Yachad operates social and recreational programs in 10 regions serving 20 communities, geared towards developing relationships and skills building. Classes, Torah chaburahs, art and music clubs and many joint programs with local high school and older volunteers are rounded out by inclusive Shabbatonim. This past year, Yachad supported more than 1,000 participants across our regions and powerfully impacted thousands of family members, volunteers and community members.
This past year, over 500 staff members supported 541 participants across 26 unique summer programs and 14 partnerships with other camps.
Yachad Summer places Yachad participants within host camps’ bunks, runs programs that integrate a Yachad bunk within the host camp, and organizes vocational programs where older Yachad participants work as specialty staff, with support, for the host camp.
Additionally, Yachad Summer offers single-gender and co-ed camping options as well as the one of a kind Yachad Bachutz, a summer program for teenage boys on a working farm. The crown jewel of Yachad Summer is Yad B’Yad, where 3 buses and over 100 high school students and Yachad participants spend 5 weeks touring and experiencing Israel as they create incredible memories together.
IVDU, the formal education arm of Yachad, is the largest stand-alone Jewish special education school system and educates 125 students annually. IVDU currently operates 4 schools in New York: 3 in Brooklyn and 1 in Long Island.
In the past year, IVDU celebrated the graduation of 20 students, many of whom have pursued higher education opportunities such as yeshiva and college programs, while others have embarked on fulfi lling employment journeys. With a dedicated team of over 115 professionals, including teachers, assistant teachers, therapists and administrators, IVDU maintains an impressive staff-to-student ratio, ensuring that each student receives the tailored attention necessary to enhance their educational experience.
The Marilyn and Sheldon David High Schools in Brooklyn also provide extracurricular activities for IVDU students such as Shabbatonim. In a remarkable achievement, the boys’ high school students ran in the marathon in San Antonio, Texas, this past year.
REACH is Yachad’s premier data-informed resource and referral service launched two years ago, which continues to impact more people. REACH has a database of all programs and services supporting the Jewish disability population and gives referrals to families from across the globe in need.
Referrals are determined based on specifi c information from each family in need, which gets entered into the proprietary database, which then delivers the referrals. With a track record of over 1,500 calls answered and nearly 2,000 referrals provided, REACH continues to be a beacon of support for those seeking assistance within the Jewish disability community.
“REACH HAS BEEN THERE FOR OUR FAMILY IN A TIME OF NEED WHEN NOBODY ELSE WAS ABLE TO ASSIST. WE ARE SO GRATEFUL TO REACH, FOR THEIR TIME, EFFORT, CARE, UNDERSTANDING, SUPPORT, WARMTH AND DEDICATION."
The Jewish Union Foundation (JUF) is the employment arm of Yachad and provides employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities. JUF currently operates programs in Brooklyn, Long Island, and Bergen County, New Jersey, with plans to expand to more locations.
Our programs engage over 100 participants who actively volunteer in their communities, honing valuable skills that prepare them for meaningful employment. Our dedicated job coaches work closely with each participant in their new job placements, ensuring they are well-prepared to meet the demands of their roles.
JUF has cultivated partnerships with national giants like CVS and Home Depot, as well as local businesses that share our core values.
On February 27, Yachad and OU Synagogue Initiatives hosted Disability Inclusion in Shuls: A Community Conversation, at the Young Israel of Woodmere, New York. The event featured practical tips to make shuls more inclusive for individuals with disabilities and their families.
The program provided a unique perspective along with tools to better understand and help connect to individuals with disabilities.