Our Program

The Saturday Class

Integrating physical activity into the day helps people learn, focus and grow. Since exercise benefits both the mind and the body, this program provides a fun exercise session during every class.

The two-hour class starts out with exercise, from our own Move With US exercise dvd routine, or our new yoga program .  A fun step-by-step art project follows which ensures success. The art process is therapeutic and fosters confidence.  Afterwards a snack is enjoyed by all,  followed by games with the Peer Mentors. 

We incorporate job training into all components of our programming. Creating art, marketing, packaging our products, and register training are just a few skills worked on each week.   Art Gallery Events, showing off our art inspired products,  are well attended in the community with our artists greeting guests and working in the Art Gallery Store.

We are very proud to have one of our participants hired by the Howell PAL as a paid employee during the week! 

Please Note:

Participants must demonstrate the ability to accept and follow reasonable rules and to behave respectfully towards others. They must also have sufficient emotional and independent stability to participate in all aspects of the program. In consideration for all of the participants and the integrity of the class, we reserve the right to terminate a participant’s enrollment if their behaviors impede the success of the program.

Helping Hands Art  and Howell PAL Programs reserve the right to use all original art work and reproductions  created by the participants in this program. 

By signing up for this program you accept the above guidelines for Helping Hands Art.

Sign Up

The Fee for this class is $25 per session, which includes snack and supplies.  Please bring a drink. 

Click Below  to sign up!

Meet the Staff


This unique program has been created by NJ certified special education teachers and an art therapist.  New highly qualified staff have joined the program and bring with them new and fresh ideas. 

Jill Behan, Program Director

Jill Behan, the program director of Helping Hands, began working with individuals with special needs when she was a gym buddy in middle school and high school. As a peer mentor at Howell High School, she was involved daily with the students in both gym and social skills classes. She began working with Helping Hands since the program's inception in 2012; first as a volunteer and later as an employee. She graduated from Georgian Court University with a degree in History and four teaching certifications (including Teacher of Students with Disabilities). She is graduating in May 2019 with a master's degree in Applied Behavior Analysis from Georgian Court University. Jill has a passion for working with individuals with special needs, and looks forward to coming to teaching art class each week! 

Sue Spreen, Yoga Instructor

Sue Spreen has a life-long passion for nutrition and fitness and has experience as both a certified personal trainer and group fitness instructor.   Her compassion coupled with her extensive experience working with individuals with  autism has made her the perfect addition to the Helping Hands Art and Exercise program.   An extensive traveller to many different countries, Sue also worked with autistic students while living in Arizona and then locally in NJ for residential agencies with individual and group therapies and has extensive experience in behavioral support and respite care.   Receiving her degrees in Elementary Education and English at The College of New Jersey and Hunter College of NY, Sue’s special education training includes crisis management, verbal intervention and medication training. Sue currently works at a local high school with autistic students. At Helping Hands Art & Exercise Sue has been developing her vision for  a brand new yoga program where she hopes to instill not only confidence, but a sense of peace and balance in our unique needs individuals. 

Alisha Zuppardo

Alisha, a Howell resident, has grown up supporting people with disabilities, foremost her younger brother Mikey. But Alisha didn’t stop with her family experiences, she also volunteerd at Howell High School to work with teens with autism. Her lifelong experience with special needs people lead her to pursue a career helping people with disabilities. Graduating from Montclair State University with a BA in Family and Child Services, She is also a Job Coach. Alisha interned at Autism Speaks, and  is  currently  a Support Coordinator and Job Coach at Shift NJ. , helping recent high school graduates prepare for college, employment and independent living. Alisha is passionate about supporting individuals with disabilities. 

Special Events

Art Gallery shows and sales are planned generally around holidays. 

Check out unique handcrafted products, greeting cards, and reproductions of original art.  Our sales are run by our artists with the assistance of our peer mentors. These sale events have been well received by our community, family, and friends of our artists.