CHATHAM, NJ - Eric Chang of Morris Plains was among students who graduated on June 14 from ECLC of New Jersey’s school for students with special needs in Chatham.

The young adults received high school diplomas conferred by their hometown districts. During the ceremony, each graduate was given an opportunity to speak and deliver their "reflections," a school tradition for many years. In his short speech, Chang said, “ECLC is my favorite school and I will miss it. My teachers taught me how to be a hard worker and the importance of doing a good job.”

Chang will be working part-time at Marshalls and continuing to develop his job skills. He is excited to stay in the ECLC family by returning to the school for alumni dances and classes, which are offered through an evening enrichment program.

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ECLC stands for “Education, Careers & Lifelong Community” and serves more than 800 children and adults from 11 counties who are diagnosed with autism, Down syndrome and multiple disabilities. The nonprofit operates two private schools in Chatham and Ho-Ho-Kus, educating nearly 300 students, and offers adult programs and services.

ECLC enables people with disabilities to live as independently as possible. All ECLC students graduate with a clear plan for their future. For graduates who are able to work, ECLC offers employment services through an affiliate, Community Personnel Services (CPS). Specialists from CPS help graduates find meaningful jobs in their communities and provide ongoing support and advocacy in the workplace.

The P.R.I.D.E. Adult Program is for ECLC alumni who are not good candidates for work because of the nature of their disability. More than 160 adults are enrolled in P.R.I.D.E. Centers in Florham Park and Paramus. Adults in P.R.I.D.E. spend meaningful days continuing to learn and grow. The adults in P.R.I.D.E. choose their schedules, from a range of options, including fitness, computers, book club, food shopping and cooking, fine arts and more. They also venture into the community each day for volunteering, field trips and other activities. The program is open to ECLC graduates of any age and for as long as needed. Learn more about ECLC.


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