Jewish Federation of St. Louis has awarded $50,000 in grants to 14 Jewish schools, agencies and congregations for inclusive programs. This is the third year that Federation has allocated mini grants to help Jewish organizations eliminate barriers so that people with disabilities and their families are better accommodated in the Jewish community. The 14 projects present a variety of inclusive programs around topics such as accessibility, student support and training/workshops. Requests totaling almost $65,000 were received.
2017 Inclusion Mini Grant Recipients and Projects:
• Bais Abraham Congregation:to provide visually impaired or blind congregants with large print, braille, and transliterated religious books; and to make available fidget bags, for families whose children are unable to participate in babysitting or children’s groups due to attention disorders and other disabilities.
• Congregation B’nai Amoona: to hire an Inclusion Specialist for summer camp who will meet with parents of campers with special needs and work with counselors before and during the summer session.
• Central Reform Congregation: to implement CRC Summer Gesher, which will provide a bridge during the summer to the Hebrew program for students with learning challenges who lose skills during the three months of summer, and improve their potential for success.
• Chabad of Greater St. Louis: to implement “Toward Inclusion,” an adult education course developed by the Jewish Learning Institute in partnership with the Ruderman Family Foundation that aims to break the barriers around individuals with special needs.
• Congregation Shaare Emeth: to hire an Inclusion Specialist for Camp Emeth who will provide staff training and support for campers with disabilities so that campers of all ages have the opportunity to learn new skills, develop healthy friendships, and enjoy camp activities.
• Covenant Place Foundation: to make adaptations in 11 apartments in the new Covenant Place II building that will accommodate a variety of disabilities including: vision, hearing and mobility impairments.
• Crown Center for Senior Living: to install an automatic door opener on an exit door leading to the backyard area where there are community and individual garden beds, patio seating and a shady gazebo.
• Epstein Hebrew Academy: to purchase iPads, laptops and software for use in the Brain Cave, where students with special needs receive individual and group support.
• Jewish Community Center: to add to funds that have already been raised to purchase a handicap accessible shuttle vehicle with a lift so that people with disabilities can participate fully in the community and J programs.
• Saul Mirowitz Jewish Community School: to purchase/update the school’s inventory of sensory-needs equipment designed specifically for calming, self-regulating and task focus.
• Shevet Keshet Friends of Israeli Scouts: to continue the shadow and training programs for Scouts with special needs and to bring a speaker from the Israeli “LOTEM” Program, which makes nature accessible to individuals with disabilities.
• Temple Emanuel: to add streaming capabilities that will bring Temple Emanuel into the homes of all who wish to worship or join in their programming, thereby creating a greater opportunity for inclusivity that does not currently exist.
• Temple Israel: to improve inclusivity of the religious school by providing professional development for teachers working with students with special needs; learning assistants for one on one support; a learning lab; and an on-site supervisor who will serve as a resource for teachers and parents.
• United Hebrew Congregation: to hire an in-house educational consultant to support preschool students with special needs, and monitor those who are demonstrating red flags. The consultant will pull small groups, model lessons for teachers, conduct teacher trainings and help create natural and supportive adaptations.