Rave Reviews from Attendees of OHELâ€™s First Sibatone
OHEL Hosts a Successful Shabbaton for Girls with Siblings Who Have a Developmental Disability
Over the past few years, OHEL Childrenâ€™s Home and Family Services have developed their incredible Sibshops program, for children with siblings who have a developmental disability. OHEL does not only help the individuals with special needs, but focuses on the unique needs of their siblings as well.
Ever since the inception of OHELâ€™s Sibshops program, the response has been overwhelmingly positive from everybody involved, including the members, parents, and families. The children who have been attending the program enjoy it so much, that they have consistently asked for more programing, in the form of a sibling shabbaton, or a â€śSibatoneâ€ť.
On Shabbos Parshas Bâ€™Shalach, that dream became a reality as 18 girls aged 12-15, five facilitators, and two families came together for the first-ever Sibshops Sibatone in Flatbush.Â Girls from all across Brooklyn and Far Rockaway joined together to celebrate their unique bond, that of living with siblings who have developmental disabilities.
Attention to detail was evident from the moment the girls arrived, as they received guest bags containing nosh, drinks, and a collection of inspirational stories, poems and quotes relating to families of those with special needs.Â A current of positive energy permeated the entire weekend and conveyed a sense of pride in these girls, in the distinctive role that they were given in regards to their siblings.
Mrs. Chaya Sara Gertzulin uplifted the gathering with her message of praise to siblings who make their special siblingâ€™s neshamos feel welcome and care for them as Miriam cared for baby Moshe as his basket floated in the Nile.
An adult sibling panel offered inspirational words of to their younger counterparts, and generated discussions about what to do when people stare at their special siblings, what to do when they have concerns about siblingsâ€™ futures, and they gave advice to young siblings still living with the daily challenges that having a special sibling presents.
The Sibatone was enhanced with singing, games, beautiful dĂ©cor, delicious food catered by Meal Mart, oneg Shabbos generously donated by Pomegranate and the most exceptional group of teens one could ever hope to meet. Special thanks to Rabbi and Rebbetzin Halberstam, who graciously hosted the meals in their shul.
The cherry on top was the Motzei Shabbos trip to Rebounderz, an indoor trampoline arena, where everyone had a blast! Rave reviews came from parents in the form of thank-you calls on Sundayâ€¦â€śWow. That package was so beautiful!â€ť â€śThe schedule you planned sounded so specialâ€¦ She really enjoyed it!â€ť, â€śSheâ€™s learning so muchâ€ť â€śWeâ€™re already looking forward to Sibatone 2015!â€ť
OHELâ€™s Sibshop events are not just for teens.Â OHEL Bais Ezra runs monthly separate boys and girls groups for ages 6-11 as well, in Brooklyn and Far Rockaway.Â For more information, contact Chayale Greenwald at 718-686-3491 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Since 1969, OHEL Childrenâ€™s Home and Family Services has served as a dependable haven of individual and family support, helping people of all ages surmount everyday challenges, heal from trauma, and manage with strength and dignity during times of crises. Driven by service excellence, OHELâ€™s professional staff meet the myriad social service needs of the general community, while at the same time providing culturally-sensitive services to the Jewish community, including Yiddish, Hebrew and Russian speakers. Through highly-rated foster care, developmental disability, mental health, and other programs and services, OHEL provides supportive housing, treatment, care coordination, education, outreach and much more to elevate lives and strengthen individuals and communities in New York City, Long Island, New Jersey, Florida, California and worldwide on the web. David Mandel is the CEO of OHEL.