West Orange, NJ – The JCC MetroWest in West Orange held its first-ever “Cycle for Special Needs Services: A Celebration of All Abilities,” a well-received fundraising effort that attracted members, program participants, locals and JCC Staff volunteers on Sunday, in support of the Special Needs Department and the programs offered at the JCC.

All donations from the event will benefit the JCC’s special-needs department, which serves the greater-MetroWest community teaching life skills, physical fitness and wellness and varied social activities for area residents. Cyclists made donations to rent the latest bikes, and cycled away for the cause for an hour to music provided by a local DJ. 

According to Marcy Burach, Director of Membership and Marketing at the JCC, the event was planned entirely by a committee, which included teen volunteers and participants, and raised a total of $22,000 for the Special Needs Services Group.

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“This event is a great way for the JCC to highlight the important work we do for those with special needs to our fitness members and community at large,” said Burach. “One of the great surprises from this is how much our participants have enjoyed the cycling classes we have added to their program.”

The day kicked off with a cycling class led by Reggie Dale, a popular Group Fitness Instructor and Personal Trainer at the JCC. Dale, who works with the members of the special-needs community, asked for the community’s assistance in designing this particular cycling session. Dale provided the enthusiasm and motivation for all the cyclists and used a selection of the member’s favorite music during class. 

Dale also stressed the importance of physical fitness for his students, and how each individual member has gained not only strength, but also purpose and self-esteem while attending the practice cycling sessions that led up to today’s fundraiser. 

Robin Cohen, Program Administrator for the Special Needs Department was proud of the new event theme. 

“Last year we did a dance themed event to raise money for the JCC, but this year we wanted to do something different, since we want to emphasize wellness,” said Cohen. “This is what we do in our special needs programs, as well as at the JCC—so we thought the marriage of these two great goals would be terrific. Participants were training in cycling classes for the event throughout the year, and they really loved it.”

When the cycling class ended, a heart-healthy luncheon reception provided heart-smart foods for participants. The raffle-ticket winners were announced, attendees took part in a short aerobic workout and the day ended with a meditative moment with a mini group-Yoga session. Cohen also noted that sponsors made generous donations, and that Atlantic Tomorrow's Office was the lead sponsor of the event both this year and last year.

For more information about the event, or to make a donation visit www.firstgiving.com/jccmetrowest/cycleforspecialneeds or www.jccmetrowest.org.