ECLC Executive Director Bruce Litinger (with his wife, Renee) recognized the P.A.I.R.S. Program’s original parent advisor, Judy Greenblatt, and Monica Kanter (far right), who also volunteered as a parent advisor for the popular club.

For nearly 15 years, students from Millburn High School have been coming once a week, in the evening, to ECLC of New Jersey’s school in Chatham for students with special needs.

The students all shoot hoops in the gym, create arts and crafts projects, play board games and bingo and socialize through the P.A.I.R.S. program.

P.A.I.R.S. stands for “Partners in Afterschool Inclusive Recreation for Special Needs” and it has become among the most popular clubs at Millburn High.

The P.A.I.R.S. initiative won a state Innovations Award in 2008 from ASAH and the New Jersey School Boards Association.

Chatham Principal Diane Gagliardi recognized Play Unified Co-Advisors, ECLC Teacher Russell Fay and Chatham High School Teacher Christine Cavallo, Chatham High School student leader Olivia LeRoy and Chatham High School student Olivia Perlmutter, a founder of Teens Connecting program.

Over at Chatham High School in 2012, students launched the “Teens Connecting with Teens” club to forge new friendships with ECLC students. This club organized activity nights and special events throughout the year. Gradually, this program evolved into a new effort: Play Unified, which is part of Special Olympics. The students play on sports teams together in tournaments and participate in other joint activities.

Both programs are notable in offering ECLC students a chance for recreation, learning and fun with their “typical” peers. Learn more about connections between ECLC and area schools. It is one of the hallmarks that makes an ECLC education so special.