For the Stamford Jewish Community Center, Labor Day is about giving children a jumpstart. The JCC hosted its 6th Annual 5k Run/Walk Monday to benefit its Jumpstart program, a preschool for children with special needs.
“It’s the only program of its kind, classroom based program, in Fairfield County,” says Sheri Jacobson, co-chair of the event.
“It’s a program that serves families in the community that just would not have the financial or other resources to be able to have children get the support system,” says Eric Koehler, Chief Executive Officer at the Stamford JCC. “Getting children early intervention gives them the best chance as they get older to be fully successful as they want to fully integrate into school and life.”
“It’s just something very unique,” says Gabriela Field, a volunteer instructor for the JumpStart program. “Not everybody has the opportunity to have special education when you have special needs kids; you want to be well taken care of.”
Koehler says more than 400 people attended the event, which is expected to raise over $40,0000. He says the JumpStart program costs about $150,000 a year to run.
“The first year we did it, it raised about fifteen or twenty thousand and it’s grown every year,” Koehler. “And each year the need always outweighs the dollars that are raised so the more we’re able to raise, the more children we’re able to serve.”
The event also featured family activities after the race.
Race participant Keren Gershon says, “I think it’s nice they do it on Labor Day because almost every business is closed so it really gives everyone the opportunity to participate who wants to participate.“
“We’ve had such tremendous cooperation from the community,” says Jacobson.
Field says, “It’s a way to bring people together and healthy together as well.”