As a Yachad intern this summer, one of my main projects during these couple months was to make a video that embodies what the organization is about. While reflecting on my experience participating in Yachad, both at weekly club meetings at my high school and at fun events with all of New England Yachad, I decided that my favorite aspect of Yachad is the inclusive environment it fosters. At club meetings at my school, Yachad brings together students from all grades, each with a different level of devotion to Yachad. We often use club meetings to show informative videos and to host sensitivity training in order to help students who are newer to Yachad learn more about the organization.
As inclusive and important as the club meetings are, they don’t even begin to compare with the environment at Yachad events. There is truly a sense of belonging at Yachad, a place where everyone fully appreciates you for your uniqueness. It’s almost a euphoric feeling being in an environment where people of all different ages feel comfortable enough to be themselves and to let loose. It’s not often that you see adults dancing ridiculously in front of kids and teenagers without reservations. The Yachad staff makes sure to mix up members and peer volunteers during the various games and activities so that people have the opportunity to make new friends, friends of all different ages and abilities.
As a result, I decided to make the theme of my video inclusion versus exclusion. I interviewed people from all walks of Yachad, whether they be members, peer volunteers, parents, or administrators, and had them tell their stories about experiences with exclusion outside of the Yachad community and inclusion within the Yachad community. I feel like these stories about inclusiveness at Yachad events really encapsulate what Yachad is all about and that the stories about exclusiveness show why Yachad is so important and special.