What is Hand in Hand?
Hand in Hand extends a helping hand to special needs children and their families. Its twofold purpose is to involve the children in a full range of Jewish and social experiences while providing an exciting growth opportunity for its teenage volunteers. By training them to become effective friends and mentors to these children, Hand in Hand imparts a sense of purpose and fulfillment in the members of its special team of volunteers.
The experience is rewarding for all involved. The special needs children get to have what every child needs: friends, role models and love. The volunteers enjoy the priceless experience of contributing to someone’s life in a fun and playful way.
At the heart of all Hand in Hand’s programming is the belief that each and every individual can be a productive member of the community. Whether one is on the giving or receiving end of this effort, everyone benefits. By giving special needs children the experience of friendship, acceptance, and participation in socially bonding activities, the volunteers give them the opportunity to be part of their community in a more enlivening and inclusive way.
Hand in Hand’s mission is to bring friendship and joy to children with special needs, peace of mind to their parents, and the values of volunteerism and compassion among our youth. To all involved, it strives to instill a sense of community responsibility for its members with special needs.
Why is our program unique?
While many organizations address the issues of children with special needs, most are focused on goal-oriented therapeutic care. Hand in Hand’s unique formula brings another dimension of care by offering unconditional friendship. When the bond is formed between the children and the youthful spirit of well-guided teenagers, its effectiveness has proven to be remarkable.
These volunteers have been able to reach the children in ways that professionals, or even family members, have not been able to achieve. Furthermore, the program has had a profound effect on the teenage volunteers, creating an environment that motivates, nurtures and inspires them with meaning, purpose and self-value.
Hand in Hand is a project of Chabad of the Shore