by Jacob Berger

Temple Judea

My name is Jacob Berger, and I have worked at Temple Judea as a Madrachim for the past 5 years. I have had the priviledge to work with the same amazing teacher, Morah Lynn Zaffrin, for my entire career. Throughout my 5 years I have worked with many kids with special needs. In my experience these have been some of the most fun-loving, and genuine people I have ever had the pleasure to know. These kids just tell it like it is. They put it all out there. Their feelings, their needs. I have recognized this and realized that they needed something a bit more that most of the other kids in class.

I have also had the opportunity to work with many types of kids at sleep away camp. I have been going to Surprise Lake Camp since I was 5 years old. This too, has been a place where I have encountered so many kids with learning differences and special needs. Both of these experiences came into play as I decided to learn more about working with children with special needs. When I heard about the TAP program I was extremely excited to learn more about children with disabilities and better help them be successful in the classroom.

I am proud to be a TAP teen because this program has given me the opportunity learn about children who need a little bit more attention in order to be successful. I am proud to be able to spend a few extra minutes listening to a child who might need a little more time to tell me about their day and what they need from me to finish the assignment we are working on in class. I want to make a difference in the lives of those children. I want them to learn to trust people and know that there are people out there who will help them. I am so excited to take the skills I have learned in the TAP program to camp this summer. I will be a counselor for 12 year old boys and I know the skills I have learned in this program will help me this summer. Some of the strategies I have learned in the TAP program are to be a better listener, to have patience and to be less judgemental. I hope I can teach these skills to my fellow staff and campers this summer, I think these skills are useful far beyond my work in the TAP program, and will help me throughout my life.

I am thankful that I have had this opportunity and to have learned such valuable skills. I have learned so much from the TAP program, and from my teachers at Temple Judea too.