SBJC and No Barriers USA Partner to Create and Implement an Innovative Program to Help Special Need Students Mitigate Their Challenges and Develop the Tools to Unlock Their Potential.
The South Bergen Jointure Commission is excited to announce its partnership with No Barriers USA, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to fully unleash the potential of the human spirit.
As a public special needs district currently serving more than 350 students from Bergen County, it has become our mission at the South Bergen Jointure Commission to unlock the potential of every single one of our students. The SBJC vision centers on establishing a formalized system that ensures the federal mandate of Least Restrictive Environment is being achieved. Our goal as an educational institution is to prepare our students for independent living following their completion of our program.
But we know we cannot do this alone. In order to truly unlock our students’ potentials, we need all those who are involved in their lives to understand the importance of preparing students for the future. While many excellent resources focus on day-to-day skills to help students with autism, few focus on cultivating the right mindset for success. We need our students, families and educators to learn this mindset in order to break through barriers and unleash their full potential.
That’s why the South Bergen Jointure Commission has partnered with No Barriers and Felician University.
We set up a number of initiatives designed to provide access to the same opportunities of their general ed. peers.
- In the summer of 2021, we hired students to work for the SBJC, performing maintenance duties (like painting and building furniture) as well as working with our IT department in preparing technology for the new school year. This was the first paycheck many of them ever received.
- We worked with No Barriers to provide Hiking Leadership Training to our 18-21 year old students. Not only would these students learn wilderness survival skills, they’d be responsible for passing that knowledge on to all of the other students in our district.
- We enhanced our curriculum and our extracurricular activities. There are certain rites of passage every child should be able to go through, bike riding being just one of them. So a team of physical educators and physical therapists designed a course that incorporated bicycling into our physical education curriculum. We also now have a Walk-Everyday initiative, where students take daily walks in the community with their classmates. And we are now well into the pilot year of a three-season athletic program with the hopes of joining the NJSIAA in the fall of 2022.
What's No Barriers?
Erik Weihenmayer, No Barriers USA’s co-founder, refuses to let blindness interfere with his passion for an exhilarating and fulfilling life. In 2001, Weihenmayer became the first blind climber in history to reach the summit of the world’s highest mountain, Mount Everest. By 2008, he completed his quest for climbing the Seven Summits – the highest peaks on each of the seven continents. Now he actively seeks opportunities to help others adopt a similar mindset.
No Barriers USA is a nonprofit organization that provides experiences, tools, and inspiration that help people embark on a quest to contribute their absolute best to the world. The organization has worked with populations ranging from veterans returning from war, to youth and educators and caregivers, to people with physical and/or invisible disabilities who hope to show the world a new vision of what’s possible.