PRIDE Program for Adults with Special Needs Reopens!

Ellen Rubino-Young of Morris Plains is breathing easier this week now that her son, Daniel, 28, is back at ECLC of New Jersey’s PRIDE Program for adults with special needs.

“He is thrilled to be back, and I am feeling so blessed,” she said. “You work their whole lives to get your child therapies and support, so they can become as independent as possible, and then to see him at home wasn’t good. It’s been so difficult.”

The PRIDE Program for adults with special needs reopens.

After being mostly closed since March 2020 due to the pandemic, on Monday, clients returned to the PRIDE Centers in Florham Park and Paramus. Everyone is masked up, but you cannot cover up their excitement to be back in person!

“Now, he’s back on track,” said Rubino-Young. “It’s so important for our kids to get back into their routine and to be with others.”

Prior to reopening, the centers were significantly remodeled and other changes made to ensure the safety of clients and staff members.

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ECLC of New Jersey Grateful for Gift from Investors Bank Foundation

When ECLC of New Jersey reopens its PRIDE Center for adults with special needs, the staff will have new computers to help get them up and running again.

donation from Chatham Investors Bank
ECLC Development Director Heather Alonge (far left) and PRIDE Co-Director of Programming Christina Klimkowski accept a generous donation from Chatham Investors Bank Branch Manager and Assistant Vice President, Mark Cody, with his coworkers.

The nonprofit has purchased laptops with a generous donation from the Investors Foundation. The laptops are needed for staff to complete online forms at the end of each day, as required by state regulations.

This recent donation follows gifts in 2018 to ECLC’s Chatham school for students with special needs for creation of a Sensory Room and a previous grant to the PRIDE Center for new technology in 2106.

“We are so thankful to Investors for the ongoing support of our programs and this latest gift,” said ECLC Development Director Heather Alonge. “Through their generosity, our PRIDE staff can get this daily task finished more easily and quickly.”

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ECLC Successfully Offers In-Person Education for Students with Special Needs

ECLC Successfully Offers In-Person Education for Students with Special Needs

Children with disabilities, such as Down syndrome, are among those most vulnerable to COVID-19, yet since September classrooms have been open at ECLC of New Jersey’s schools for students with special needs.

The schools located in Chatham and Ho-Ho-Kus reopened in the Fall and have remained open nearly every day for in-person education.

Of course, it wasn’t easy returning 250 students, who live in towns all across New Jersey, to the classroom. Strict protocols had to be established, and the administration had to reconfigure classrooms to reduce risks.

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Students Seek In-School Jobs

ECLC of New Jersey’s students with special needs are asking for the public’s help to sharpen their work skills! They are looking for small jobs to complete in the classroom, while taking precautions to stay healthy and safe during the pandemic.

Nick Sordillo
Nick Sordillo and his classmates stuffed the Chatham Borough calendar into plastic bags for delivery to residents’ homes.

Usually Upper School students, ages 18–21, ventured out into the nearby community for “job sampling,” at area businesses and other organizations. The school is located behind the municipal building and in pre-COVID days, would take walking trips into downtown and ride the bus for field trips and work opportunities. Today, everything is on hold.

However, this school year, they cannot go on any community outings because of the risk of COVID-19. Many of these students are especially vulnerable, during this time.

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