Each week we introduce you to one of the ten recipients of the 2012 Ruderman Prize in Disability. Today I want to tell you about the Lawrence Family Jewish Community Center (LFJCC) of San Diego and its innovative Inclusion Program.
From its beginning in 1995, this JCC has made a point of inviting children with disabilities to participate in all activities alongside their typically developing peers, rather than relegating them to separate programs. Since children with disabilities often require additional support in order to fully participate, the LFJCC typically provides an aide for every one or two children with disabilities in their programs. These programs include preschool, after-school care, and Summer Camp Jaycee—which 61 children with disabilities attended this year while three young adults with developmental disabilities served as Counselors in Training. The LFJCC also offers a fully inclusive winter break camp and teen theater classes.
No wonder our judges called the Lawrence Family Jewish Community Center of San Diego “a shining example of the kind of inclusion that the Ruderman Family Foundation foresees for the entire Jewish community,” adding, “from their example, we hope other organizations will soon recognize that separate programs are not equal.”
From all of us here at the Ruderman Family Foundation, congratulations to the Lawrence Family JCC for your pioneering programs. For seventeen years you have been a model for JCCs around the country and around the world.
— Jay Ruderman
NOTE: We will not publish a blog post on Monday due to Rosh Hashanah and will resume on Thursday with a very special Ruderman Family Foundation announcement.