By Jewish Community Center of Metro Detroit
The JCC is honored to be the recipient of a grant to support our Opening the Doors (OTD) Mental Health Student Empowerment project. The grant, from the Teen Board of The Jewish Fund, will support OTD’s work providing special educators, early childhood para educators, classroom assistants and consultants in Jewish schools — as well as a teen leadership program and community conferences — with educational resources. This grant will work with schools and mental health organizations to provide educational and consultant services to empower youth with special needs, experiencing social-motional concerns and/or bullying, provide psycho-educational evaluations and education classes for teachers.
JCC’s OTD program, nationally recognized for its innovation by Slingshot Foundation as “a one-of-a-kind” program, has grown 400% in providing service since 1995. OTD annually enables 1,200 children and adolescents with a wide range of learning, social and behavioral differences and abilities to be included and engaged with their peers in meaningful Jewish education classrooms. OTD works in partnership with 24 Jewish early childhood, day school and congregational religious schools, as well as mental health organizations.
Ellen Maiseloff, senior director, Center for Special Education, which operates Opening the Doors at JCC, said, “One of my inspiring students said, ‘No matter what our personal challenges are, we all need to learn, starting as early as possible.’ Opening the Doors is honored and grateful to The Jewish Fund Teen Board for the generous grant to support the OTD Mental Health: Student Empowerment project.
“With the prevalence of more diverse learners experiencing anxiety, depression and/or bullying, which impacts learning, this project will provide high-quality individualized support, training and resources for overcoming challenges, increasing self-esteem and school success. The Jewish Fund Teen Board’s support of youth with special needs who have social and emotional concerns impacting school success is truly making a valuable difference.”
Sam Arnold, member of the Teen Board of The Jewish Fund, said, “As a student of the Harold Wade Madrichim Leadership Institute and a member of The Jewish Fund Teen Board, It is an honor to be able to award the Mental Health Student Empowerment grant to Opening the Doors. Maimonides teaches that ‘Every Member of the people of Israel is obligated to study Torah — whether one is rich or poor, physically able or with physical disability.’ Opening the Doors follows that vision and with this grant, it will only help build a stronger, vibrant and more inclusive Jewish Community for all.”
About the JCC’s Center for Special Needs
The JCC’s Center for Special Education is an umbrella of special needs services engaging 1,200 children, teens and adults of all abilities through: inclusive Jewish classroom experiences, professional development, teen leadership, disability awareness conferences, movie, book and family social events, inclusive camp experiences, vocational training and adult social groups.
To learn more, visit jccdet.org/specialneeds
About The Jewish Fund
The Jewish Fund was established in 1997 from the sale proceeds of Sinai Hospital to the Detroit Medical Center. Sinai Hospital was a Jewish community-funded facility that grew into one of metropolitan Detroit’s top health care institutions. As a legacy of Sinai Hospital, The Jewish Fund continues the tradition of assuring excellent and compassionate care for those in need in Metropolitan Detroit by awarding grants to help vulnerable individuals improve their health and human condition.
To learn more, visit thejewishfund.org