More than 50 youngsters – including youth leaders and children with special needs - were recently treated to an entertaining, engaging and educational afternoon at the Lipa Green Centre organized by Itanu Toronto - UJA Federation’s inclusion initiative which has teamed up with a Bnei Akiva youth group.
Facilitator for the afternoon, Jonathan Adam Ross, staged a mock seder as an experiential learning activity, followed by engaging the youth in an in-depth discussion about what they had learned.
“The maturity and insightfulness these young people displayed was quite astounding”, said Fay Rotman, director, Itanu Toronto.
“It was truly inspiring to be present at the inclusive seder,” said Robin Gofine, vice president, Strategic Community, Planning and Engagement, UJA Federation of Greater Toronto. “Our aspiration is to work overtime with all of the youth movements in Toronto to train the future leaders of tomorrow and build their capacity to effectively include people with special needs in all aspects of Jewish communal life”.
"I was amazed to see how natural this inclusive environment felt. Everyone seemed at ease and extremely motivated to learn how to make Shevet Yuval (a special needs inclusion program launched by Bnei Akiva) work”, said Bnei Akiva Shaliach, James Williams. “We are grateful to UJA Federation and Itanu for helping us to create such an amazing program."
The group was also joined by Bloorview Kids Rehab, who is interested in working with Itanu Toronto to raise awareness about the strengths and challenges faced by youth with physical disabilities.
For more information about UJA’s Itanu Toronto initiative, click here.