Yachad | Jewish Disabilities Integration/The National Jewish Council for Disabilities (NJCD) will be running a Team Yachad for its third year in a row as an official charity in the ING Miami Marathon and Half-Marathon on Sunday, January 29, 2012. Registration is currently underway on the Team Yachad website, www.TeamYachad.com.
Yachad/NJCD is a non-profit organization dedicated to enhancing the life opportunities of individuals with disabilities, ensuring their participation in the full spectrum of Jewish life. Yachad/NJCD promotes Inclusion for these individuals through various integrated activities, such as regularly scheduled weekend getaways in different communities, called Shabbatons, national chapters, and summer programs.
Dr. Jeffrey Lichtman, National Director of Yachad/NJCD, reflected on his experience running with Team Yachad in 2011: “Individually, completing the marathon is an amazing personal achievement; collectively, it was a resounding show of support to reach a common goal for Yachad and what we stand for.”
In Hebrew, the word Yachad means together. Team Yachad participants “run hand-in- hand” emphasizing their message of Inclusion. To further bring the message home, Team Yachad includes runners of all different abilities. Last year, 77 team members united in Miami from across the United States and as far as Israel.
Each participant raises $3,000 for Yachad/NJCD. By committing to the mission, runners raise much-needed funds which allow Yachad to continue the substantial work it does to promote Inclusion for those living with disabilities within the broad Jewish community. In return, Yachad provides roundtrip airfare to Miami; hotel accommodations; a personalized training regimen; official Team Yachad race gear; guaranteed race admission; a pre-race pasta party and post-race BBQ; and an unforgettable Yachad Shabbaton at the beautiful Newport Beach Resort and Spa.
Most of the participants have never run a marathon or even a half-marathon before. To help with training and fundraising, Yachad provides all participants with networking and fundraising support. Many participants, such as Mimi Boim from Queens, found Yachad’s fundraising resources very helpful and were surprised by how easily they were able to raise the money. “I sent out an e-mail flyer and followed up with phone calls…before I knew it, I had raised more than $1,000,” said Mimi.
“The run is a truly memorable experience for all who participate,” shared Eliana Shields, a 2011 Team Yachad member from Baltimore. She summed up her experience wonderfully: “They say the color orange represents passion and excitement…it is also the color of the Team Yachad running shirts. Passion and excitement were exactly how I felt running the race for Team Yachad. I have never seen people willing to get out of their comfort zone to shout out to the world that Yachad is an incredible organization. I have never seen anything so special and amazing. I have never been more inspired in my life!”
For more information and to register as a Team Yachad participant visit www.TeamYachad.com or contact Sara Pollak, Coordinator of Special Events, at (212) 613-8301.
The words of this author reflect his/her own opinions and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Orthodox Union.