Announcing NAIM for Third Year: February 2012
NAIM is coming.
February 2012 is North American Inclusion Month (NAIM). Now in its third year, NAIM is an initiative of the Orthodox Union’s Yachad/the National Jewish Council for Disabilities (NJCD) designated to raise awareness and to develop sensitivity of what it means for those who live with disabilities, and how to Include them within the larger Jewish community.
NJCD has two main programmatic divisions: Yachad | Jewish Disabilities Integration, for children and adults with learning and developmental disabilities; and Our Way, for the deaf and hard of hearing.
Working with communities across North America, NJCD is planning a whole new series of events for February 2012. The official NAIM website, which will list events as they are added, can be found at www.naim4inclusion.org. In addition to listing all participating NAIM events, the website provides easy access for program ideas and resources provided by Yachad.
Dr. Jeffrey Lichtman, National Director of Yachad/NJCD, originated the idea for NAIM, and has overseen the program content. Dr. Lichtman stated, “NAIM has stretched the reach of Yachad/NJCD beyond the 55 chapters we have across the United States and Canada. Communities that previously had no contact with us have been sensitized to the need to actively welcome and Include individuals with disabilities in the community. In other communities, like Chicago and South Florida, where we have thriving active Yachad chapters, NAIM has allowed us to deepen the community understanding of disabilities, simultaneously broadening the chapters through outreach.”
This year, NAIM events are focusing on strengthening Yachad’s growing chapters across North America: Baltimore; Boston; Chicago; Cleveland and Columbus in OH; Dallas; Greater New York City area; Houston; Long Island, NY; Los Angeles; Omaha, NE; Silver Spring, MD; South Florida; East Brunswick, Teaneck, and West Orange in NJ; Toronto; and Washington D.C.
A “Save the Month” card announcing NAIM went out to almost a thousand synagogues and schools, as well as hundreds of Yachad-connected communities. E-mail blasts and a full-scale brochure went out to that audience as well, reminding them of the many wonderful events in which they could participate.
One of this year’s premiere programs offered to meet the interests and needs of Jewish day schools, includes “Sensitizing your Students to the Learning Challenges of their Peers” -- a well-received training workshop initiated last year for NAIM for both students and educators, including summer camp programs. The workshop was developed by The National Association of Jewish Schools Serving Special Children (NAJSSSC), a division of Yachad.
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