Posted by Sandy Slavet

Did you know that if it’s 10:00 in the morning in Waltham, MA, then it is 5:00 in the evening in Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine? I didn’t know about that seven-hour difference until I began working with people from the JF&CS Special Needs Initiative Project, JCRC, and the Special Education Resources Center in Dnepropetrovsk on a special event where that knowledge would become vital to planning the evening: an international dance party for young adults with disabilities from Greater Boston and young adults with disabilities from “Dnep.”  

On October 19, while approximately 60 participants, family members, and volunteers had brunch at JF&CS Headquarters in Waltham, approximately 90 of our new friends in Dnep had dinner. After our very different meals, we danced to great music from the US and great music from Ukraine. Through the miracle of Skype, we were rockin’ and rollin’ as if we had known each other for years! Imagine doing “The Electric Slide” and “YMCA” without understanding a word of English and imagine dancing to “Odna Kalina” without knowing a word of Russian. As it turns out, it’s not a problem: young adults know how to dance and have a great time in any language! Our DJ here in Waltham, who has DJ’d for us on several occasions, prepared a great playlist and managed to keep everyone up and moving on the two dance floors some 4,700 miles apart. She is also a participant of Chaverim Chaim: Friends for Life and is a young woman who has Down syndrome.

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