Judaism finds holiness in people of all kinds and abilities, as reflected in the prayer “Blessed are You, O God, King of the Universe, who creates a variety of Creations [meshaneh ha-briyot].” The Open Hearts/Open Doors program provides accommodations in order for children with disabilities to fully participate with age-appropriate peers at the JCC Camps at Medford and the Early Childhood Camps in Cherry Hill.
Program goals include the following:
- To expose children with disabilities to informal Jewish education, Jewish identification, and Jewish pride.
- To promote positive leisure time activities through the development of recreational skills.
- To develop social skills, build self esteem, increase communication skills and build friendships with non-disabled peers.
- To provide peer modeling of age-appropriate social skills and behaviors.
- To promote independence and community acceptance.
- To offer non-disabled children opportunities to learn about disabilities and the support of individuals with disabilities.
Integrated within camp, an “advocate” counselor helps each child fully maximize his/her experience. Summer goals for each child are established with the family to maximize opportunities for growth socially, recreationally, and functionally. However, the ultimate mission of the Open Hearts/Open Doors program is to provide the opportunity for children with disabilities to become successful and welcomed members of the JCC Camps community.
This is a funded program, dependent upon grants and other fundraising functions. Therefore space is limited and there is currently a waiting list for the program.
For additional information contact Eileen Elias at 856-424-4444 ext. 1114 or [email protected]