J-Embrace - Strengthening Community Together
The JCC of Central New Jersey, a not-for-profit social service agency, is committed to ensuring our Wilf Jewish Community Campus is an inclusive home away from home for all. Inclusion is an attitude. Inclusion is belonging. J-Embrace demonstrates these values.
What is J-Embrace?
J-Embrace is our effort to expand and enhance our capacity to serve more vulnerable populations in our community – individuals with special needs and senior adults, in response to a growing demand for programs and services for these individuals. J-Embrace will be supported by a matching challenge grant through the PRESIDE program.
What is PRESIDE?
The PRESIDE program is designed to help Jewish non-profit organizations strengthen governance, leadership and philanthropic culture-building through the lens of Jewish values and practice. Our JCC was one of 15 organizations selected for this prestigious program, which took place between March 2018 and May 2019. The anonymous Jewish philanthropic foundation behind the program is providing a large matching challenge grant as a component of the program. The purpose of the challenge grant is to help organizations build (non-capital) capacity to meet mission. The JCC will use the PRESIDE matching challenge grant to maximize support of J-Embrace.
How does the PRESIDE challenge grant work?
Our J-Embrace fundraising goal of $750,000 is supported by a generous $1:2 matching grant from an anonymous Funder through the PRESIDE program. All eligible donations will automatically be increased by 50% through this challenge grant. The matching deadline is December 2020.
What will the JCC do with J-Embrace funds?
J-Embrace will enable the JCC to expand mission-driven programs and services for individuals with special needs and senior adults. Based on our experience and community research, we have identified needs that are not currently being met. Initially, the funds raised will be utilized to support two new professional positions at the JCC – a social worker who will work primarily with our senior adult population and a special needs coordinator. These professionals will provide the knowledge and expertise to guide the enhancement of programs and services such as:
- Day/vocational training program at the JCC for young adults with special needs
- Expanded social/recreational programs for youth with special needs
- Inclusion training programs for all JCC staff and volunteers
- Caregiver support and education
- Social isolation prevention/outreach for home-bound senior adults
- Single seniors group
What does the JCC currently do for the special needs and senior adult communities?
The JCC has several programs specifically for children with special needs and disabilities. We offer adaptive swim classes, teen social nights out, and we have a robust and sought-after shadow program at Camp Yachad, our summer camp. Camp Yachad also has a job skills training program (entering its third year) for teens who have aged out of camp but still want to participate in the traditional camper-to-counselor trajectory. These teens work in camp specialty areas and also work with a job coach. The specialists with whom they work receive special “mentor” training. We are also proud to say that our philosophy of inclusion and accommodation is found in all of our classrooms – both in preschool/kindergarten and in our after school program. Our Senior Adult program provides both vulnerable and active adults social interaction, educational programming, entertainment, exercise and a healthy Kosher lunch every Monday – Thursday. For seniors who cannot get to the JCC on their own, we have regular bus transportation.
When will J-Embrace be rolled out?
So far we have hired a Director of Inclusion and Diversity whose role is to enhance and expand JCC programs and services for individuals with disabilities. Collaborating with JCC staff and the JCC special needs committee, the director will oversee existing programs and services and will drive efforts to develop new ones – all ensuring that our JCC is a truly inclusive center of community. When the time is right, we will look to hire a community social worker.
We would love the opportunity to tell you more about our mission, J-Embrace, the PRESIDE matching grant and the JCC. If you would like to learn more, please contact Caren Goldberg, Director of Member Engagement and Development, at 908-889-8800 x236 or [email protected].