Stephanie Weprin, a native of Holliswood and graduate of Queens College, has been selected to serve as one of three Fellows in Yachad’s new Jewish Communal Leadership Fellowship (YJCLF) for the 2014-2015 programmatic year.
There were 38 applicants coming from all over North America. The other Fellows include Naomi Gofine from Toronto, graduate of Yeshiva University’s Stern College for Women; and Robert Grad from Livingston, New Jersey, graduate of Yeshiva College.
The program will enable the Fellows to learn, grow and contribute to Yachad and its role as a dynamic human rights organization promoting disability Inclusion. The fellowship will be supervised by Eli Hagler, Associate Director of Yachad, and Deborah Berman, LCSW, Director of Social Work at Yachad.
Yachad, the flagship program of the Orthodox Union’s National Jewish Council for Disabilities (NJCD), provides unique social, educational and recreational programs for individuals with learning, developmental and physical disabilities with the goal of their inclusion in the total life of the Jewish community.
The Fellows will function as full members of Yachad’s staff, working out of its national headquarters in Lower Manhattan and will be assigned a primary mentor — a staff member under whose tutelage and guidance they will directly carry out their diverse range of duties within the agency. Additional mentors will provide integrated training and experiential opportunities in other areas as needed. Together, the mentoring team will offer opportunities for the Fellows to acquire proficiency in disability culture and Jewish organizational leadership. Each Fellow, with supervisory support, will be responsible to begin or continue a special project, or to research a topic of interest.
Dr. Jeffrey Lichtman, International Director of Yachad, explained, “Yachad has been at the forefront of educating and facilitating today’s youth to become tomorrow’s leaders, ensuring that all individuals are included in the Jewish community. There is no question that Yachad has come a long way in educating the community about the abilities of our members, but there is still a long way to go. We hope that the Yachad Fellows will quickly become an integral part of the Yachad team going into the 2014-2015 programmatic year. We are hopeful that our three Fellows will go on to successful careers and will always remember their time at Yachad as an important step in their professional advancement and development.”
Stephanie Weprin, a psychology major who plans on becoming a physician’s assistant, declared, “Yachad has been an integral part of my life beginning with my high school experience at Yeshivah of Flatbush, and then working as a Yachad counselor for two consecutive summers at the camper programs in Nesher and Morasha as well as being an advisor at Yachad Shabbatons throughout the years. These experiences have been an integral part of who I have become and how I view the world.”
“I feel very honored to have been chosen to be a part of the first-ever Yachad fellowship. It is a great opportunity for me to work with an organization that I feel very passionate about. I plan to use my role as a fellow to help Yachad to continue the amazing work they do to help the special needs community. I believe that this position will serve as a stepping stone to my future in healthcare by allowing me to interact with so many people, especially a group that I feel so strongly about. Yachad is an organization like no other and I’m extremely excited to be a part of the team.”