At Shutaf, we provide quality, inclusive services to all children, teens and young people with disabilities, regardless of labels and perceived functioning differences, while inspiring and educating others towards the acceptance and inclusion of all members of the community.
TWO MOMS AND A SHUTAF STORY
‘We wanted something that wasn’t just babysitting,’ says Beth Steinberg, mother to Akiva. ‘Our kids can’t just join activities at the local community center, what are they supposed to do after school and during vacations?’
‘We started with 10 participants in August 2007 and by the following summer, we’d quadrupled in size,’ reports Miriam Avraham, mother to Vinnie.
‘We were on our way,’ remarks Beth, ‘What had started off as a small program for our own children and their friends, had developed into something much bigger and much more important.’
Shutaf now offers year-round activities to more than 175 children, teens and young adults.
THE NEED FOR INFORMAL EDUCATION PROGRAMS FOR CHILDREN WITH DISABILITIES
Informal education opportunities for children with disabilities are limited in Israel. Inclusive opportunities are even more limited, both within the school system as well as at informal education programs. Shutaf is built on an American Jewish camping platform — our post-army aged staff members are trained and mentored, and values-based activities are planned with an educational mindset – unusual for an informal education program.
People with Disabilities in Israel
In Israel, close to 200,000 of children, about 8% of the population, have some kind of disability. Countrywide, an estimated 1,000,000 Israelis of working age, also have disabilities. Young people and adults with disabilities are underemployed, and suffer terribly from problems related to loneliness, especially as they age. While laws are in place to ensure access – both to education at all levels, as well as access to public spaces and employment – compliance is elusive. (Statistics from JDC’s Brookdale Institute)