Popular Articles

Pandemic can’t stop 30 years record of providing inclusive social and recreational programs for the Jewish special needs community

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on email
Share on print

Click an icon above to share, email, or save this article

In response to COVID-19, Yachad Toronto switched from running in-person programs to offering online Zoom programs every week

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on email
Share on print

Click an icon above to share, email, or save this article

(Supplied by Yachad Toronto) Yachad means together, and that meaning runs deep. It is about the sense of togetherness, of oneness, of unity in diversity, that pulls people in and keeps them in. 

Yachad Toronto has been providing inclusive social and recreational programs for the Toronto Jewish Special needs community for over 30 years. Our members reflect the wide spectrum of Toronto’s diverse Jewish community. Their physical, intellectual, and social abilities may vary, but no matter their challenges, they are valued, respected, and embraced as part of our Jewish family. Yachad programs always include typically developing peers. We have volunteers from local universities and high schools and in the last academic year (pre- Covid) Yachad members participated in an afterschool club at CHAT.

The Coronavirus has overwhelmed and isolated thousands of people. Families struggling to care for their loved ones with special needs face unprecedented challenges. On a normal day, individuals with disabilities have access to special education instructors, behaviouralists, social workers, and a wide array of therapists. Today, few of these care specialists and social programs are available on-the-ground.

To meet these challenges, Yachad International launched Yachad on Demand (YOD), a robust virtual program for individuals with disabilities and their families. Yachad Toronto programs went online offering a wide array of activities ranging from magic shows, cooking classes, learning experiences, game shows, parent support groups and lectures, and virtual backyard buddy programs.  One switch was from running in-person programs to offering approximately 10 online Zoom programs a week, almost 300 programs to date, all at no cost to members. This summer, in addition to running 10 online Zoom programs Yachad Toronto ran approximately 120 in-person programs in 6 weeks.

Data collected has shown that hundreds of connections are being made daily across North America. Yachad on Demand hosts roughly 4,000+ users, proof that this virtual portal works! Members log on to Zoom every day to join the Toronto chapter for amazing programs, such as Zumba, cooking, art, music and our famous schmooze sessions. We have typically developing peers join our programs, and there are occasions where parents of our members will also join our programming. Yachad is helping an isolated community stay connected through social and recreational programs with participants aged 20 to nearly 60.

At the end of the summer Yachad hosted an ice cream truck party so members could see each other face to face while being socially distant. It was a great reunion as people had not seen each other in person in many months. Members are missing their friends, so summer weather also allowed for an outdoor movie, small group outdoor programs and regular backyard buddies. Yachad continues small group outdoor programs to help our community feel less isolated.

What separates Yachad from the others is that we do programming in the evening.

Get thej.ca a Pro Israel Voice by Email. Never miss a top story that effects you, your family & your community

Before COVID we ran Shabbatonim a few times a year at different synagogues throughout the GTA. Shabbatonim were a highlight of the year for Yachad members. Yachad members stayed with amazing families and had day long programming on Shabbat and got to meet new members of the Jewish community.

Members print off calendars for other Yachad online programs and they can access about 25 programs a week. Many run during the day because of the time difference. Parents of Yachad members are so appreciative of the zoom programs and share how this has enhanced their childs’ quality of life. They have something to do during the day and if they want, they can log on all day long and join other communities in North America.

Yachad encourages the community to participate. You do not have to be a member to join.

Zumba with Gila is one of the 25 successful streaming programs a week offered by Yachad Toronto

On October 14, Yachad Toronto hosted a community fundraiser with Loren Brovarnik from TLC’s 90-Day Fiancé and Pillow Talk. Loren met her husband on Birthright and brought him to the USA on a 90-day fiancé visa. They married, and just had their first child. Loren has Tourette Syndrome, and was forced to reveal her disorder on the show because of comments made on social media. She has since become an ambassador for Tourette Syndrome and for people with disabilities.

Loren helped educate those who joined the program about Yachad while raising awareness for people with disabilities and disorders. She did answer questions for her fans about the show. It was an inspiring evening.  There was a young man that joined the program who also has Tourette Syndrome, and this was a great way for him to see someone living with it and being so positive about incorporating it into their daily lives.

Upcoming programs include a virtual Shabbaton scheduled for December 4 and 5 and a zoom information session for families about financial planning for children with special needs and their families.

For more information about Yachad, or to volunteer, please contact us at [email protected]

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on email
Share on print

Click an icon above to share, email, or save this article

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on email
Share on print

Click an icon above to share, email, or save this article

Read More

Thank you for choosing TheJ.Ca as your source for Canadian Jewish News.

We do news differently!

Our positioning as a Zionist News Media platform sets us apart from the rest. While other Canadian Jewish media are advocating increasingly biased progressive political and social agendas, TheJ.Ca is providing more and more readers with a welcome alternative and an ideological home.

We revealed the incursion of anti-Israel progressive elements such as IfNotNow into our communities. We have exposed the distorted hateful agenda of the “progressive” left political radicals who brought Linda Sarsour to our cities, and we were first to report on many disturbing incidents of Nazi-based hate towards Jews across Canada.

But we can’t do it alone. We need your HELP!

Our ability to thrive and grow in 2020 and beyond depends on the generosity of committed readers and supporters like you.

Monthly support is a great way to help us sustain our operations. We greatly appreciate any contributions you can make to support Jewish Journalism.

We thank you for your ongoing support.

Happy reading!

Thank you for choosing TheJ.Ca as your source for Canadian Jewish News.

We do news differently!

Our positioning as a Zionist News Media platform sets us apart from the rest. While other Canadian Jewish media are advocating increasingly biased progressive political and social agendas, TheJ.Ca is providing more and more readers with a welcome alternative and an ideological home.

We revealed the incursion of anti-Israel progressive elements such as IfNotNow into our communities. We have exposed the distorted hateful agenda of the “progressive” left political radicals who brought Linda Sarsour to our cities, and we were first to report on many disturbing incidents of Nazi-based hate towards Jews across Canada.

But we can’t do it alone. We need your HELP!

Our ability to thrive and grow in 2020 and beyond depends on the generosity of committed readers and supporters like you.

Monthly support is a great way to help us sustain our operations. We greatly appreciate any contributions you can make to support Jewish Journalism.

We thank you for your ongoing support.

Happy reading!

cOMING SOON…….

Breaking News

Recent

Features

News

Current Events

Opinions

Politics

Religion

Culture

Memoriam and Obituaries

PodcastS

Terms and Conditions

Privacy Policy

About Us

Advertise with us

contact 

Subscribe Now

Receive the latest in community & international Jewish news direct to your inbox

© 2020 THEJ.CA, All Rights Reserved

Terms and Conditions

Privacy Policy

About Us

Advertise with us

contact 

Subscribe Now

Receive the latest in community & international Jewish news direct to your inbox

© 2020 THEJ.CA, All Rights Reserved

Subscribe Now

Receive the latest in community & international Jewish news direct to your inbox

Terms and Conditions

Privacy Policy

About Us

Advertise with us

contact 

© 2020 THEJ.CA, All Rights Reserved

Previous
Next