The Somerville Lodge B.P.O. Elks #1068 initiated a program for Crippled children in 1925. The children were transported to Newark for treatment under the direction of Dr. Henry H. Kessler. As the caseload increased in the area, Somerville and Bound Brook Lodges joined together to establish a clinic at Somerset Hospital in Somerville, directed by Dr. Elmer Weigel. Both Lodges furnished the necessary equipment to the hospital for the treatment of the children. This program was later discontinued when Polio cases dropped to a low level in the area.

In 1950 a part time clinic for the treatment of physically handicapped children was located in the John Manville Research Center. With the approval of the Somerville Board of Education, a clinic was established in 1951 in the basement of the elementary school on West High Street, Somerville. Treatments were given to the physically handicapped children, and a speech therapy program was initiated. The expansion of the program throughout the area resulted in the lodges of Bound Brook, Plainfield, Dunellen and Manville joining with Somerville to form a Board of Directors. A class for the orthopedic handicapped was established in 1960 with the approval of the New Jersey State Board of Education.

A major improvement in both services and facilities was accomplished on March 19, 1978 when a building located adjacent to the Somerville Elks Lodge on Route 22 was dedicated and turned over to the Board of Directors. This was made possible through the generosity of many contributors and the dedication of the Somerville lodge who erected the building and donated it to the Somerset Handicapped Children's Treatment Center.

The Center achieved another milestone when it moved into a magnificent new structure in July 1991, and subsequently dedicated in September, 1991. It is adjacent to the Somerville Elks Lodge's new building on Union Avenue in Bridgewater.


The Somerset Handicapped Children's Treatment Center has been an Elks service project for over twenty-five years. It is an outgrowth of the Elks benevolence to handicapped children.

It is the desire of the Somerset Handicapped Children's Treatment Center to meet the needs of all special children from birth to 21 years of age to help them function independently, improve their developmental growth and to help them overcome their handicap.

To make available to the residents of Somerset County and the surrounding areas a facility for handicapped children at a nominal fee.


To make these services available to all eligible children without regard for race, religion, national origin or economic status, when properly referred by an area physician.

To provide rehabilitation services according to the professional standards of the New Jersey Department of Health - Paternal & Child Health Services.


Physical therapists work with patients disabled by handicaps, illness, or neurological disorders under the direction of the Medical Director.

Physical therapy's goal is to help patients reach maximum levels within their capabilities so they can lead useful, productive lives.

At the Treatment Center, children receive therapeutic exercises. These include, strengthening exercises for weakened muscles, coordination and balance exercises and ambulating exercises with braces and/or crutches.

The program also involves instructing patients and families in the procedures for continuing the care at home.

Personnel are certified by the New Jersey State Department of Education. Medical clinics are held once a month.


Since 1961, the swimming program has been a co-operative effort between the Somerset Handicapped Children's Treatment Center, the Evening Membership Department of the Somerville Civic League, and the Somerville Chapter of the American Red Cross.

The children receive instruction in swimming and water safety from instructors supplied by the Red Cross. The women of the Civic League dress the children and act as their "buddies" in the water.


Speech evaluations are provided at the clinic to identify communication problems. After evaluation, a program of therapy is on an individual basis and is usually supplemented with a home program under the direction of the therapist.

Therapy is available for all areas of speech - articulation, language development, fluency and voice.


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 i'n the country specializing in providing enjoyment to these special children.


Occupational therapy helps the handicapped individual develop and maintain skills necessary to function effectively in his environment through direct participation in purposeful goaloriented activities.

Personnel are certified by the New Jersey State Department of Education.

Goals Are:

To maintain or improve motor functioning.

To improve the level of academic function of Learning Disabled Children.

To improve psyche-social development.

To help achieve a maximum level of independence in activities of daily living.

To provide instruction in the use of functional and adaptive equipment and devices where applicable.


Somerset County Special Child Health Services Case Management Unit is housed in the Treatment Center. It is sponsored by the Department of Health in Trenton and is one of the 21 satellite programs in the State of New Jersey. This program is a comprehensive program designed to provide a network of services to meet the health needs of children with developmental disabilities.


The Special Children's Playground is another addition of considerable significance for the enjoyment of physically challenged children. 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 Evelyn Barnes, RN, Director of the Treatment Center for her many years of devoted service to the Center.




Somerville Lodge
Middlesex Lodge
Manville-Hillsborough Lodge
Bound Brook Lodge
Plainfield Lodge
Flemington Lodge
Princeton Lodge
B.P.O. Elks #1068
B.P.O. Elks #2301
B.P.O. Elks #2119
B.P.O. Elks #1388
B.P.O. Elks # 885
B.P.O. Elks #1928
B.P.O. Elks #2129


Chairman Louis Possemato PSP Bound Brook #1388
Vice Chairman Joseph DeScenza Middlesex #2301
Secretary Joel Wolff Flemington #1928
Treasurer Norman McKinney Somerville #1068
Member John Koopman Somerville #1068
Member Bob Canavan Middlesex #2301
Member Barbara Romano Bound Brook #1388
Member Gregg Liptak Manville-Hillsborough #2119
Member Alfred Nowak Manville- Hillsborough #2119
Member Richard Phillips Plainfield #885
Member Pia Grant Plainfield #885
Member Millard Horner Princeton #2129
Member Tom Tosco Flemington #1928
Advisory Committee William Healey Middlesex #2301
Advisory Committee Charlie Whalen Manville-Hillsborough #2119
Advisory Committee Vernon Noble Plainfield #885



Somerset Handicapped Children's Treatment Center
Cheryl Bennett, Director
P.O. Box 6824
377 Union Avenue
Bridgewater, New Jersey 08807

PHONE: 908-725-2366
FAX: 908-725-3945





To offer an out-patient program of professional rehabilitation therapy and related services, administered under sound medical supervision and on a referral from a physician.