Social & Recreational Opportunities

It’s about having fun, building friendships…just living your life.

Opportunities for meeting new people, participating in community and cultural events, including religious activities and celebrations, can be challenging when these are not inclusive or welcoming to persons with intellectual/developmental disabilities. JCFS Chicago is committed to opening our communities up, so people of all abilities can enjoy one another and live rich, fulfilling lives.

Community Connections is a unique program for adults with intellectual/developmental disabilities, Autism Spectrum Disorder and significant learning disabilities who are looking for ways to increase their social connections. With one-to-one support from our Community Builders, participants can build skills that will help expand their interests, meet new people and develop friendships. Participants should be able to navigate the community independently or with minimal support and participate in activities in unsupervised settings. 

What happens in Community Connections?

A JCFS Community Builder will meet regularly (at least two times a month or more) one on one with the participant to develop their interests and provide coaching around social interactions and other skills, such as planning their own get-togethers with friends. 
To help facilitate connections with others in the program, participants can attend group activities coordinated by the Community Builder.
For questions or information about eligibility, intake and fees, contact Allison Rodenhouse.

YadB'Yad offers quarterly social, cultural and religious activities and events that bring together Jewish adults with Intellectual/Developmental Disabilities or learning disabilities. Activities and events are held throughout the community, such as at the Fiedler Hillel on the Northwestern Campus, and encourages participants to engage in their community, socialize with other participants or volunteers, and enjoy an evening out.

For more information on eligibility and participation in Community Connections and YadB'Yad, contact Allison Rodenhouse, Director, Family and Community Supports, 773.765.3160.

Camp Firefly  As we shared in April, Camp Firefly was canceled for summer 2020 and is on hiatus until further notice. This decision was made with an understanding of the unique needs of our campers and because of the need for our internal resources at JCFS to be redirected to best serve our families. Though we won't be able to meet this summer, JCFS Chicago remains committed to supporting our campers and their families by transitioning counseling and support groups like Sibshops online.

Create a supportive, welcoming community for children, teens and young adults who oftentimes have difficulty connecting with peers and navigating social situations. Everything in our program, including the best of summer fun and exceptional therapeutic group activities, is designed to support campers on the autism spectrum  and with other social challenges. By celebrating individual strengths and recognizing potential, campers develop self-confidence, improve self-esteem and enhance social skills. Participants explore who they are and come home with greater independence and meaningful life lessons and friendships. To begin the registration process or call toll-free, 855.ASK.JCFS (855.275.5237). Parents needing to reach camp during session should call the Camp Chi office at 847.763.3551.

Sibshops offer brothers and sisters of children with a variety of special needs a place to meet other siblings in a relaxed, supportive and recreational setting. For kids ages 6-12 years old. Teens are also welcome.

Respite takes a supportive, nurturing and therapeutic approach, combined with fun, social and recreational activities, while providing a well deserved break for parents.

For information on how you can volunteer, contact Shannon Corona