For 15 years, the JCC’s Camp “J” hosted a successful summer inclusion program for children with special needs, which was impetus to the development of the Special Needs Services Department. With support from a University of Arizona graduate student, interested families, and a community advisory panel, the JCC created and opened in 2009 the Taglit Day Program. The Special Needs Services Department was born and became the umbrella for all other programs for individuals with special needs. The department currently offers a year-round day program, after school respite services, a summer inclusion program, a high school summer program, and other year-round support services. The Tucson Jewish Community Center is committed to the development and growth of the Special Needs Services department and will continue to build programs that will service this area of the community.
If you are looking for information about School Days Out (for ages K-22), and inclusion options in the JCC’s Early Childhood Education program, please contact Kristin Taft, Director of Special Needs Services, at 299-3000 x172.
The Tucson JCC is an approved vendor for the Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDD). Many of our programs accept DDD units, such as RSP, DTA, and DTS. For more information about DDD, please call (520) 745-5588.
Inclusion Program - Early Childhood Education
Our Early Childhood Education Camp is an inclusive summer program open to children with special needs ages 1 to 5 years old. For a description of the ECE camp, please visit the ECE website.
Each child with special needs who enters the ECE summer program will be paired with support staff at a 1:1 ratio. Support staff members help their camper to engage appropriately in social activities, help facilitate communication, assist with toileting, and ensure smooth transitions. Staff also make sure that their camper is improving in the areas that are agreed upon prior to entering camp. Staff members are hired by the TJCC. We go to great lengths to ensure that each camper has an experienced, highly qualified, compassionate support staff who will be a good fit for your child.
We accept participants on a case by case basis. It is ECE’s policy that all children with special needs must be paired with an aid during camp. Therefore, all clients who will be using DDD units to pay for camp registered must be able to qualify for a 1:1 support ratio. Once you have been approved, we will secure a staff member for your child. Private pay clients will automatically receive a 1:1 ratio and staff.
Pre and Post care
Pre and post care is offered from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. and from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. This service is offered through private pay only. During pre and post care, your child will be able to engage in recreational activities under the supervision of a qualified support staff. For pre and post care pricing, please contact Kristin Taft, Director of Special Needs Services
Payment and Pricing
There are two methods of payment: you may pay privately or through DDD. To pay through DDD, you must ensure that your child has DTS funding approval for 4 hours per day, and, if you would like your child to spend the entire day in camp, a minimum of 145 respite units that can be authorized to the TJCC for summer camp. Please note that clients using DDD funding must be approved for 1:1 support prior to acceptance in to the program. For private payment pricing, please contact Kristin Taft, Director of Special Needs Services.
How To Register
Returning Participants:Welcome back! To register for the ECE Camp (Inclusion) 2012, please review the registration check list and sample summer goals, and download and fill out the registration form and emergency contact form . Please do not use the registration form located inside of the Camp “J” brochure as it differs from the one for participants with special needs. You can submit your registration materials to Kristin Taft, Director of Special Needs Services.
New Participants:Thank you for your interest! Please note that returning participants will be given priority in joining this program. However, if you would like to be placed on our waiting list, please fill out and return a SNS Waiting List Form. If you would like more information about our program, please contact Kristin Taft, Director of Special Needs Services. We hope to see you soon!
Inclusion Program - Camp "J"
Camp “J” (Inclusion) is an inclusive summer program open to children with special needs ages 6 to 15 years old. For a description of Camp “J,” please visit our website.
We accept participants on a case-by-case basis.
Payment and Pricing
There are two methods of payment: you may pay privately or through DDD. To pay through DDD, you must ensure that your child is approved for 4 hours a day of DTS funding. If you would like to use respite to pay for the remaining 3 hours of camp each day please be sure that your child has a minimum of 160 respite units that can be authorized to the TJCC for summer camp. For private payment pricing, please contact Kristin Taft, Director of Special Needs Services.
Pre and Post care
Pre and post care is offered from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. and from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. We do not accept DDD units; this service is private pay only. During pre and post care, your child will be able to engage in recreational activities under the supervision of a qualified support worker. For pre and post payment pricing, please contact Kristin Taft, Director of Special Needs Services.
National Inclusion Project Let’s ALL Play Partner!
During Camp “J,” campers are paired with support workers in ratios of 1:1, 1:2, or 1:3 (i.e., one staff is paired with one, two, or three campers), depending on their level of need. These ratios allow campers to receive individualized attention from their support worker. Support workers help their camper to engage appropriately in social activities, help facilitate communication, assist with toileting, and ensure smooth transitions. Support workers also make sure that their camper is improving in the areas that are agreed upon prior to entering camp. Support workers are hired by the TJCC. We go to great lengths to ensure that each camper has an experienced, highly qualified, compassionate support worker who will be a good fit for your child.
How To Register
Returning Participants: Welcome back! To register for Camp “J,” please first contact the SNS department for this year’s registration from. Additionally download and fill out the following forms: Emergency Blue Card, General Information and Protocols and a copy of Sample Goals to assist while writing summer goals/objectives. Please do not use the registration form located inside of the Camp “J” brochure as it differs from the one for participants with special needs. Your completed registration paperwork can be submitted to Kristin Taft, Director of Special Needs Services. Please note that we have priority application deadlines each summer for returning campers.
New Participants:Thank you for your interest! Please note that returning participants will be given priority in joining this program. However, if you would like to be placed on our waiting list, please fill out and send in the SNS Waiting List Form. If you would like more information about our program, please contact Kristin Taft, Director of Special Needs Services. We hope to see you soon!
Taglit Day Program
Our mission:The JCC hosts the Taglit Day Program, which provides a small supportive group of young adults, with special needs, a full-day program designed to explore, cultivate, and maximize each individual’s potential. By emphasizing wellness, social action, education, and fun, we work to meet each individual’s unique needs through a program spirited by Jewish values and communal harmony. This day program for young adults, post high school onwards, is comprised of social, leisure, and vocational activities both in the community and at the JCC.
Hours of operation: Our program hours are 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Transitioning and part-time: We offer young adults the opportunity to transition into our program from high school. They may join the program part-time until they have fully transitioned to full-time. Space is limited.
Our day to day: Although SNS “home-base” is located on the second floor at the JCC, our participants venture into the community almost every day. We volunteer with local vendors such as TOPS, First Rate Second Hand Thrift Shop, Zuzi Move It, TRAK, Old Adobe Ranch and other partnering organizations. Participants partake in recreational activities as well, including bowling, hiking, community drumming, karate class, and yoga class. Because we strongly encourage health and wellness, participants engage in daily fitness and participate in yoga and swimming weekly. Throughout the day, our staff helps participants improve their independent living skills, which include using appropriate communication, turn-taking, and following directions.
Cost:The Taglit Day Program is a Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDD) vendor and accepts young adults who are registered with the DDD. Young adults who are not with DDD may pay privately (please contact the SNS department for private pay pricing).
Current Enrollment and Waitlist Information: We now have 23 full-time participants! We currently have a waitlist for all of our programs. Please fill out the “Waitlist Form” below and send it to Kristin Taft, Director of Special Needs Services at email@example.com, or fax to (520) 529-0373. You may also leave the form with the JCC’s Welcome Desk Manager. Please do not hesitate to contact the SNS department with any questions or to learn more about any of our programs!
Social Club is a fun and exciting way for young adults with special needs ages 18 to 39 to get together and have some fun. Our Social Club members attend special events held at the JCC or out in the community, such as trips to local attractions or or the Spring Dance. Events typically occur 4 times per year. Transportation is provided from the JCC to the event.
For more information please contact one of our Special Needs Services Coordinators:
Danie Woodward at x166
Emily Malin at x168
Volunteer time, talents, and enthusiasm are a tremendous asset to the Special Needs Services Department. There are many ways that you can participate: You may wish to work directly with the participants in our day program, or you may want to get involved with other important aspects of our department’s operation such as fundraising, networking, or volunteer recruitment. No matter what you decide to do, it is an enjoyable and extremely rewarding experience to be a Special Needs Services volunteer.
Volunteers are needed in the following areas:
Activities Specialists (Art, Swimming, Languages, etc.)
Direct Service Volunteers
Administrative Assistance (Data entry, etc.)
Hands on support is needed in our day program and respite program. In our day program, participants follow highly individualized schedules that allow them to job shadow at different locations both within the JCC and in the community. Volunteers are paired with each participant to aid and support them during their job shadowing. Volunteers are welcome to stay with the participant for the entire day (8-3) or just for the length of time that the participant is job shadowing. Please see the Sample Schedule to get a better understanding of a typical day and what our volunteers may be doing!
Volunteer support staff are also needed on Fridays, when participants go swimming. Volunteers aid in the supervision of participants and have a blast swimming with the participants in the heated pool. Swimming takes place every Friday from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m., but volunteers are welcome to join our program anytime.
Volunteer support staff develop friendships and mentoring relationships with our participants with special needs. Participants look forward to seeing their volunteers each week.
How Do I Sign Up?
All volunteers need to begin by completing the volunteer application (see below) and email it to Kristin Taft, Director of Special Needs Services, at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will then complete an interview as well as a brief training about the goals of the Special Needs Services Department and the individual department and/or participant needs. We look forward to seeing you!
Taglit Greeting Cards
The Taglit greeting card project was started as a creative activity that every participant in the Taglit Day Program could contribute to regardless of his or her abilities.
Participants tear pieces of wrapping paper, gather and place the papers into a box, sort the papers into colors and themes, and glue the papers onto blank white cards. The participants then count the cards, place them into groups of five, and package them.
The Taglit greeting card project provides a way for participants to practice their fine and gross motor skills, job skills, sorting and counting, and personal creativity. Most importantly, the card project provides our participants with a sense of accomplishment and serves as a means of community involvement.
Cards are available for purchase at the JCC Welcome Desk in packages of five at a cost $5 per package. Cards are also on display and available for purchase at Bookman’s (Grant and Campbell location). Taglit greeting cards are available with holiday themes (Christmas and Hanukkah), designs for special occasions (such as birthdays and Valentine’s Day), and non-specified designs, such as the one shown above.
For bulk orders, please contact Kristin Taft, Director of Special Needs Services, at email@example.com, or (520) 299-3000, ext. 172.
Thank you for your support!
Apple I-Pads – To use as augmentative communication tools for our non-verbal participants. Currently our participants use a DynaVox, which is a wonderful device, but very heavy.
Floor Butcher Roll Rack with Casters- Our participants work on a variety of ongoing crafting projects and butcher paper has many uses. The department would also greatly benefit from any sort of rack to keep the rolls organized.
Paints (most commonly used include tempera paints and acrylic paints) – Our participants work on a variety of ongoing crafting projects and paint is used rapidly.
A6 size white envelopes – These envelopes will be used for our Taglit greeting card project.
Books – The participants in our programs love to read and learn! Any books that can be donated will be accepted. Academic and recreational materials below the college level are preferred. Several of our participants are working to learn Spanish and some children’s books (in Spanish) would be helpful for this learning process.
Maps – Our participants love to learn about geography and topography. Also, the staff is more easily able to design lesson plans about geography if they have easy access to large visual aids such as maps and globes.
Computer software – Our Taglit Day Program participants use typing tutorials, logic games, and other academic software for their daily skills lessons and enrichment activities.
Art Supplies- We are ALWAYS in need of any/all art supplies such as the following:
Glue (Elmer’s), glue sticks, and Mod Podge
Construction paper, lined paper, newspaper, magazines,
Tape of all kinds
Markers, crayons, pencils, and pens
Crafting glitter, beads, Popsicle sticks, jewels, scrap-booking supplies, etc.
Scissors (adapted, child safe, etc.)
Slate Boards and/or White Erase Boards- Our staff work to create a variety of lessons for all groups of participants and many lessons involve writing and working on writing skills. Erase boards and slate boards reduce the amount of paper waste.
3 Ring Binders- used by staff, participants, and administration.
Sensory integration toys and “fidgets”- We have participants of all ages with a variety of sensory input challenges. Many benefit from stimulation provided by specific sensory tools and toys.
To contribute items to the Special Needs Services Department please contact Kristin Taft, Director of Special Needs Services at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for your support!