Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Making the Scene at New Lyndhurst Club

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Making the Scene at New Lyndhurst Club

Article excerpt

LYNDHURST -- On a Thursday afternoon a group of young adults does karaoke while others cook the dinner that will follow at Lyndhurst's newest club, which offers independence and social interaction to those with special needs.

The Social Scene Club, tucked away on Riverside Avenue, opened last month and meets five times a week. It aims to fill a hole that could lead to isolation for the young adults after they graduate from high school.

People without special needs have the opportunity to meet up with friends for dinner or a movie or head to the gym after work. Lauren Turiello believes special needs adults should be able to to do the same.

"This is an opportunity to do things as adults without mom and dad, and unwind after a long day with their friends," said Turiello, co-owner and president of The Social Scene Club. "We ask them 'What do you want to do?' How often do they get asked that question?"

Turiello's mission, and that of her sister and co-owner, Melissa Howard, is to empower the young adults to make their own choices. Members choose the menus they prepare, the movies they watch and the games they play.

The nine current club members are offered activities including exercise, board games, art, cooking, yoga and music from 3 to 8 p.m. Some Fridays go till 10 p.m.

The club is open to the cognitively impaired and to brain tumor survivors, as well as to those who have Down syndrome, autism or multi-chromosomal disorders, among other conditions.

"[Special needs] is a very open term," Turiello said. "Different people need different things, and we didn't want to be pigeonholed to just cognitive disabilities. What if someone had a traumatic brain injury and they were struggling socially with recovery? This would be a really good place for them."

Members tend to be 18 years old or older, but Turiello said they choose not to focus on age. …

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