Tonight: SCHI of Lakewood Anniversary Dinner


schiThis evening, the School for Children with Hidden Intelligence (SCHI) will be holding its 14th Anniversary Dinner at Lake Terrace Hall in Lakewood, NJ. Parents, families and friends from all over will gather to celebrate the phenomenal accomplishments of the special students of SCHI.

In the past, parents of special needs children, armed only with limited resources, have had to stand by helplessly as their children struggled to succeed. Since its inception fourteen years ago, SCHI’s warm and dedicated staff has helped these children surpass even the highest expectations. There are currently over 150 students at SCHI, which services children and adults with over 30 different diagnoses. Over 50 former SCHI students are now enrolled in mainstream schools. SCHI offers therapy free of charge to students who cannot afford services, and experiences a deficit of $1 million per year.

At the dinner, Yechiel and Rivky Kutner will receive the Kesser Shem Tov Award and Naftali and Ziva Kriger will receive the Avodas Hakodesh Award. The honorary chairman will be Avrumi Reich and the dinner chairman will be Rabbi Chaim Leib Pam.


School. The place where children spend most of their waking hours. The place where they learn important skills needed to become productive adults. For special needs children, school is not just about their future. It’s not just about gaining knowledge.  School is also vital to learn the basic skills they need just for living.

SCHI is not just a school. SCHI is Klal Yisroel. SCHI cares. The dedicated staff will put no limits on their efforts to improve the quality of life of the SCHI children and families. They are our relatives, our neighbors, our friends and, as such, they deserve the very best care.

Thousands of dollars, above and beyond the tuition budget, are poured into SCHI students every year. Not for luxuries, but for basic necessities. Communication, toileting, behavior, feeding – essential needs to help children and their families function.  Equipment is purchased, consultants are hired, therapies are provided; a lack of funding is never a reason to deny services.

Try to imagine the daily schedule of the family of a child with disabilities – a child who needs to be fed, carried, entertained, or guarded. Imagine the exhaustion of parents caring for a consistently dependent child. Friends and family can step in and help provide respite, which is a tremendous chessed for the parents, but the biggest chessed is to change the bottom line – to teach skills that can alleviate core problems.

And that’s what SCHI is here for. To do a lot more than just watch and care for the children. SCHI is here to teach – walking, talking, toilet training, communication, turn-taking, feeding skills, social skills, independence, controlled behaviors… SCHI’s highly trained, professional staff will do whatever it takes to help improve the children’s quality of life.

Hours upon hours are spent teaching a child to self-feed. Dozens of different types of bottles and spoons are tried, in an effort to find the shape and size that the child can manage alone. Hand over hand, one tiny step at a time, staff works with the little girl, slowly making progress. When the goal is finally reached, it eases the family’s burden forever. They can sit down to eat as a family while their daughter happily enjoys her meal.

A teenage boy wanders aimlessly around shul; his father always distracted, worrying about his son. He is aware enough to want to go to shul, but lacks the skills to understand proper shul decorum. It can be embarrassing when he gets in people’s way.   SCHI staff accompanies him to minyan daily; he learns to follow along in a siddur, to answer amein, to put on tefillin. Finally, the young man can daven like a mentch, and, now so can his father.

A little boy roams around, banging his head, scratching, destroying things. He’s dangerous to others and dangerous to himself.  The parents are desperate. Doctors and professionals have given up. But not SCHI. Consultants and specialists are brought in. After months spent on data collection, research, consultation and failed attempts, a method is finally found. The behavior is improving. The child is stabilizing and his personality can begin to shine through.  His family can breathe; their lives were saved!

If you’ve never visited SCHI, it’s worth taking a half hour to do so. Your perspective on life will be changed forever.  And if you’ve never contributed to SCHI, now is the time to do so.

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