The Guttenberg Center for Special Services is committed to the belief that all individuals have access to appropriate social, recreational, cultural and educational experiences in natural community settings with appropriate supports. Our programs are designed to meet the specific needs of our participants. Our goal is to support an inclusive, nurturing environment and community, allowing each individual the opportunity to reach his or her own potential.
Programs at the Guttenberg Center for Special Services are open to both JCC members and the public. A minimum of 4 participants is required to run any program or class. Individuals with special needs are encouraged to participate in all JCC programming and classes.
The Guttenberg Center was established by Adele and Bill Guttenberg (of blessed memory). This endowment enables the JCC to provide vital programs and services for individuals with special needs. It has also helped the JCC become a “barrier free” accessible agency.
Scholarship, Tuition and Financial Aid Information
The Kaplen JCC is a qualified provider of the State of NJ Department of Human Services, Division of Children & Families(DCF)/PerformCare, the Division of Developmental Disabilities(DDD), and Medicaid. We accept payments from other Service Agency Providers as well as sending school districts. Limited financial aid and scholarship assistance is available for families with documented financial need.
In order to receive services through the state, children must be registered with New Jersey DCF/PerformCare. For more information, go to www.performcarenj.org.
Adults (21+) must be registered with New Jersey DDD and be Medicaid approved. For more information, go to www.state.nj.us/humanservices/ddd.
New participants are required to have an intake interview. JCC membership is not required for these programs and camp. Final program placement must be approved by the director and camp coordinator. All official documentation provided to the JCC is kept in the strictest confidence and only used to meet each participant's individual needs.
The classes are staffed by professionals in the area of special education (most instructors have advanced degrees in special education, physical therapy, occupational therapy, music therapy, psychology, social work or speech therapy). Assistants are hired high school seniors and college students, and volunteers range from junior high students to mature adults.
Shelley Levy, Director of the Guttenberg Center for Special Services
Shelley has over thirty years of professional experience working with children, teens and adults with special needs as well as curriculum design and program development. Bringing her a wealth of innovation and expertise to the JCC, Shelley has grown programming for people in our community with “special abilities” in all aspects of programming. She is also an adjunct instructor at several colleges and universities in the New York/Northern New Jersey area. Shelley is a graduate of Hunter College of the City University of New York with both a Bachelor of Arts Degree and a Master of Science in Education of the Deaf, Hard of Hearing and Communication Disorders.
Dania Lauer, Life Skills Development Center Coordinator and Inclusion Coordinator
Dania comes to the JCC as our Life Skills Development Center Coordinator where she oversees our Circle of Friends Social Group Program and our JCC Inclusion Facilitator working across all departments to provide appropriate supports for program participants, most specifically at camp. Dania has a graduate degree in Social Work from Fordham University and has worked as a Job and Life Skills Coach, Facilitator of Inclusive Social Groups for children and teens and a Clinical Research Coordinator at Columbia University Medical Center.
Mindy Liebowitz, Coordinator
Mindy joined the Guttenberg Center in 2013 and is responsible for the administration and implementation of our Adult Habilitation Programs for individuals ages 21+. Mindy also coordinates the Guttenberg Center’s special events, including the annual Art for All Art Exhibition and Special Games field day. Mindy brings a unique perspective to the position, allowing her to relate to our families on a personal level. Mindy comes to us from TV Guide, where she worked for 18 years in advertising/marketing as VP/Associate Publisher, Marketing.
Colleen Lofaro, Camp Haverim Coordinator and Program Supervisor
For over 20 years, Colleen has been the Camp Haverim Coordinator as well as a head teacher and Program Coordinator for Sunday Programs for children and teens at the JCC. Colleen is a certified teacher’s assistant for the Ridgefield Board of Education.
Maria Engel, Head Program Manager
Maria Engel is the Head Program Manager for the JCC Adult Day Habilitation Program, and supervises the department’s monthly dances. She is an experienced EMT, spent 10 years in the Ridgefield school system and was a program manager at the Broadway Medical Center in Fair Lawn.
Esther Woletz, Administrative Assistant
Esther has worked for the Guttenberg Center for over 15 years. She manages all aspects of registration and billing for children and teen programming, and oversees the day-to-day operations of Camp Haverim and oversees the LIFE Group. She has a Bachelor of Science and a Master’s of Science. Prior to joining the JCC, Esther worked in the banking profession as an IT manager for over 15 years
Jackie Varona, Administrative Assistant
Jackie joined the Guttenberg Center in January 2017 and assists with all administrative aspects of the department including children, teen, and adult programming as well as Camp Haverim. She has a Bachelor’s in Economics, and prior to joining the JCC, Jackie had worked in the financial industry for over 20 years.
For more information contact:
Shelley Levy, Special Services Director x1489 | firstname.lastname@example.org