Community Life

Families Invited to Community Wellness Fair on March 4

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Chatham Mayor Bruce Harris (far right) is coming to the fair as part of the borough's initiative on wellness. Credits: by Amalia Duarte
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Are you struggling to stick with your New Year’s Resolutions? Get inspiration and ideas on how to eat better, workout and maintain a healthier, more-balanced lifestyle at ECLC of New Jersey’s “Community Wellness Fair” on Saturday, March 4.

The Wellness Fair, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., will take place at ECLC’s school for students with special needs at 21 Lum Ave., behind the municipal building.

The Mayors Wellness Committee of the Chathams will participate, as part of its dedication to helping community members maintain a healthy lifestyle. Committeewoman Victoria Fife is the council liaison to the committee.

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“The Mayors Wellness Campaign is a state-wide initiative whose tag line is ‘Putting your Community in Motion,’ ” said Mayor Bruce Harris. “Chatham has been involved with this initiative, since its inception almost 10 years ago. Our goal is to provide our residents with active living initiatives, that are both healthy and fun, to improve health and reduce the skyrocketing cost of health care.”

ECLC welcomes everyone from the community, and especially those with special needs, to check out dozens of vendors, sample food, enjoy performances and try their luck at winning random door prizes.

This free fair features plenty of kids’ activities, summer camps, fitness experts, and a special guest, basketball wizard Mighty Mike, who will lead several clinics.

Mighty Mike, a basketball court jester and disability advocate, is a former Harlem Wizards player, who delights and inspires audiences with his basketball magic and upbeat message. A New Jersey native, Mike Simmel was diagnosed with epilepsy at age 2. He bounced back to become a three-year varsity starter, standout point guard and captain of the highly competitive basketball team at Don Bosco Prep in Ramsey.

He played with the Harlem Wizards professional entertainment basketball team for 13 years. Since then, he has launched a career as an acclaimed motivational speaker, author, and the CEO and director of a summer camp, "Bounce Out the Stigma."

The camp operates in nearly 20 states, and this summer will be available for children in Florham Park and Wyckoff. The program started based on Simmel’s own experiences as a teen-ager. He was almost being bounced out of a basketball camp at age 16, after having a seizure.

Similarly, the idea for a Wellness Fair was inspired by ECLC’s concern about health and wellness and in particular how it impacts people with special needs. As the idea grew, it evolved into a wellness fair for everyone! The event takes place, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., at ECLC of New Jersey’s Chatham School at 21 Lum Avenue, which is directly behind the municipal building on Fairmont Avenue. For more information, please contact Wellness Fair Coordinator: Anne Fields (973-635-1700).

About ECLC

ECLC is an accredited, nonprofit and serves more than 750 children and adults diagnosed with autism, Down syndrome and other lifelong, developmental disabilities. ECLC operates schools in Chatham and Ho-Ho-Kus, educating nearly 300 students, and offers adult programs and services.

All students graduate from ECLC with a clear plan for their future. ECLC offers employment services through an affiliate, Community Personnel Services. Specialists from CPS help adults with disabilities find meaningful jobs in their communities and provide ongoing support and advocacy in the workplace.

ECLC offers enrollment, as appropriate, in the P.R.I.D.E. Adult Program for ECLC graduates who are not able to work. At P.R.I.D.E., clients choose their daily activities – from book club and cooking to arts and crafts and fitness. Plus, they get a chance to go into the community for volunteering, lunch, and more. There are P.R.I.D.E. Centers in Florham Park and Paramus. Learn more about ECLC.

ECLC is a member of the Alliance of Private Special Education Schools of North Jersey, a coalition of more than 30 state-approved private special education schools dedicated to helping parents and educators better understand and access appropriate program options. Learn more about the Alliance.

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