Kaplen JCC will honor three at nursery’s 20th anniversary
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Kaplen JCC will honor three at nursery’s 20th anniversary

Amber Sabathia, left, Kelly Spitzley, and Lois Mendelson (Photos courtesy JCCOTP)
Amber Sabathia, left, Kelly Spitzley, and Lois Mendelson (Photos courtesy JCCOTP)

The Kaplen JCC on the Palisades hosts its therapeutic nursery’s 20th anniversary celebration on Thursday, September 22, at 6:30 p.m. Amber Sabathia and Kelly Spitzley, leaders and longtime supporters of the unique language-based program for 2- to 5-year-olds with special needs, are the honorees. The school provides programming for bright preschool children with various developmental challenges. Lois Mendelson, Ph.D., the school’s co-founder and director, will receive the Visionary in Education award. Nina Pineda, Eyewitness News’ 7 On Your Side anchor, will be the master of ceremonies.

The therapeutic nursery school has earned national recognition for its parent-child developmental language-based model, philosophy, social skills curriculum, and high success rate in mainstreaming its students.

“We are very grateful to have such committed leaders with this level of passion, who we can recognize and honor for their tireless advocacy for children and families in our community,” the JCC’s CEO, Jordan Shenker, said.

Amber Sabathia is a staunch supporter of the therapeutic nursery. She and her husband, the New York Yankees’ pitcher CC Sabathia, co-founded the PitCCh In Foundation to enrich the lives of at-risk children and teens in inner cities. When Kelly and Ray Spitzley’s 2-year-old son was diagnosed with autism in 2002, Kelly turned her passions to autism activism. The Spitzleys sent their son to the therapeutic nursery; Kelly has guided many families to the nursery for help. Lois Mendelson co-founded the school. She also completed a five-year clinical training program in child and adolescent studies at the Institute for Child, Adolescent and Family Studies.

The evening’s proceeds will support and enrich the JCC Therapeutic Nursery and the services it provides to families. For information on attending, making online gifts, or placing personal or professional ads in a commemorative e-journal, go to jccotp.org/tn20, call Gineen Weiss at (201) 408-1439, or email tn@jccotp.org.

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