BENEFITING: JEWISH COMMUNITY CENTER OF GREATER ROCHESTER INC
Team JCC is raising funds for the Kesher at Gesher Program for children with special needs. A donor has offered to match gifts up to $5,000 to support this new program.
The Gesher program is a truly unusual after school care program in that everything is based on child choice rather than homeroom or age. This means a constantly-changing array of activities. Some “choices” are daily while others are recurring classes, offering children the opportunity to “dig in” to an area of interest. Interest areas include ceramics, lego robotics, healthy cooking, philosophy club, photography, fitness games, dance, drama, swim lesson, and art.
Children with special needs have always been part of Gesher. However, the JCC wants to be able to more adequately meet their needs, while at the same time providing guidance to other students on how to work with their peers in an inclusive environment. The JCC is working with Dr. Miri Arie, a clinical childhood psychologist and Dr. Rob Rice, a Professor in St. John Fisher College’s Mental Health Counselor Program, to ensure an ideal experience for all program participants. Dr. Arie is a clinical child psychologist who specializes in helping children to develop effective communication skills, social skills, and problem-solving skills. Her experience includes working with children on the Autism spectrum, children with Anxiety, ADHD, and other emotional-behavioral challenges. Dr. Arie will facilitate a weekly social skills group throughout the year. In addition she will provide ongoing training to staff and serve as a consultant as needed.
Dr. Rob Rice is the Director of Clinical Internships for the Mental Health Counseling Program at St. John Fisher. Dr. Rice also specializes in working with young people with an Autism Spectrum Disorder, Anxiety, and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. Through St. John Fisher, he trains graduate students on the use of empirically supported (strengths-based) approaches for helping young people with repetitive behaviors and other issues that impact development and healthy functioning. The partnership with St. John Fisher College and Dr. Rice will launch an ongoing collaboration between Gesher and The Mental Health Counseling Program, allowing students to complete their fieldwork experience under the supervision of Dr. Arie. While Gesher students will benefit from counselors who have the knowledge and skills to support them best, the St. John Fisher students will acquire the experience of applying their knowledge to real life situations. 4 interns per semester from St. John Fisher College will be available to support the Gesher Program for approximately 20 hours per week each, providing a total of 80 additional hours of trained clinical support.