The JCC’s Bulletin dates back to the 1930s, when it was a premier source of news for the local Jewish community. We are proud to continue this tradition of keeping our JCC community informed via our virtual Bulletin.
The bulletin circa 1974
As we say goodbye to summer, fall gives us an opportunity for a fresh start. Fall marks the beginning of the school year, and I loved seeing our newest Early Childhood students walk through our doors for their first day of school. To me, there’s nothing better than knowing that we get the opportunity to help young minds learn and grow as they begin their educational journey.
I am also extremely proud that we were able to expand our Early Childhood services for children with disabilities by adding two new classrooms to our First Foot Forward program this year. You can read more about the expansion here.
Fall also brings the Jewish New Year, which we are celebrating next week. During the weeks before Rosh Hashanah, we traditionally reflect on the year that has passed and share our hopes for the year that is to come. It gives us an opportunity to review, assess, and renew.
At the JCC, this has meant reflecting on what’s most important to our Board, staff, and members. As we looked through all of our programs and services, as well as the needs of our community, one word continued to jump out to us: family.
In this spirit, we are beginning this year with a focus on bringing families of all shapes and sizes together and providing them with the programming they want and need. Throughout all of our programs, we embrace and demonstrate Jewish values, which are truly universal values. This year, we have decided to pick different values to specifically focus on each season. Fittingly, this season’s Jewish value is reflection, return, and renewal.
As we focus on new beginnings, we will kick off our family programming with our Fall Harvest Festival on Sunday, October 9th. We are offering a festival full of fun that the whole family can enjoy. For those who attended our inaugural festival last year, I promise that this year’s will be even bigger and better! Click here to learn more about the free event.
The family fun doesn’t end there—we also have more activities and programs planned for people of all ages and abilities beginning this month. You can learn about all our fall programs in our Program Guide.
We have plans to add even more family programming as the year progresses. Stay tuned for some exciting new programs and classes!
I hope you all had a great start to the school year, and I want to wish L’Shana Tova U’Metukah to all who celebrate. May you all have a sweet and healthy new year!
-Orit Lender, CEO
We are excited to announce that we will be opening two new preschool classrooms for children with special needs this fall. The agency will now be able to serve 16 additional children at our South Shore/Avis location (1297 Arthur Kill Road).
The classrooms are part of our First Foot Forward Program, which is dedicated to assisting children 2.5 to 5 years old with developmental needs. The individualized curriculum allows children to reach their full potential in a warm, nurturing environment. New York City and State fund First Foot Forward programming.
First Foot Forward specializes in helping children with speech/language delays, socialization concerns, developmental delays, poor motor skills, sensory needs, and Autism Spectrum Disorder. The JCC has been offering these services to Staten Island families for over 30 years.
“We are so proud to be able to open these new classrooms,” noted Orit Lender, JCC CEO. “We saw the need for additional services and expanded to be able to offer First Foot Forward to even more families on the South Shore. I can’t wait to meet all our new students and their families this September!”
To receive services, children need to be evaluated at an approved evaluation site. Program eligibility is recommended by the Department of Education’s Committee on Preschool Special Education and is based upon the individual needs of the child.
Children of all faiths and nationalities are welcome. All services (evaluations, transportation, tuition) are at no direct cost to parents.
In addition to First Foot Forward, the JCC partners with the NYC Department of Education to offer free 3-K and Pre-K For All. 3-K & Pre-K For All are offered at four JCC locations, with flexible scheduling and small class sizes. Extended day options for working families are available 7am-6pm.
To learn more, click here.
February is Jewish Disabilities Awareness, Acceptance, and Inclusion Month. Our JCC welcomes individuals of all abilities, rooted in the shared Jewish values of dignity and justice.
Serving people with disabilities is a core part of our agency’s mission, and we strive to provide inclusive programming that everyone can enjoy. One example of this is our collaborative Girl Scout troop. The troop is unique—the JCC’s Troop 5772 and its sister Troop 5312 are the only troops in New York City that serve girls with disabilities alongside their traditional peers.
Troop 5772 functions like any other troop—the girls work together on projects, participate in fun activities, and even sell cookies! You can purchase cookies here to support the troop.
The girls and their families were so excited to be profiled by PIX11 at their February meeting. You can see the whole story here.
As one of our Girl Scout moms, Kathreen Torres, told reporters, “Having a special needs daughter, it tends to be more difficult for her to make friends, so this is a safe place for her.”
Kathreen is the mother of six, and our Girl Scout troop allows four of her daughters to all be in the same group at once. Within the troop, the girls have made friends and love being together.
Our Girl Scout troop is just one of many programs we run for children with disabilities. During the school year, we offer our First Foot Forward special needs preschool, Dr. and Mrs. Megna Kids Club for Special Kids, Teens After School Program, and an inclusion program in our Explorers After School Program.
In the summertime, Marvin’s Camp for Children with Special Needs provides an educational, creative, social, and safe environment. Marvin’s Camp is a unique recreational summer program customized for children with disabilities. With a wide array of both social and developmental activities, children are engaged by professionally-supported trained staff to create some of the best memories of their summer. This year, we are excited to bring back transportation and trips for our Marvin’s Campers! You can learn more about Marvin’s Camp here.
For young adults, we offer our Day Habilitation Without Walls program. The program, which continues to grow, offers social, recreational, and vocational activities at the JCC as well as in collaboration with our partner organizations. Young adults take part in activities such as delivering meals to the homebound, music and aquatics classes, and working with various departments in the JCC. We engage our participants in opportunities to be healthy, social, and active members of the community with a maximum degree of independence.
In all of our programs, we emphasize the importance of creating a space where everyone feels welcome. The JCC is proud to be a place where people of all abilities can feel at home, make friends, and have fun.
This month, we held drive-by Stepping Up and Graduation celebrations for our ECE students! We are so proud of everything our students, teachers, and ECE families have accomplished together, especially during these challenging times!
Check out some photos from the celebrations below!
The JCC family would like to congratulate Nikeiva “Ms. Nikki” Crawford, our lead daycare teacher at the Berman Early Childhood Education Center, on being named one of the top ten early childhood educators of the year! Nikki was selected for nomination among all of our wonderful ECE teachers—already a steep competition—and went on to receive the third highest number of votes out of all the nominees. We are so proud of her and grateful for the enthusiasm, passion, and care she shows for her students every day!
Fall means one thing—pumpkins! To celebrate the season, our Early Childhood Education students took a trip out to the pumpkin patch! Check out our photo gallery below:
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.
1466 Manor Road
Staten Island, NY 10314
485 Victory Blvd
Staten Island, NY 10301
1297 Arthur Kill Road
Staten Island, NY 10312
BERMAN EARLY CHILDHOOD CENTER
2221 Richmond Ave.
Staten Island, NY 10314