Programs For People with Special Needs
Enrichment Programs for People with Special Needs in the Woodstock VT Area Fitness Programs For People with Special Needs

Zack's Place Fitness Programs

Music Movement with Angel Rubino

Angel Rubino, a pediatric occupational therapist, offers Zack's Place participants an hour each week of high energy creative movement classes. Participants, staff, caregivers and volunteers all are eager to dance and joyfully create new movements to music. Indeed; some of the ideas for the music and the movements often come directly from the participants.

Classes are tailored to meet the consistent or emerging needs of the participants while also designed to encourage the participants to work cooperatively utilizing their individual strengths while forming a cohesive group who move in harmony with each other.

Classes include rhythmic routines, semi-structured activities, and freedom of expression. These fun-filled experiences enable participants to develop skills such as: fitness, balance, bilateral coordination, motor planning, self-regulation, body awareness, muscle strength, endurance, imagination, responsibility, self-confidence, communication, cooperation, and social engagement.

We begin each class with a welcome circle and end by singing hello/goodbye to each person in rhythmic time while using shakers and dancing. A set list of songs are organized and choreographed with a variety of opportunities for freedom of movement. Some favorites activities include: stick drumming, silk scarf and ribbon stick dancing, marching dance, "spot to spot and stop dance", the chicken dance, "free dance", "river sheet", puff ball popping, parachute wind, trampoline groove, balloon and ball play, disco and hula hoop moves. We end the more active sessions with breathing exercises which include guided imagery for restoration.

Therapeutic Yoga with Angel Rubino

This gentle and flexible therapeutic yoga class is designed to meet the unique needs of individuals who live with daily physical challenges, immobility, and who may also utilize wheelchairs.

Angel's class nourishes each individual's body, mind, and spirit. Through breath work, singing, poses, guided imagery/story, and massage, this class provides a safe and supportive environment where participants can perform at their own pace and enjoy their individual abilities. We will be artists, our palate the mats that we create with, through freedom, patience, exploration, and uniting our movements.

This therapeutic yoga program was created to offer many benefits to those with limited ambulation or other physical challenges. These include: freedom of movement; improved body awareness, posture, focus and concentration; loosening of tight limbs and strengthening soft/hypotonic muscles; flexibility in mental and physical body; calmness in body and mind; building of self-confidence; and healthy digestive, circulatory and immune processes.

Yoga with Tita Manice

As our Yoga instructor, Tita Manice finds great joy in bringing her expertise to the participants of ZP. Her one hour classes often include 20 participants who share in the known benefits that yoga offers. The class consists of both children and adults with disabilities including: autism, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, and a variety of other neurological disabilities.

Tita has been teaching Kraal Hatha Yoga at Zack's Place for six years with each participant partaking at their own level. The benefits to the participants include: increased ability to focus on task; increased listening skills for particular and unfamiliar stretches and postures; better balance; and better breathing techniques to relax and calm their bodies. Improved self-esteem and respect for others' needs also result from these classes. Each person gives caring encouragement to their fellow "yoga mates". Indeed, our participants love yoga and have fun while in class, while experiencing the wellbeing that follows.

Exercise with Bari Ramirez

Once a week, our physical trainer, Bari Ramirez, inspires our group by leading us in exercises, understanding our bodies, offering eating healthy ideas, while all the time having fun. The one hour program focuses on working each muscle group, and offers an aerobic workout. Very often, the population that is served by our enrichment center is overlooked when it comes to fun or group exercises.

As a fitness instructor and personal trainer, Bari provides an exercise program designed around people with various cognitive and developmental disabilities. Exercise is an integral part of a healthy lifestyle and this program offers physical activity in a group program where participants learn commitment to themselves as well as to the group. The class includes discussions on how the muscles work together with the brain, and how exercise promotes circulation and may actually prevent or limit depression.

Games with Carl Hurd

For 35 years Carl Hurd was the Athletic Director at Woodstock Elementary School and he knows how to have fun while exercising. Now retired and a retired Board Member of ZP, Carl finds time to volunteer and bring exercise games to ZP once a month. Depending on the season the games range from indoor bottle hockey, whiffle ball, croquet, tennis and anything that he can conjure up to have fun while exercising.


Twice a month ZP ventures out to the Aquatic center for swim with Woodstock Union High School Community Classroom. In the summer ZP goes to various lakes and enjoys the outdoors while sunning and swimming with friends. Fitness is important at ZP and when it comes to swimming we have found that every one of our participants can do it.

Dancing with visiting Dancers

We have a number of different dancers that come in to teach dance, folk, traditional, ballet and jazz.

In addition to these regular programs there are many trial and one day programs

Music Movement with Angel
In the pool  with Bari Ramirez
Games outside
Yoga with Tita Stretching Zack out
Games with Carl Hurd
Working out with Bari Ramirez
Yoga with Tita

Where bonds of friendship and self-confidence flourish.

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