Somerville, NJ 1068

Somerset Children's Center

Adjacent to the Somerville Lodge is the Somerset Children's Center. The Center has been an Elks' service project for over 80 years. It is an outgrowth of the Elks' benevolence to children with special needs.

Our Mission

The Somerset Children's Center is dedicated to making services available to all eligible children without regard for race, religion, national origin, or economic status. Children will receive therapy by NJ licensed therapists with advanced education at affordable rates in a child friendly, non-hospital based program where the environment is warm and welcoming.


In 1925 Somerville Lodge #1068 of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks began a program to transport children with Polio to Dr. Henry H. Kessler, in Newark, for treatment. As the needs grew, the Bound Brook Lodge joined the effort and together the lodges established a clinic and supplied the necessary equipment for the treatment of the children, at Somerset Hospital in Somerville, NJ. This program was eventually discontinued.

In 1950 a part-time clinic, for all physically handicapped children, was re-established at the Johns Manville Research Center. It remained there for one year until the Somerville Board of Education approved the establishment of a clinic in the basement of the West High Street Elementary School. These children and their adaptive equipment were carried up and down the stairs. A Speech Therapy Program was added and the program expanded throughout the area. As a result, the lodges of Bound Brook, Plainfield, Dunellen and Manville joined with Somerville to form a Board of Directors for the Clinic. The Board of Directors worked with the New Jersey State Board of Education to certify the class for physically challenged children.

On March 19, 1978, through the generosity of the members of the Somerville Elks Lodge, a facility adjacent to the lodge on Route 22 in Bridgewater was dedicated and made available to the Board of Director's of the Somerset Children's Center. Children were seen for treatment at this location until July 1991 when the Center moved into its own building on the grounds of the Somerville Lodge on Union Avenue in Bridgewater. Currently, the Center serves children in the areas of Physical, Occupational, and Speech at its Bridgewater location.


All Therapists at the Center are NJ licensed and highly trained in their specialty. As a result, each child is seen individually by a professional who is uniquely qualified to help that child reach their maximum potential. We begin our services with a comprehensive evaluation followed by a treatment plan that is personalized to meet the needs of each individual child. We strongly believe in a partnership between the families and our therapists to ensure carryover and facilitate progress.

Physical Therapy

Physical Therapy targets the development of strength, balance, coordination, motor planning and flexibility through therapeutic exercise programs. The goal is to assist the child to reach their full potential for functional independence at home, at school, and in the community. Our Therapists have expertise in the areas of: * Adaptive Equipment Evaluations * Kinesiotaping * Myofascial release * NDT Techniques * Therapeutic Ball Techniques * Sensory Integration Techniques * Facilitation and Handling Techniques

Occupational Therapy

Occupational Therapy helps the child develop and maintain skills necessary to function effectively in the environment. Occupational Therapists work to improve sensory processing, muscle strength, fine motor, visual motor and cognitive skills to enhance motor planning, attention to task, socialization, play skills, and activities of daily living. Our Therapists have expertise in the areas of: * Sensory Processing and Modulation * Handwriting and Keyboarding * Self-Care Skills * Play Skills * Therapeutic Listening * Interactive Metronome,br>

Speech Therapy

The Speech Language Pathologists provide an evaluation and treatment of the child's receptive/expressive language skills. The focus of speech therapy is to help the child comprehend spoken and written language and to be able to communicate effectively and intelligibly. Our Speech Language Pathologists have expertise in the areas of: * Articulation * Delayed Language * Axpraxia * Oral/Motor

Special Child Health Services

Somerset County Special Child Health Services is housed at the Center. It is sponsored by the New Jersey Department of Health & Senior Services and is one of the 21 county based programs in the state. The comprehensive program is designed to provide a network of services on an information and referral basis to meet the health and developmental needs of children with disabilities.


Along with the varied programs operated by the Center, many of the children are sponsored by their individual Lodges to attend Elks Camp Moore, a summer camp owned and operated by the New Jersey State Elks Handicapped Children's Committee. The camp, located in Haskell, New Jersey has been operating since 1971 and has become one of the finest camps in the country specializing in providing enjoyment to these special children.


Adjacent to the Center, the Special Children's Playground is another addition of considerable significance for the enjoyment of children in the community. Its construction was the realization of a dream come true. It was the consequence of considerable planning and the benefaction of a number of Elks Lodges and other generous organizations. The playground was dedicated on June 12, 1993, and named as a tribute to former center director, Evelyn Barnes, RN, for her many years of devoted service to the Center.


Somerville Lodge #1068, Middlesex Lodge #2301, Manville-Hillsborough Lodge #2119, Bound Brook Lodge #1388, Flemington Lodge #1928, and Princeton Lodge #2129.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT Somerset Children's Center, Mindy Hoppe, Director, 377 Union Avenue Bridgewater, NJ 08807 PHONE: 908.725.2366