JCC Receives 'Doors to the Future' Grant from Jewish Women's Foundation

Posted by: By Justin Wedes on Tuesday, September 3, 2019

The JCC is excited to announce it has received a $15,000 grant for the third year to support our Opening the Doors’ (OTD) Doors to the Future (DTF) project. The grant, from the Jewish Women's Foundation (JWF), will support OTD's work providing early intervention for at-risk preschool children – both girls and boys ages 2.5 to 6 years – through temporary 1-to-1 assistance by trained para educators at no additional cost to families. Para educators help strengthen children’s learning, communication and social skills, foster growth and change in behavior, increase independence, build self-confidence, and enable children to be included and interact successfully with their peers. DTF service also provides a gateway for families to become more involved with Jewish schools, community resources and other families.

JCC’s OTD program, nationally recognized for its innovation by Slingshot Foundation as "a one-of-a-kind" program, has grown 400% in providing service since 1995. OTD annually enables 1,200 children and adolescents with a wide range of learning, social and behavioral differences and abilities to be included and engaged with their peers in meaningful Jewish education classrooms. OTD works in partnership with twenty-four Jewish early childhood, day school and congregational religious schools, as well as mental health organizations to provide conferences and movie events.

Ellen Maiseloff, Senior Director, Center for Special Education, which operates the Opening the Doors program at JCC, said: "We are extremely honored that through the generous support of the Jewish Women’s Foundation, The Doors to the Future program will provide the gift of early intervention to 50% more early-childhood children, so they may be included in a Jewish early childhood program with their peers. The para educators have a tremendous impact on each child, their families, classmates and the community. Even at a young age, these children inspire us to embrace their challenges, promote their talents, celebrate their achievements and take pride in their engagement with their peers, as one of our community’s priorities.”

“This program was such a privilege given to my child.  My child blossomed and gained so much from the academic and social surroundings,” said a parent of a child receiving para educator support, who requested to remain anonymous. 

"The Jewish Women’s Foundation is proud to partner with the JCC’s Opening the Doors, Door to the Future program.  By helping to give young children the tools that they’ll need for their futures, the JWF empowers the children and their families," said Susan Cassels Kamin, Director of the Jewish Women's Foundation of Metropolitan Detroit.

About the JCC's Center for Special Needs
The JCC’s Center for Special Education is an umbrella of special needs services engaging 1,200 children, teens and adults of all abilities through: inclusive Jewish classroom experiences, professional development, teen leadership, disability awareness conferences, movie, book and family social events, inclusive camp experiences, vocational training and adult social groups.

To learn more, visit jccdet.org/specialneeds

About The Jewish Women's Foundation
In every day and age, the voices of Jewish women have shaped Jewish history. The Jewish Women’s Foundation of Metropolitan Detroit is a vehicle for maintaining this legacy. It provides a way for Jewish women to support the causes in which we most passionately believe, and to have a lasting impact on the lives of women and girls.

The Jewish Women’s Foundation (JWF) was established in August 1999 by the Jewish Federation and United Jewish Foundation of Metropolitan Detroit. Studies show that women often turn first to institutions affiliated with their religious backgrounds for help and support.

To learn more, visit jwfdetroit.org

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