OHELâ€™s Retreat to Bushkill Inn Provides Inspiration, and Renewal to those with Psychiatric Disabilities
OHELâ€™s Annual Summer Trip Brings Hope and Happiness into the New Year
This past week, OHELâ€™s Adult Mental Health Services (AMHS) went on a 3 day retreat to Bushkill Inn, in the Poconos. Over 80 individuals participated in the trip, all of whom live in an OHEL residence or in OHELâ€™s supported housing and apartment programs.
While trip participants have significant psychiatric disabilities, through the help of OHELâ€™s dedicated and devoted team of staff and therapists, many are effectively managing their illness, leading fulfilled, happy and very independent lives integrated within the community.
This annual trip not only gives participants of OHELâ€™s AMHS an opportunity to feel special, but like any vacation, it provides them a temporary relief from the anxieties of life. It gives them an opportunity to go beyond their normal limits, and the freedom to push themselves out of their comfort zones.
Various life situations and settings that may seem passive for some people, can carry much anxiety and tension for others. The individuals had the opportunity to experience countless activities and situations that others may take for granted. Some individuals felt inspired to talk to new people, while others were encouraged to sit and mingle with large groups. Some members tried new foods, while others overcame fears - whether the fear of talking to others or swimming in water.
To overcome his fear of the dark, one of the members decided to join the group for an early evening hike. Another member who walks with a cane and who saw people talking about the hike decided she wanted to participate. She was not only able to join this hike but the next day finished an entire three mile rigorous hike through Bushkill Falls - cane in hand!Â
The exhilaration and self-confidence she gained on completion of this Red Trail in Bushkill Falls was celebrated by all!
Persons who interacted with the OHEL group had nothing but compliments. The catering manager conveyed that â€śI am honored to be your partner in caring for these wonderful individuals for these few daysâ€ť.Â David Mandel, CEO of OHEL, said â€śEvery client I spoke with was absolutely thrilled with the trip and wished they could stay even longer. Happiness does not come easy to our clients with psychiatric illness. But interacting with all, I saw our individuals completely relaxing - as if some of their anxiety and tension took a vacation day just as they didâ€ť.
Yossie and Goldie were among the many OHEL married couples who enjoyed this trip.Â As Yossie conveyed, â€śWe are loving every minute of this vacation in this magnificent hotel.Â The mountain air, the waterfalls, the food, the ping pong we played, the camaraderie of our friends â€“ it all makes for a wonderful vacation and we are grateful to OHEL.â€ť, said Yossie.
Sarah, an OHEL resident, conveyed that â€śI havenâ€™t been swimming in two years but I did water aerobics and swam two times on this vacation. Iâ€™m glad the summer ended with this trip!â€ť
OHEL would like to thank the donors, sponsors, and family members, without whom this trip would not have been possible. Mr. & Mrs. Bert Gross, Rose Pollack, and many others spent countless hours of their time and energy making sure that OHEL had everything they needed to go on this trip. OHELâ€™s devoted staff worked tirelessly to make sure that this trip was a success, and that every individual had an unforgettable few days away from the city. What a way to end the year and begin the New Year with so many individuals feeling refreshed, invigorated and accomplished.
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.