support for special needs

The Jack and Shirley Silver Center for Special Needs builds and nurtures an inclusive and accepting community where individuals with varying special needs and their families can participate and succeed in innovative social, recreational, and educational activities. We are proud to offer several opportunities for typical teens to serve as buddies in our afterschool, cooking, or prevocational programs and for adults to volunteer in our social or vocational programs. For more information, please email


Click here for teen volunteer opportunities with the Center for Special Needs.

20s + 30s Repair the World Service Corps Volunteer Opportunities:


Connections is a social and recreational community of individuals in their 20s with intellectual, developmental, and/or physical disabilities. Through social, cultural, and educational opportunities at the Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan and offsite, Connections fosters independence while encouraging participants to make and deepen friendships with one another. Individuals in Connections have the ability to be travel trained between the JCC and home and utilize the program as a complement to their vocational and volunteer experiences.

Volunteers assist with our Saturday evening programs. Each month we have one event at the Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan and one event in the community. It will be a chance to help Connections members bond with friends, deepen their communication skills, learn to be more independent, and enjoy a Saturday night out! Some highlights include the theatre, casino parties at the JCC, dinner and a movie, a 50s style sock hop, and karaoke!


Adaptations is a community of adults in their 20s and 30s with developmental and/or learning disabilities and a high level of independence. We are a place for individuals of all backgrounds to socialize, learn, grow, and deepen their connections to one another and the community. Through our programs and partnerships, Adaptations provides multiple pathways to fostering independence, expressing creativity, and experiencing the richness of community. Adaptations is looking for volunteers to assist with our social activities planned outside of the JCC. These events encourage socialization and communication skill development through adventure and conversation. Volunteers model appropriate social behaviors and encourage connections while exploring the city alongside Adaptations members.

If you are interested in volunteering with the Center for Special Needs, please click here to fill out your information so we can be in touch about future opportunities.


Engage Jewish Service Corps: 50s, 60s + Beyond Volunteer Opportunities:


The Shabbat Shop is a social enterprise that sells seasonal holiday items and Judaica gifts for people of all ages in the JCC lobby. It is staffed by Adaptations participants and all proceeds support the Jack and Shirley Silver Center for Special Needs at the Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan. Engage volunteers are needed on an ongoing basis. Some of the tasks include helping with the set-up of the shop, being a job mentor and assisting with sales, and helping break down the shop at closing time. Please contact if you are interested in volunteering.

If you are interested in volunteering with the Center for Special Needs, please click here to fill out your information so we can be in touch about future opportunities.


Teen Volunteer Opportunities:


Typical teens serve as social buddies at Boost!, a small, activity-based afterschool group for individuals on the autism spectrum or with other social, learning, and communication differences. Boost! provides a positive and fun environment for children to interact with peers and work on developing friendship skills. The program empowers participants to feel confident about their strengths and abilities and see themselves as belonging to a social group. Boost! runs on Mondays and Wednesdays after school.


Share an inclusive social justice experience with teens of all abilities. Prepare a delicious home-cooked meal for the B'nai Jeshurun/SPSA Shelter, while exploring Jewish values connected to hunger and homelessness. These sessions are monthly on Mondays. For more information, please contact Alex LoPinto at or 646.505.4375.


Ha Dereckh is an opportunity for teens interested in being a job mentor/coach to a peer with autism or with a developmental disability. Work one-on-one with a teen to help him or her build social and vocational skills. The sessions are three hours per week on Tuesdays throughout the school year. Volunteers receive either community service credits or a stipend for the year. Registration takes place in August and September for both interns and their typical peers, who serve as mentors. If you may be interested in a spot for Fall 2017, or for more information about this terrific teen internship experience, please contact Alex LoPinto at or 646.505.4375.


Girls' Night Out allows teens of all abilities to enjoy a relaxed, fun social group and foster close friendships with other young women. The group is peer-developed and -facilitated to create a truly natural social setting. The flexible structure of the group empowers the participants to make choices about the activities—from going out for ice cream to having a picnic in the park to just hanging out and listening to music—while engaging in their interests with peers. If you're interested in volunteering or learning more please email Kelley Bligh at

If you are interested in teen volunteering with the Center for Special Needs, please click here to fill out your information so we can be in touch about future opportunities.

334 amsterdam ave at 76th st
new york, ny 10023 | 646.505.4444 []