STAMFORD, CT - The National Inclusion Project has partnered with the Jewish Community Center of Stamford (JCC) to create an inclusive environment where children with and without disabilities can play, learn and laugh TOGETHER. As part of the partnership, the National Inclusion Project provides the Let’s ALL Play program model, training, expertise, annual Power of Play Conference and a wide network of inclusion experts ready to problem solve and share best practices on ensuring that no child sits on the sidelines.
The JCC is one of the few organizations that the National Inclusion Project has chosen to partner with for a second year. “We are excited to continue our partnership with the JCC in order to make sure that no child has to sit on the sidelines,” says Nick Leisey, National Inclusion Project Executive Director.
Hand in Hand, a division of the JCC’s summer program called O-la-mi, offers a unique inclusive summer experience for rising 3rd-8th graders with a variety of needs including, but not limited to, communication and learning differences, ADD/ADHD, social anxiety, sensory motor integration challenges, and those on the spectrum. The mission of the program is to improve each child’s ability to develop positive relationships and make social connections in their community and with peers, as well as to create an enjoyable inclusionary summer experience.
Research shows overwhelming evidence that the Let’s ALL Play model helps children with disabilities improve self-esteem, social skills and confidence, while those without disabilities improved their leadership, problem solving and empathy skills. The model makes it possible for all children to come together, and participate in recreational activities such as swimming, arts and crafts, community service, physical fitness and more. More importantly, it allows children with and without disabilities to create friendships that may have not been possible in other parts of their lives.
“The JCC of Stamford believes in welcoming all, regardless of age, faith, ethnicity, need or ability. This belief helps make us a strong and supportive community and upholds the Jewish values of welcoming guests, kindness, respect, and communal responsibility,” said JCC CEO Eric H. Koehler. “We are excited and honored to work with the National Inclusion Project in supporting and growing our Hand in Hand program, where all children of diverse needs and abilities can build positive relationships and see the value in each other and in our community as a whole.”