Gateways to College
Gateways to College is a Jewish educational program for young adults with special needs that takes place at Hillel centers on college campuses. It provides a unique opportunity for young adults with special needs to engage in Jewish life in an inclusive setting with a community of peers. For the monthly Shabbat program, participants travel to Hillel centers where they are joined by a group of undergraduate volunteers who serve as peer buddies Together, this group of young adults engages in an hour of Jewish learning led by a special educator, followed by services and dinner with the greater Hillel community. Gateways is proud to partner with Tufts Hillel to offer this program for the 2011-2012 school year.
- Click here to read Sonni Bendetson's article about the formation of this program.
Throughout the year, volunteers take part in a training program that introduces key issues and challenges surrounding the inclusion of people with special needs in the Jewish community, and teaches strategies for supporting people with special needs.
You can read first-hand accounts from Tufts students who participate in the program on the Tufts Hillel Repairs the World blog.
Gateways to Judaism: Arielle Evans
"[My buddy and I] have gained an understanding of one another and work off each other’s emotions. Her laughter makes me laugh; her smile makes me happy; her success makes me proud. She has become so much more than a just a buddy; she is truly a friend."
Gateways Shabbat: Lauren Stanzler
"The training was a great experience that made me feel prepared and excited for my interactions with the participants... It was easy to connect with the participants, as they were thrilled to be at services and amongst such warm and supportive college students."
This program is supported in part by a Young Adult Community Grant from Combined Jewish Philanthropies.