One big circle, everybody in it
As an inclusive community center offering programs and services for all regardless of age, religious observance, income, or ability, we make our community stronger and offer opportunities for all of us to learn and grow together.
The JCC”s Center for Inclusion and Special Needs provides important resources for individuals with special needs and their families by offering programs that are open to the whole community.
Look for upcoming events below program descriptions.
Students That Are Really Special (STARS)
STARS is an important support system for families of students with special needs. Navigate your child’s academic, behavioral, and social experiences through the STARS Family Resource Center. After school, the STARS Tutoring Center offers elementary and middle school age students homework support from our Special Education staff. Many classes at the JCC for children under 5 are labeled as STARS-friendly giving little ones and their parents opportunities to connect with the whole community.
Sunday STARS is a fun, monthly program where students with special needs are individually matched with teenage community volunteers committed to bonding with them and forming a friendship. Supervised by the JCC’s professional, highly trained and experienced staff, the STARS and their teen friends socialize and interact while participating in active and engaging programming.
K5 – young adulthood
Albert & Ann Deshur JCC Rainbow Day Camp offers inclusive day camp experiences for campers of all abilities. In partnership with parents, a tailor-made program is developed for each child with the goal of creating a positive summer experience. The integrated Shiluv and Sababa programs allow campers with special needs to be mainstreamed with their peers while receiving individualized support from professionally trained staff. Extra support is available for a wide range of reasons including physical, developmental, behavioral, and language needs. In addition to the mainstreaming program, camp offers specialized groups that offer an additional level of support.
Looking for a sense of community, belonging, satisfaction and an active social life? Join Chaverim, a social, recreational, educational and Judaic program for adults with developmental disabilities designed to increase social skills, create peer relationships, and welcome participants as active members of the community. The group meets 6 – 8 times a month and offers a variety of activities that focus on fostering ongoing learning and personal growth. To make programs accessible to individuals regardless of living situation and income, we provide transportation to each event whether it is at our Jewish Community Center or out in the city of Milwaukee, and pricing is structured to encourage attendance. Pick and choose which activities you wish to attend.
Partnership program for youth & adults
Through a partnership with Upstream Arts, a non-profit based out of Minneapolis, adults and youth with disabilities are invited to foster creative communication and social independence through the power of arts education. The arts are uniquely suited to act as a tool to teach and learn the complicated nuances of social interaction and communication. Workshops are held 2-3 times yearly.
JCC Special Needs Membership
Fitness membership is open to all regardless of ability. Adults with special needs requiring the help of a caregiver are able to participate in fitness programs with admission for their caregiver included at no extra charge. Contact Jamie Seitz, Membership Director, to learn more.
News & events
A supportive community
Through every age and stage, the JCC supports families and individuals throughout our community.
Classes for Little Ones
All parent-child classes and many of our kids-only classes are STARS friendly.Learn More »