Invest in the JCC

Posted by: Ken Kaus on Monday, November 27, 2017 at 12:00:00 am




For 18 years, the JCC has been committed to supporting the community at large in a many ways. 

This #GivingTuesday, please consider investing your time, talent, or treasure (donation) to the JCC.  We need your help to continue running and to expand programs such as those being offer by our Special Needs Department.  

Recently, the JCC was honored by Special Olympics New Jersey for our commitment to the athletes and Special Needs Community.  Please take a moment to read the nomination that lead to this honor and consider an investment in the JCC.


Please contact Associate Executive Director, Paige Silberfein at 908-443-9002, if you would like to invest your time or talent. 

Nomination Letter written by Chris and Larry Hanko:

THEY CAME… THEY SAW… THEY CONQUERED… This statement truly highlights the dynamic contribution that the SHIMON AND SARA BIRNBAUM JEWISH COMMUNITY CENTER BRIDGEWATER RISINGTIDE LTP has played in developing a most qualified year-round sports training program for the athletes of Somerset County.

rising-tide-photoThe JCC partnered with Special Olympics Somerset County in 2013 by initially offering their family to establish a Special Olympics swim team.  Not only was the JCC staff psyched about this program but their existing high school competitive swim teams wanted to become volunteers for this new LTP, in order to “give of themselves” to service and interact with special need athletes of their community.  Thus the “JCC Bridgewater Rising Tide” Special Olympic swim team became reality.  This program rapidly grew to include 30 athletes and 100% qualified for Chapter Games within the first year.  With the success of their first year and the enthusiasm generated within the community, the JCC expanded their Special Olympics swim team to include a Learn-to-Swim Program for ages 6 and over.  This program is offered 6 days a week and currently include a total of 20 athletes.

With the success of their LTP underway, the JCC Bridgewater Rising Tide wanted expand their outreach “beyond the field of play” by establishing fundraising, social outreach and day programming for the Special Needs Community.  The led to an Annual Special Needs Prom with appearances from “Sparkee”, mascot from the Somerset Patriots and representation from the Scarlet Knight of Rutgers University.  Having access to stretch limo, photo booth and a full course meal added special ambiance to this evening.  The success of this event then led to an annual Spring Fling dance drawing a crowd of over 200 Special Olympics athletes “ready to party.

The momentum created by the JCC Bridgewater Rising Tide LTP then led to the creation of “J-Connects which is a series of monthly social and recreational events for our Special Olympics community, especially when they are not formally training.  This entity is designed for those over the age of 18 and their monthly activities including Bingo, a Karaoke Night, Movie Night, Make Your Own Pizza Night, Tye Dye’s and Sundaes, and Off-site Trips.  At the end of every summer, the JCC Rising Tide, in conjunction with Special Olympics Somerset County hosts a kickoff pool party and barbecue.

Expanding their commitment to the special needs community, a recently new entity was developed, the “J-Cares Adult Intern Program”.  This program provides meaningful structured programming that promotes a feeling of independence and value to adults with special needs, including autism and other developmental disabilities.  These interns are supported and mentored by training staff and participate in an array of social and recreational activities including by not limited to cooking, swimming, exercising, yoga, arts/crafts, activities of daily living, music therapy, and computer skills.  These interns likewise have opportunities to assist staff members with cooking, serving and having lunch with visiting senior citizens, interacting with preschoolers that attend the JCC Early Childhood Center and helping as “teacher’s aides” in this program as well as assisting in the front office with various mailing and clerical projects.

special-needs-prom-photoLastly, with the success of the JCC Bridgwater Rising Tide, a most recent program was developed, the “J-Zone Respite”.  This program offers special need children, ages 5-16, and their families 2 hours of respite filled with various forms of recreational activities, including pool time, sensory activities, arts/crafts and gym games.

A wise man once questioned, “Is it about the journey or the destination?”  Well, Special Olympics Somerset County must say the the journey embarked by the JCC Bridgwater Rising Tide to address the many aspects of our special needs community has been remarkable and commitment to their destination continues.  The high quality of sports training, including superior and creative programming to our Special Olympics athletes and special needs community is monumental.  As such, we are elated to nominate the SHIMON AND SARA BIRNBAUM JEWISH COMMUNITY CENTER BRIDGEWATER RISING TIDE for THE LOCAL TRAINING PROGRAM OF THE YEAR.


Please contact Associate Executive Director, Paige Silberfein at 908-443-9002, if you would like to invest your time or talent. 


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