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 disability inclusion, from our programming to our facilities.

Youth and teens with disabilities 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 disabilities.

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

Inclusion – Subscribe to Newsletter

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.

Lessans Camp JCC

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

Lessans 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 Club J (formerly Kids After School), enrichment classes and KidKoverage days. In order to accommodate your child’s needs please let us know 72 hours in advance.

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 Emily Wolinksy at

In addition to the programs above, the Center provides everyday accommodations to ensure those with disabilities 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 disabilities throughout Bender JCC programming. Opportunities abound for those who would like to volunteer with those with disabilities. For more information, contact

After School Programs

Real World Ready

Wednesdays | February 7 – March 27, 2024 | 4:30 – 6:00 PM

$200 / members | $215 / non-members

Real World Ready is a program designed for high school students with disabilities. The program will provide life skills, vocational skills, leisure skills, and social skills instruction to teenagers and young adults with disabilities, aged 15-21. These lessons will be delivered in a small group setting with a 2:8 teacher to student classroom ratio.

Registration opens January 15, 2024.

If you require any specific accommodations to participate in this program, or have any other questions, please email Kate Falls at

Learn More

Register Now


Empowering Friendship

Tuesdays | November 21, 2023 – January 30, 2024 | 4:30 – 6:30 PM

$160 / members | $175 / non-members

Join the Bender JCC Inclusion Program for an afternoon group dedicated to teenagers with disabilities.

Empowering Friendship is a neurodivergent affirming social skills group for teenagers, aged 13-17. Each week group members will practice a critical skill related to self-esteem and independence.

If you require any specific accommodations to participate in this program, or have any other questions, please email Kate Falls at

Learn More

Register Now


Hapoel Tel Aviv Shavim Team

Hapoel Tel Aviv, a professional soccer team in Israel, is bringing its programming to the Bender JCC! Take advantage of this opportunity to join a Hapoel Tel Aviv Shavim Team, a fully inclusive team where players of all abilities are united on one field. “Shavim” means “equals” in Hebrew. Team members do not have to be experienced soccer players to join! The goal of the program is to offer an opportunity to exercise, socialize, and feel the camaraderie of a true team experience.

For more information, including dates and times, please reach out to Maytal Regev at Players are welcome to drop in and may register at any time! There is no cost to join the league.

Please note that players will not have a designated 1:1 during this program, meaning that the support and coaching will be group rather than individually-based. If you would like to discuss how to make this program successful for your child or have other questions, please contact Kate Falls at

Learn More

Register Now


Brain Builders

Tuesdays | February 6, 2024 – April 2, 2024 | 3:30 – 4:15 PM

$200 / members | $215 / non-members

Brain Builders is a class for pre-school aged students, which focuses on developing executive functioning skills, which is the foundation for self-regulation and social-emotional awareness.

Registration opens January 15, 2024.

If your child requires any supports or accommodations to participate in this program, or if you have any other questions or concerns, please email Kate Falls at

Learn More

Register Now