Meet Adam Roth, Director of Special Needs
Adam Roth’s primary goal is to make Judaism accessible to all. Through agency and community resources, Adam works with our community’s early childhood centers, religious schools, and Hebrew day schools to ensure diverse learners are able to achieve success within their educational environment. Additionally, Adam works with the Jewish Federation family of agencies to provide insight into best practices and to assist in fostering an inclusive organizational climate that benefits all stakeholders. Adam can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What our Special Needs Area of Impact can do for our community:
"My two children have been actively involved in the ACHaD program at the Katz Jewish Community Center for a few years. The best part about this is that all of their activities are under one roof! It's like a second home for my kids. There is no need for a different transition every few months. They love it here, and so do I."
members belong to the Special Needs Coalition of SNJ Facebook group, a thriving online community where members can find resources and support from experts and families in the community
people participated in the Tess Norton Purim Classic with a Havdallah service and basketball game to celebrate the ACHaD (Achieving Community Hopes and Dreams) program
campers participate in Open Hearts/Open Doors, a fully integrated program for children with disabilities to experience camp with age-appropriate peers at the JCC Camps at Medford
students with diverse learning needs receive supportive services in our community’s religious schools
individuals with disabilities are currently living in the quads at Weinberg Commons, a national award-winning affordable housing community for older adults (age 55+) and adults with special needs, which offers independent living with on-site supportive services
Take a glimpse into the many ways the Federation family supports those with special needs.
The ACHaD Program of the Katz JCC provides individuals with special needs, of all ages, a safe and nurturing environment to build social skills, enhance self-esteem and cultivate friendships. Our goal is to enhance the physical, social and emotional development of participants through supportive programs that facilitate a sense of empowerment and independence. Participants express themselves in creative ways, gain confidence to interact with the community and their peer group while developing a sense of belonging.
Since 1998, ACHaD has evolved to meet the needs of individuals with special needs and their families in our community with the help of our passionate and dedicated staff and volunteers. We pride ourselves on fostering personal relationships with each individual and family.
The JCC welcomes families of all faiths, cultures and abilities to be a part of our vibrant community, and we encourage all to participate in our programming.
We host a variety of special events throughout the year including a Dance Party, Passover Seder, Tess Norton Purim Basketball Classic, Art Gallery Reception, Bowl-A-Thon, and Community Resource Fair. Additional community outreach events include a Friendship Connection Walk, Workshops for parents of teens through young adults, and special presentations.
ACHaD works with individuals that span a variety of intellectual and developmental disabilities including Autism, Down Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, communication impairments and more.
The Open Hearts/Open Doors (OH/OD) special needs inclusion camp program provides accommodations for children with disabilities to fully participate with age-appropriate peers at the JCC Camps at Medford and Early Childhood Camps at the Katz JCC. Campers in the OH/OD program span a variety of intellectual and developmental disabilities including Autism, Down Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy and communication impairments.
The majority of our OH/OD campers receive one-on-one assistance, though some share assistance with other campers. Integrated within camp, a trained shadow (advocate) helps each child fully maximize his/her experience. Advocates are hired and trained directly by our leadership staff team, and all camp staff also receive training from our Open Hearts/Open doors team about creating an inclusive camp experience.
There is no additional cost for a child to participate in OH/OD program as this is made possible through generous donations and fundraising events throughout the year.
Please contact Sara Sideman, JCC Camps at Medford Camp Director, at email@example.com.
The JFCS Self-Hired Respite Care service provides support for families who are facing challenges in caring for their children (up to age 21) with developmental disabilities and gives families short-term relief from their daily care responsibilities. This time can be used to care for other family members, run errands, or take a much-needed break.
Parents are given the option of hiring someone they already know and trust to provide care for their child. It also helps families who are concerned that they may be “wearing out their welcome” with unpaid caregivers.
Self-Hired Respite allows families to hire their own caregiver – perhaps a neighbor, relative, or friend – to care for their child. Families may utilize up to 60 hours of care within a 90-day period.
This program is funded by the Department of Children and Families (DCF) and administered by NJ PerformCare. Eligible families should contact NJ PerformCare at 877.652.7624. Families must not be receiving any other form of respite at the same time as this service. Families must also renew their Family Support Application with NJ PerformCare every year by calling the above-referenced number.
A high school transition program through JFCS, which helps many students with special needs transition to adult life, including:
Work Readiness Skill Training
These services are also available directly through DVRS under Pre-Employment Transition Services
Project SEARCH is a nationally recognized one-year, high school transition program which provides education and training of employability skills to students with disabilities.
Educational services and classes are provided through a JFCS Skills Trainer and Job Developer at a site of employment, in collaboration with a school program and the employer.
JFCS is proud to be the Community Rehabilitation Provider for both Jefferson Health and TD Bank Project SEARCH programs. The program occurs on-site at Jefferson Health, Cherry Hill or Stratford (in collaboration with the Y.A.L.E. School) and at the TD Bank corporate campus, Mount Laurel (in collaboration with the Lenape Regional High School District).
Other collaborative partners include the New Jersey Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services (DVRS) and the NJ Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDD).
If interested in the program, communication should go through the Y.A.L.E. School or Lenape Regional High School District.
SOAR offers fun social and recreational activities for adults who require more support in a group setting.
SOAR events are led by a professional staff member, along with numerous volunteers who have been trained to work with adults with developmental disabilities. The staffing ratio for all events is approximately 1:3, ensuring that each participant gets the attention they need to fully enjoy the activity.
Activities are held monthly, generally on Sunday afternoons.
If interested, please contact Linda Newman at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A 6 month program that provides culinary training to adults with disabilities, to help prepare them for a career in the hospitality or food industry. A professional chef and an experienced occupational therapist provide training. Each participant receives 200 hours of food service training in a commercial kitchen.
It also includes weekly work readiness classes, which address topics such as teamwork, attendance, and punctuality, grooming and hygiene, safety in the workplace, communication, working effectively with supervisors, and positive professional behavior.
Students participate in the ServSafe Food Handler Course, a food and beverage safety training and certification program sponsored by the US National Restaurant Association and accredited by the Conference for Food Protection. ServSafe certification is an important addition to the résumés of our graduates.
Criteria to participate include the ability to work both independently and as part of a team, as well as the ability to read simple recipes and complete simple math problems. Students must also demonstrate appropriate social skills and be motivated to pursue a career in the food service industry. Soups and Sweets accepts individuals who wish to challenge themselves, overcome obstacles, and strive to be their absolute best.
JFCS provides Supported Employment services for those graduating from Soups & Sweets, but this is not a requirement to participate. Services will include the creation of a video résumé, so the student’s skills can be seen front and center during the job placement process.
The Supported Employment program offers support and training to help our clients meet the challenges of the workplace and achieve their fullest potential. Our person-centered approach seeks the best match for each client based on their interests, skills, aptitudes, and ideal work culture.
JFCS is an approved vendor of supported employment services through the New Jersey Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services (DVRS) and the New Jersey Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDD). We also provide Supported Employment for those with Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI).
Employment Services include:
Pre-Placement – short-term situational assessment to determine abilities, skills and interests of the client.
Job Development – Assist clients with finding paid employment. Support includes résumé building, interviewing and job searching. Our Employment Specialist will assist the client on an individual basis to obtain the best match to fit their skills and interests.
Job Coaching – assistance on site with client to help them learn the job requirements, the culture of the work environment, create an instructional task list and identify natural supports at the work site.
Long Term Follow-Along (LTFA) – As the client shows their ability to integrate at their site of employment, services may switch to monthly “check-ins” by the Employment Specialist, to assist the client in maintaining their employment and helping them navigate any issues that may occur. This service is funded by both DVRS and DDD.
TOPS is for young adults with developmental disabilities, who have graduated high school and are seeking enrichment activities to supplement their week. We want to encourage our clients to maintain employment and enrich other facets of their lives as well. It offers dynamic programming that includes physical fitness activities, music and dance, creative arts, and life skills with an emphasis on social skills and relationships.
TOPS recently opened a Life Skills Classroom to provide an opportunity for our clients to increase their level of independence at home and in the community by learning and practicing daily living skills in an authentic apartment setting with the assistance of trained facilitators and under the guidance of a licensed occupational therapist.
TOPS provides opportunities for clients to interact and gain relationships with the community at large by going on community outings in both small and large group settings. Sometimes, we just go out to have fun!
Eligibility for TOPS requires that individuals be independent in the activities of daily living for dressing, toileting, and eating.
SAIL is a social and recreational program designed for young adults with disabilities who are seeking opportunities to engage in social programs, make new friends, and just have fun. SAIL is designed for the individual, age 21 and over, who does not need direct support at community activities but is looking for ways to socialize more.
SAIL offers a variety of activities, including some offered virtually and others in person. Participants are involved with the selection and planning of activities, so that programs are geared towards their interests. Participants can choose which activities they want to attend from a monthly calendar. There is a yearly registration fee to participate, with additional event fees for most activities. All activities are professionally facilitated.
The Weinberg Commons is an affordable housing community for older adults (age 55+) and adults with special needs in Cherry Hill, NJ. This development features 8 quad units (with a total of 32 one-bedroom apartments) designated for adults with special needs in the form of congregate cottages.
All residents have access to onsite, wraparound supportive services, as well as easy access to existing Jewish Federation and family of agencies programming and services. Residents enjoy an inviting community room, fitness center, computer lab, and onsite laundry facilities.
Make a difference in someone's life by volunteering. Learn more at jewishsouthjersey.org/volunteer.