Salem Day Program Enriches the Lives of Individuals with IDD in Southern Jersey

It has been a little over one year since we announced the partnership between Allies, Inc., Legacy Treatment Services, and Salem Medical Center that has made it possible for New Jersey residents with and without intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDDs) to receive integrated healthcare that meets a variety of needs all in one location. Through this partnership, a new facility opened in June 2021 in Mannington, New Jersey. The facility houses Allies’ services to support day habilitation, along with behavioral and substance abuse treatment services offered by Legacy Treatment Services.

Allies and Legacy Treatment Services are part of Woods System of Care that provides innovative, comprehensive, and integrated health, education, housing, workforce, behavioral health, and case management services to 23,000 children and adults in the IDD, behavioral, child welfare, and brain trauma public health sectors who have complex and intensive medical and behavioral healthcare needs.  

Allies was proud to launch its arm of the initiative at the facility in November 2021 with the opening of the Salem Day Program. As one of seven day habilitation programs offered by Allies, it serves up to fifty participants. The program provides adults with IDD the opportunity to engage in a variety of person-centered community and site-based activities.

The program’s goals are to:

  • Increase participants’ independence in all activities of daily living through staff support; development of critical life skills; and meaningful social and instructional activities personalized to their preferences, skill level, and goals.
  • Promote and help maintain the physical, mental, and emotional health and well-being of program participants.
  • Engage participants in community activities to develop their peer and organizational relationships, encourage leisure interests, and promote community integration.

Salem Day Program’s design features a modern, relaxing, and explorative sensory environment matched to fit the abilities and support needs of all attendees. Antonio Caraballo, Director of Vocational Services, Southern Region at Allies, remarked, “Our day program participants really like the openness of our day program facility. It offers a lot of space and natural light. The building’s structure and layout greatly contribute to the positive behavior and attitude of our attendees.”

Beth Lopez, V.P. of Vocational Services at Allies, agreed. She said, “When you walk in there, you feel good. The energy is fantastic. The colors are pleasing and the facility is clean, neat, and bright.”

Program participants enjoy a variety of activities both inside the facility as well as through day trips and other community outings. Activities are geared towards developing problem-solving skills, adaptive skills, and learning social/communication strategies. Some activities that individuals partake in may include science lessons and experiments, scavenger hunts, arts and crafts, karaoke, indoor and outdoor games and sports, and field trips to local parks, farmers markets and outdoor festivals.

The facility features five large rooms, which serve as educational and activity rooms, and aid in the program’s small group instruction. Two of the rooms function as computer labs, with six computers in each room. The program offers training on how to utilize the computers, navigate the internet, as well as internet and social media safety.

Participants can utilize the computers to do math and science programs, study music, and do research related to the monthly Activity Calendar. For instance, if they are planning a trip to a zoo, individuals use the computers to research animals and learn more about them, so that their visit to the zoo is even more impactful and fun. Individuals also have the opportunity to use the computers to learn skills in the areas of job searching, resume development, understanding the job application process, and more.

Another much-loved room at Salem Day Program is the “Sensory Room.” Beth shared, “Sensory rooms are therapeutic spaces specifically designed to help a person with special needs improve their visual, auditory, and tactile processing, as well as fine and gross motor skills. The calming effect of sensory rooms also supports emotional wellness, learning, and interacting with others. Sensory Rooms often achieve this through the utilization of special lighting, wall designs, music, and objects.

Salem Day’s “Sensory Room” features comfortable seating and colorful cubes that glow when the room is dimmed. Individuals are soothed as they pick up and touch sensory equipment throughout the room. To further promote relaxation, the walls feature serene scenes including a stream running through a lush, green forest, and a lighthouse overlooking the blue ocean. Looking at the images transports individuals to a calmer place in their mind and body. “Our day program participants really love using this room to relax and recharge,” said Beth.

Our “Health and Wellness Room” at Salem Day promotes and protects the health of those we serve. At Allies, we believe that a foundation of good health is deeply connected to living a more enriched and purposeful life. It creates more opportunities to pursue meaningful employment, be more independent at home, partake in recreational activities, and socialize with friends, family, and the community.

The “Health and Wellness Room” room gives participants a place to exercise, connect with others, release tension, and improve their strength, flexibility, cardiovascular system, social skills, and mindset. It features a treadmill, stationary bike, elliptical machine, various resistance bands, stability balls, and yoga mats. In addition, the room offers foosball and board games to inspire socialization.

As Allies is dedicated to supporting the “whole” person, physically, mentally, and emotionally, Legacy Treatment Services provides outpatient behavioral health, substance abuse and addiction treatment services on site as well. Michael Haggerty, President and CEO at Allies remarked, “Allies’ behavioral team works in collaboration with the practitioners at Legacy to help each individual through their personal challenges. The individuals that we serve have greatly benefited from the availability of these support services.”

In alignment with Allies’ promotion of community inclusion, Salem Day Program participants are encouraged to become active members of their community and take part in local events as well.  Beth said, “The program coordinates a variety of cultural, outdoor, and recreational trips that bring enrichment and excitement to their lives. Trips include venues such as baseball and amusement parks, concerts, aquariums, the boardwalk, and local parks and trails. Individuals are also motivated to try different leisure activities such as painting, arts and crafts, or bowling; and exercise personal choice in the selection of new hobbies to pursue.”

“We also encourage participants to volunteer and help others,” said Antonio. “Giving back is important. Three times a week our participants volunteer for Meals on Wheels. We hope to get individuals involved in volunteering at a Pet Adoption Agency in the future too,” he said.

Currently twenty participants attend the Salem Day Program. Antonio said, “Individuals and staff really like coming here. They also like the structure of the program. Participants have the opportunity to utilize all of the rooms throughout the day and partake in variety of different activities based on their unique interests.”

When program participants were asked their feelings about Salem Day they smiled joyfully and were very happy to share their thoughts.

Chris Alicea said, “I enjoy coming to Salem Day because I like going on outings in the community and doing the Meals on Wheels volunteer service. My favorite room is the “Health and Wellness Room” because I like to work out on the equipment.”

Steven James replied, “I like to come to the program because of the staff and my friends at the program. I like the computer lab the most. That’s my favorite activity.”

Allies would like to thank all of the staff at the Salem Day Program who work so hard each day to support those who attend. We also deeply appreciate all of those who made donations in support of our “Health and Wellness Room.” We appreciate your generosity and thank you for standing beside us in our mission.

To learn more about these programs and services contact:
Allies Day Programs, please email Beth Lopez, V.P. of Vocational Services, at
Legacy Treatment Services, please call 800-433-7365 or visit

Stephen, Chris and Dontae enjoy connecting in the Sensory Room at Allies’ Salem Day Program.

Comfortable seating and serene scenes in the Sensory Room aid in relaxation and emotional well-being.

Day Program participants learn how to utilize computers, navigate the internet safely, and prepare for employment in Salem Day Program’s computer labs.

The Health and Wellness Room helps keep program participants happy and healthy.

Salem Day Program in Mannington, NJ.

Allies, Inc. is a nonprofit agency dedicated to providing housing, healthcare, meaningful employment and recreational activities to people with special needs in the communities of their choice. To learn more, visit

Contact: Nicole Zamerovsky, Director of Communications, Allies, Inc.
Cell: 609-508-6181