“My Favorite Things” and “Getting to Know You” might be big hits, but for a group of children at the Rosenthal JCC on Wednesday, Apr. 17, singing these songs on stage was the biggest hit of all. The Rise Above theater group, a new program this year for children with special needs, performed these and other songs in front of an emotional audience. “It was the culmination of an amazing effort by these very special children,” said Jennifer Ruoff, Director of Programs for Enhancing Potential at the Rosenthal JCC.
This theater group is the brainchild of two local 7th graders–Michelle Morgenthal and Noah Silverman–who love theater and have themselves been in many local and NYC performances. “We wanted to help these children sing, dance and perform, but also work together and gain self-confidence,” said Michelle and Noah. “This has been such a rewarding experience.”
The Rise Above program is part of an expanded roster for children with special needs at the Rosenthal JCC, enabled by a grant from the J.E. and Z.B. Butler Foundation through UJA-Federation of New York. Other new programs this year have included Trailblazers at the JCC (a one-of-a-kind after-school social skills/childcare program with the option for mainstreaming), social skills classes for K-2nd and 3rd-5th grades, Saturday Night Chillin’ for tweens and teens, and daytime and evening parent support groups. The RJCC has been running Trailblazers at Camp Discovery for dozens of years for high-functioning children who can be mainstreamed, along with many other programs.
Anyone interested in these or other programs should call (914) 741-0333, x29 or email JRuoff@rosenthaljcc.org.