-one program available (shadow or aide). 

For additional information on Summer Camp, contact Alanna Steinberg, Camp Ruach Director, at 908-443-9026;


All classes taught by certified American Red Cross Water Safety Instructors who have experience and certification in the special needs area. These lessons are taught on a one-on-one basis, and include instruction on how to float independently and with a device, how to control breathing, kicking, basic paddling, front crawl, back stroke and jumping/diving into the pool. Participants will also receive special attention and instruction that may help develop competency in the water as well as improve overall coordination, strength, endurance, range of movement, as well as social and attending behaviors.


The JCC Bridgewater Rising Tide Special Olympics Swim Team introduces individuals with special needs to the wonders of swimming. As part of Special Olympics New Jersey Somerset County Area 10, the Team competes in three swim meets throughout the season: county, area, and state. We provide an enriching and welcoming environment for swimmers with special needs ages 10 and up. Athletes participating in this program should have a basic knowledge of swimming and be able to comfortably swim 25 yards of freestyle and backstroke.  Practice is held on Sunday mornings.  

For additional information on Special Needs Aquatics Programs, contact Stephanie Johnson, Head Coach/Local Training Program Coordinator at 908-443-9020 or

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