Special Needs

Keeping Inclusion at the Center

The Bender JCC was founded on the belief that communities benefit when all people of all ability levels learn, grow, and celebrate together. Inclusion of those with disabilities has always been at the forefront of our mission, and has made us an area leader in comprehensive special needs inclusion, from our programming to our facilities.

Youth and teens with special needs are embraced in a warm, caring, and supportive environment at the Bender JCC through inclusive, innovative programming that enlightens, educates, and boosts self-esteem.

Explore the many ways we Keep Inclusion at the Center for youth and teens with special needs.

Questions about youth and teen inclusion at the Bender JCC? Contact us!

All Are Welcome

The Bender JCC embraces and welcomes the diversity of our community and encourages everyone to seek meaning and fulfillment by participating in our rich programming inspired by our Jewish heritage.

We open our doors to everyone, including people of all backgrounds, religions, abilities and sexual orientations, and interfaith couples and families.

Inclusion permeates our Center. Inclusion is belonging.

Camp JCC

As part of the Bender JCC’s wide-ranging efforts to include those with special needs, Camp JCC’s award-winning inclusion program incorporates children and teens with disabilities alongside their siblings and friends. Learn more about inclusion at Camp JCC.

Camp JCC also offers Kochavim, an award-winning summer transitional program for teens and young adults with disabilities that promotes socialization, recreation, and independent living in a welcoming, fun environment. Learn more about Kochavim.

Youth – The Bender JCC offers inclusive programs for all youth activities including Kids After School, enrichment classes and KidKoverage days.  In order to accommodate your child’s needs please let us know 72 hours in advance.

Programs & Classes

Teens and young adults with a range of special needs have fun, learn, and make new friends with a variety of classes at the Bender JCC that enlighten, educate, and boost self-esteem. Offerings include swimming, cooking, and summer camp programs.

For more information on any of these programs please contact us at: inclusion@benderjccgw.org

Join us for informative workshops designed for individuals, families, caretakers and community members. These topics include housing, residential options and resources, employment opportunities, government benefits, sibling workshops, relationships and life skills development.

For more information, contact inclusion@benderjccgw.org.

In this adapted physical education class, participants with special needs learn the basic skills of a variety of sports such as baseball, basketball, soccer, floor hockey, tennis and bowling. The instructor will make any necessary adjustments so that all participants can be involved in each activity.


This class is designed for teens ages 13-16 and ages 17-21 with disabilities. Acting and improve tools can help a person open up their creative side and become more confident and more engaged. Artistic role-playing games can quickly improve social skills such as eye contact, clear vocal projection, and conversation skills. Interactive exercises will engage participants in a fun way making it easier and more enjoyable for them to express themselves authentically.


Isadore & Bertha Gudelsky Exceptional Swim Program

For over 20 years, the Gudelsky Exceptional Swim Program has been helping children, teens, and adults with orthopedic-related disabilities enjoy aquatics. The program partners professional staff members (a coordinator, physical therapist, and adaptive water instructors) and volunteers with participants to teach swimming basics and help students feel comfortable in the water. This program is offered during the school year only, not in the summer. For questions and more information, contact Elon Walter at situbuw@aol.com.

In addition to the programs above, the Center provides everyday accommodations to ensure those with special needs feel comfortable, included, happy, involved—and remain safe—at all times. These daily accommodations include:

  • Sign language and oral interpreters
  • Infrared listening system in the Kreeger Auditorium
  • Wheelchair accessibility throughout Center facilities
  • Temporary wheelchairs for ease of movement throughout Center facilities
  • Flashing light alarm system


Volunteers are an essential part of our continuing efforts to integrate children, youth, teens, and adults with special needs throughout Bender JCC programming. Opportunities abound for those who would like to volunteer with those with special needs. For more information, contact   inclusion@benderjccgw.org.