By Gabrielle Kaplan-Mayer, Director, Whole Community Inclusion

As part of the Reta Emerson Fellowship/Teen Assistant Program (TAP), teen participants work every week in their synagogue schools, supporting children with learning disabilities or other special needs. But this month, TAP teens are also spending time in the community— volunteering in a number of settings that support people with special needs.

A number of TAP teens supported last week’s Yachad inclusive Hanukkah party and this coming Sunday, more teens will help out at Jewish Family and Children’s Service‘s IN-JOY Hanukkah party for adults with developmental disabilities. Still more teens will help out on Christmas day when our own Whole Community Inclusion initiative offers a sensory-friendly room for children who need a quieter space during jkidphilly’s Mitzvah Morning.

“Your TAP teens are amazing!” said Yachad’s Director Sheri Rosenberg. “They jumped right in and helped me set up and then had a great time interacting with the other teens as well as the Yachad members. Everyone had a blast painting driedels and playing games.”

The goal of asking TAP teens to participate in community activities is to show them the range of programs for people with special needs and the supports that are needed all over our Jewish community.

To read about the impact of Reta Emerson Fellowship in the words of these inspiring teens, visit our TAP blog.