My JCC Story - Gabriel



Ready to join in the Autism Speaks Light it up Blue campaign? Around the world, on April 2nd, thousands of iconic landmarks and communities will shine blue to support people living with autism.  At the Schwartz/Reisman Centre, we are no different. In addition to the blue touches you will see in our Centre, we thought we’d share this great JCC story.


  Meaningful inclusion results in new friends for the whole family

GabrielDespite a shared love of Lego, trains, tennis and pizza some children have a harder time than others making friends. Such was the case for grade 4 student, Gabriel, who is on the Autism spectrum. Then, he found the Schwartz/Reisman Centre and a series of programs that have included social skills, early engineers, Sportball, karate and yoga.

It has been close to three years now and the greatest impact of these programs has been on Gabriel’s feeling of belonging and his bond with new friends.

“Gabriel skips into class and runs out with excitement,” said Elaine his mother. “When we put him in other activities he got bored or lost interest. But this one he always loves. The quality of programming, the talent of ABA instructors and the consistency of the same kids, the experiments and activities makes it so successful.” Gabriel




Gabriel is not the only family member benefiting from the SRC’s inclusion programming. While Gabriel and his friend are having fun in their weekly social club, their two sisters enjoy swimming lessons together.

“I’ve also met a group of mothers that I hang out with and talk about our situations and challenges,” said Elaine. “We have a bond – they get it. If one of us has a bad day we text each other. We may live anywhere from the Beaches to Vaughan but once a week we meet at the JCC.”

It’s time the entire family looks forward to each week making Gabriel’s excitement to hang out with his new friends, quite typical.