“No.” It’s the word parents of children with disabilities always hear. “No, this school isn’t for your child.” “No, this camp isn’t for your child.” “No, your child doesn’t fit in here.” “No” means a child’s summer wasted, alone in the house. “No” means the agony of watching your already lonely child grow lonelier.
“No” is why 2 mothers, Beth and Miriam, founded Shutaf 10 years ago. They were lonely too, and tired of the word “no.” They wondered why there couldn’t there be a program that said ‘yes’ to their children, Akiva and Vinnie, and to children of all abilities?
When Miriam and Beth asked, “Would YOU help us build a different kind of program in Jerusalem?” You said “Yes!”
You turned “no” into “yes!” at Shutaf. For 10 years, you’ve believed that children’s needs are what matter, not their diagnoses. For 10 years, you’ve made inclusion your mission along with ours. Because you said “yes,” those original 10 Shutaf campers, grew into today’s 300 children, teens, young adults, and their families. They depend on Shutaf and you, to provide year-round programs that respond to their changing needs.
Today, we need you to say “yes!” to children with disabilities. Your “yes!” means that this August, Shutaf will be able to offer 3 full weeks of day camp for 135 campers, with and without disabilities. Regardless of financial need. At Shutaf, no child is ever turned away because of need.
Today, need you to say “yes!” Without Shutaf, have nowhere else to go. Without Shutaf, children with disabilities and their families will lose their sense of hope and opportunity. Their inclusion and acceptance.
What happens when we turn a “no” into a “yes.”
Today, your “yes!” is matched and doubled - through July 24th - thanks to the best “yes!” makers around - Shutaf friends, including, The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington’s Endowment Fund, The Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation and The Silberman Family Fund. They believe, like you, that all children of all abilities should hear the word “yes!”
Like Akiva. Your gift today means “yes!” to Akiva, whose combined diagnoses of Down syndrome and autism, create complex needs that mean ‘no to inclusion’ almost everywhere, except at Shutaf where he’s found acceptance and social success at his own pace.
And Morane. Your gift today means “yes!” to Morane, who’s chronic seizure disorder and related developmental delay have made life complex but not at Shutaf, where we adapted to respond to her changing needs.
Like Ibrahim. Your gift today means “yes!” to Ibrahim, who’s hard-to-handle behavioral issues made school and home life difficult and stressful. At camp, we worked hard to create a personal “Shutaf” plan with boundaries that offered success for him and for our counselor staff.
And David. Your gift today means “yes!” to David, who spent his first few months at Shutaf in hiding, until he saw that we would listen to and support him while he adjusted to a new environment.
Shutaf said “yes!” to Ibrahim, Morane, David and Akiva because you said “yes!”. You understand that many Shutaf families struggle emotionally and financially, especially when children’s vacations don’t meet up with working parent’s schedules and their finances. The result? Time off without pay caring for children, creating a crisis of need that is simply not necessary.
Shutaf said “yes!” because you understand that camp is when children grow in leaps and bounds. At Shutaf, we encourage campers with disabilities to learn, to enjoy, to dream and to just be. Safely. Securely. With respect and welcome.
So, say “yes!” today. Say “yes!” to Akiva, Morane, Ibrahim, and David and all Shutaf campers.
Say “yes!” to the best and most inclusive August at Camp Shutaf in Jerusalem.
Shutaf's campaign is being spearheaded by a member of the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation network and has been awarded a matching grant. Schusterman is a global organization that seeks to ignite the passion and unleash the power in young people to create positive change for themselves, the Jewish community and the broader world. Learn more about the Foundation here.