Human Services – Outreach and Advocacy

The Special Needs carnival scheduled for this Saturday June 23rd from 12pm – 3pm has been cancelled due to forecasted rain and will be rescheduled to a future date soon to be determined.

About the Office

Manuel Ramirez, Coordinator
Phone: 908-527-4781
Organizationally under the Department of Human Services, Division of Outreach and Advocacy


  • To provide recreational and social opportunities for residents living with special needs including physical, cognitive and developmental challenges;
  • To provide outreach to community groups and organizations to identify needs and interests of persons and families living with special needs as an opportunity to design effective programs;
  • To develop additional resources to fund programs targeting engagement of persons living with special needs;
  • To identify and implement an effective means of communication to educate community residents on programs and social events available such as yoga, ceramics, zumba, cooking, golf, swimming, sensory friendly theatre shows, a carnival and a barn dance.


Union County’s Annual Walk for Autism Awareness Spring Carnival

The Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders, Office for People with Special Needs, City of Elizabeth, Elizabeth Public Schools and Elizabeth Parent Support Group present Union County’s Annual Walk for Autism Awareness Spring Carnival

Saturday. April 28, 2018 at Mattano Park

360-484 Fifth Ave in Elizabeth

Registration 11 am

Walk 12 pm (rain or shine)





Mondays, 5pm – 6pm

Learn yoga techniques. Benefits of yoga include body strengthening, increased flexibility and relaxation. Yoga mats will be provided. Participants are asked to refrain from eating for 2 hours prior.

Session 1: Dates: Jan. 22 – Feb. 26 | Session 2: Dates: March 5 – April 9

Trailside Nature & Science Center, 452 New Providence Road Mountainside; Registration Fee: $12

Register Online

Culinary Delights*

Saturdays, 9:30am – 11:00am

Create a complete meal, from beverage to dessert, then enjoy the delicious meal! Master chefs lead the way. Group homes limited to 2 participants. Session 1: February 24 | Session 2: March 31; Classic Thymes, 710 South Avenue Westfield; Registration Fee: $8

Register Online


Tuesdays, 7pm – 8pm

Enjoy time with friends while creating a beautiful ceramic keepsake to bring home. Group homes limited to 2 participants. Program runs in conjunction with the City of Linden’s Dept. of Recreation. Session 1: Dates: Feb. 6 & 13 | Session 2: Dates: March 5 & 12 John T. Gregorio Center, 330 Helen Street. Linden; Registration Fee: $8

Register Online

Lace Up Your Skates**

Saturday, March 10

Free ice skating session will be held. Skate guards are on duty throughout the events. Skate-walkers are available for those needing assistance. Food and beverages are provided. 1:45pm – 3:45pm; Warinanco Sports Center, 1 Park Drive, Roselle; Registration Fee: Free

Register Online

Recreational Swim

Tuesdays Jan. 2 – March 27, 7pm – 8pm

Enjoy our FREE swim sessions. Sign in on arrival. People requiring assistance in the water or locker room must make their own arrangements for an aide. (One aide per person admitted.) Organizations are limited to 5 participants, and must provide  a chaperone in the water and locker room (both locker rooms for co-ed groups). YMCA of Fanwood – Scotch Plains, 1340 Martine Avenue, Scotch Plains; Registration Fee: Free

Register Online


Thursdays, April 5 – May 3, 7pm – 8pm

Get your game on for 5 weeks of fun! Volleyball basics, stretches and games. Volleyball will be held at Union County College at the Cranford Campus in the Gymnasium. Please wear sneakers. Chaperones are required to stay on premises when class is in session. Union County College, 1033 Springfield Avenue, Cranford. Fee: $12

Touch A Truck

Sunday, April 29

Youngsters can climb aboard dump trucks, bulldozers, police cars, HAZMAT response units and “The Bear” used by the Union County SWAT team in serious emergencies.Sensory Friendly Hour will be 11am – 12pm. Trailside Nature & Science Center. 452 New Providence Road Mountainside. Fee: $4/person, ages 6 and under FREE

Spring Fishing Derby**

Saturday, May 12

The East Central District Elks will provide another day of fabulous fishing fun including contests and a hot dog lunch! Enjoy fishing with your own pole, or use one provided. Echo Lake Park, Springfield Avenue, Mountainside

The Department of Human Service’s Office for the Disabled provides information and referral on a wide variety of topics, including: Accessibility, ADA, Education, Employment, Housing, Transportation, Rehabilitation and more.

For further information, please call the Office for the Disabled
Monday through Friday (8:30am – 4:30pm)
908-527-4845 TTY please dial 711

* Program (if marked *) is made possible by funding through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Community Development Block Grant Program.

** Program (if marked **) is made possible by funding from the NJ Department of Community Affairs, through a Recreational Opportunities for Individuals with Disabilities Grant.