WORLD International Youth Day – Summer in the ‘Burgh

Today, August 12th, 2016 celebrates WORLD International Youth Day as ratified by the United Nations. The Youths of the world are the future of society, as such the UN promotes this day as a call for engagement of youth participation in civic engagement.

In honor of International Youth Day this administrator would like to leave you with an inspiring talk, given by a sixteen year old, autistic, woman. She is a dreamer and an inspiration, posing one simple question to the youths of today and the world, why be normal when you can be extraordinary?

How Autism Freed Me to be Myself video  |  Interactive Transcript

If you found Rosie’s speech moving you may be interested in the summer programs hosted by the Teen and Young Adult Center at the Jewish Community Center in Squirrel Hill.

The JCC offers programming in the mainstream of the Jewish community for individuals with special needs. They encourage every interested person with a disability to participate in the programs. The Teen and Young Adult Center at the JCC in Squirrel Hill provides afternoon and summer programming for teens and young adults who face physical, intellectual or mild emotional and behavioral challenges.

Participants must have independent toileting skills and be able to come to the Teen Center room on their own or be dropped off by their parent or caregiver—the JCC does not provide an escort. They provide focused attention to each participant with an emphasis on growth and the development of life skills. Friends learn the importance of teamwork, independence and relationship-building while enjoying the JCC’s fully equipped meeting rooms, dance studios, gymnasiums and swimming pools. The facilities provide the appropriate setting for a full and enriching afternoon. Kosher snacks are offered each day. During the summer program participants go on field trips to places like Phipps Conservatory, the Frick Historical Center, Forward Lanes for bowling, and more.

Activities are intended to expand participant’s horizons while increasing cognitive, communication, social and physical skills. The activity-filled afternoons offer a nice mix of new and familiar experiences for all participants. Activities vary according to the day of the week. Offering swimming, dancing, singing, music, gym games, art projects, and more.

Teen Center is staffed by caring adults who get to know the participants and are able to respond to their individual needs. Each staff member has worked with the special needs population in a variety of ways and finds creative ways to nurture the participants’ appreciation of art, animals and music.

JCC membership is required to become a member of the Teen and Young Adult Center. Scholarships are available to those who qualify. Please call 412-697-3525 for information.

If you would like more information or have any questions, please contact Meredith Brown at 412-697-3520 or

During this year’s International Youth Day remember that there is a child in all of us and to release your inner Youth. Dream incredible dreams, image an extraordinary world, and be a part of the amazing world the youths of today are creating.

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