making a difference in the lives of
special needs children



New City Rotary and Jawonio (Aired on March 3 & 4, 2018)

In this program, devoted to the close relationship between a Rotary Club and an important local resource, RadioRotary interviews New City Rotarians Madelon Burger, Robert Pitkofsky, and Jill Warner (executive director and CEO of Jawonio) along with Jerry Staller, director of educational and clinical services at Jawonio, which supplies lifespan services for persons with special needs primarily to Rockland County. Jawonio is a Native American word that means “independence,” representing the goal to help children and adults with special needs reach their full potential and helping them become as independent as possible. It is a unique residence and school resource that helps persons from as young as 2-months old to as old as 99 years. New City Rotary has been closely involved with Jawonio for over fifty years. As the facilities, started as a camp in 1947, have age, it has come time for new buildings, including new cabins for a summer program. New City Rotary is helping not only with funding this new construction, but also is working with Jawonio to create the Nature Path for outdoor activities. Listen to this pair of double interviews to learn more about this fascinating partnership.


Jawonio holds a six-week summer education program where physical and occupational therapies and educational programs take place on the grounds outside of the classrooms for disabled children.

This newly designed nature path will support children with special needs all along the way and will expand classrooms outdoors by making nature more accessible.

Children who rely on durable medical equipment will be walked or pushed in wheelchairs or supported by wheeled support walkers on nature walks, at field games, and at outdoor sing-a-longs or picnics.

With the Summer Education Program in a camp or park-like setting, the path will be designed to be wheelchair sensitive and walking safe for challenged walkers. Indigenous plantings, foliage and benches will be placed along the path.

This nature path will provide therapeutic and educational opportunities that will build self-esteem and skills in a way that is often unavailable to children with disabilities.

When the Summer Program is not in session, the nature path will be open to the public.


Rotary is an international service organization of business and professional people who, as volunteers, address needs of their home and international communities. Rotary initiates local and global service projects to promote world understanding and peace and to improve the living conditions for people of all ages and cultures. The motto of Rotary is “Service Above Self.”

New City Rotary has approximately 60 members, all of whom work and/or live in Rockland County and are committed to serving their community. Among the service projects New City Rotary conducts are an annual blood drive, food drives, highway cleanups, delivering food for Meals on Wheels, a coat drive for children, and a new childhood literacy program. In addition, the club raises money for international projects including the fight to end polio, cleft palate operations, clean water projects, establishing and supporting schools and loans to small entrepreneurs in impoverished nations. New City Rotary sponsors an Interact Club for Clarkstown North High School to instill the rewards of service at a young age and annually awards scholarships for graduating seniors.

New City Rotary is committed to building the Jawonio Nature Path and helping children with special needs.  Join us in  supporting this important project.

We invite you to join us in supporting the Rotary Jawonio Nature Trail.

For more information, please visit the Contact page.