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LIVINGSTON, NEW JERSEY, UNITED STATES (MARCH 2, 2020) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF CHILDREN RIDING TRICYCLES IN LIFETOWN SHOPPES, AN INDOOR MAIN STREET INSIDE LIFETOWN, A 53,000-SQUARE-FOOT CENTER DEDICATED TO TEACHING LIFE SKILLS TO CHILDREN AND ADULTS WITH SPECIAL NEEDS (SOUNDBITE) (English) 9-YEAR-OLD STUDENT, ALEXANDER NAHULLIER, SAYING: "I'm having so much fun right now and I love it." (SOUNDBITE) (English) 9-YEAR-OLD STUDENT, ANGEL MENCIA PEREZ, SAYING: "It was cool." CHILD RIDING BIKE / RWJBARNABAS HEALTH STOREFRONT CHILD CLIMBING ONTO DENTIST'S CHAIR STICKERS / MODEL OF TEETH CHILD IN DENTIST'S CHAIR (SOUNDBITE) (English) 9-YEAR-OLD STUDENT, ALEXANDER NAHULLIER, SAYING: "Nervous and happy because I don't have that much of a budget, but I'm staying with it. And happy." VARIOUS OF CHILDREN LOOKING AT FISH IN FISH TANK BIRD IN CAGE IN PET SHOP CHILD LOOKING AT BIRDS SIGN READING (English): 'JEFF & CHARLIE'S PET SHOP' / CHILDREN LOOKING THROUGH WINDOW OF PET SHOP AT FISH TANK (SOUNDBITE) (English) 9-YEAR-OLD STUDENT, ALEXANDER NAHULLIER, ON HIS FAVORITE PART OF LIFETOWN, SAYING: "The pet shop because I saw guinea pigs and they're my favorite rodent and they're extremely adorable." (SOUNDBITE) (English) 9-YEAR-OLD STUDENT, ANGEL MENCIA PEREZ, ON WHY THE PET SHOP IS ALSO HIS FAVORITE PART OF LIFETOWN, SAYING: "There are birds, guinea pigs and fish." REPORTER ASKING: "What's your favorite fish?" ANGEL MENCIA PEREZ: "The Nemo one." MOVIE THEATER (SOUNDBITE) (English) 32-YEAR-OLD TEACHER AT INTERVALE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL IN PARSIPPANY, NEW JERSEY, JEMILA NAJJAR-KEITH, ON HER STUDENTS REACTIONS WHEN THEY WALK INTO LIFETOWN, SAYING: "'This is amazing. Oh, my goodness, did you go here? This is awesome.' It is like joy upon joy." WALKING SHOT FROM MOVIE THEATER TO BANK VARIOUS OF CHILDREN DEPOSITING THEIR MONEY BACK INTO LIFETOWN'S BANK (SOUNDBITE) (English) 32-YEAR-OLD TEACHER AT INTERVALE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL IN PARSIPPANY, NEW JERSEY, JEMILA NAJJAR-KEITH, ON THE BEST PART OF LIFETOWN FOR HER, SAYING: "Social skills, being able to communicate with people, working on money management. It's everything I do in the classroom in a real setting. It is truly incredible." (SOUNDBITE) (English) 57-YEAR-OLD LIFETOWN VOLUNTEER, MINDY GARB, SAYING: "I had a children's clothing store for 30 years. I love children and I have a special needs nephew. They go to Friendship Circle down in South Jersey where they live. But that was just in my heart and in my head. And I belong with children and special needs. It's been a very special place for me. So this was my first stop after I retired." VARIOUS OF LIFETOWN CEO AND CO-FOUNDER, RABBI ZALMAN GROSSBAUM, ENTERING AND WALKING AROUND LIFETOWN SHOPPES GROSSBAUM TALKING TO CHILD (SOUNDBITE) (English) LIFETOWN CEO AND CO-FOUNDER, RABBI ZALMAN GROSSBAUM, SAYING: "LifeTown is an immersive environment where everyone can learn together, those with special abilities learn the skills they need to navigate the real world. But it gives an opportunity for the whole community to be a part of the experience, and they experience life side by side. So what happens at LifeTown becomes an incubator for what happens in the real world." CHILDREN'S LEGS SEEN JUMPING ON TRAMPOLINE CHILD IN BALL PIT (SOUNDBITE) (English) LIFETOWN CEO AND CO-FOUNDER, RABBI ZALMAN GROSSBAUM, SAYING: "We offer programs directly for schools where they could be a part of the experience to bring their students here, to experience life in the shops. Transition skills, life skills, job skills, all these skills in a real setting and while they're doing that, they're interacting with the community because all the shops are run by adult volunteers, so they're also learning from that experience as well. And then we have programs directly for families. We have open play days for the families. We have programs that we partner with Children's Specialized Hospital." VARIOUS OF CHILDREN PLAYING IN FOAM PIT (SOUNDBITE) (English) LIFETOWN CEO AND CO-FOUNDER, RABBI ZALMAN GROSSBAUM, SAYING: "And every time I walk by the windows and see the kids enjoying themselves, I feel this magnetic pull to come out here and to be with the kids and experience life with the kids because there's something absolutely magical about what happens here." VARIOUS OF CHILDREN IN INDOOR PLAYGROUND (SOUNDBITE) (English) LIFETOWN CEO AND CO-FOUNDER, RABBI ZALMAN GROSSBAUM, SAYING: "And I hope that what people take away from LifeTown - of course if anybody else wants to build a LifeTown that would be so inspired, that would be wonderful - but in their own day to day lives, if they could reach out to somebody else who is in need, someone else who could use a little inclusion, they will end up seeing that they will gain so much more than they give." CHILDREN IN INDOOR PLAYGROUND (SOUNDBITE) (English) LIFETOWN CEO AND CO-FOUNDER, RABBI ZALMAN GROSSBAUM, SAYING: "I gain much more than I ever give, from the inspiration that I receive from the families, from the children, from the teens that volunteer for us. I'm the luckiest man in the world." VARIOUS OF SNOEZELEN CENTER, A ROOM TO PROVIDE A CALMING SPACE FOR VISITORS VARIOUS OF VISITORS GETTING ICE CREAM VARIOUS OF LIFETOWN'S FOOTBALL FIELD, SPONSORED BY THE NEW YORK JETS, THE NFL, UNITED WAY OF NORTHERN NEW JERSEY AND NRG ENERGY WITH SIGN ON BUILDING READING (English): 'LIFETOWN / FRIENDSHIP CIRCLE'
Dateline: 2020

For Special-Needs Kids, New Jersey Rabbi Offers Chance Of A 'Lifetown'

Item ID: 126670894

By: Reuters

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