On Sunday, Sept. 12, Jewish Big Brothers Big Sisters held its 25th annual Yom Sport: A Day of Sports for Adults with Disabilities at Solomon Schechter Day School in Newton. After so much time apart during this challenging past year-and-a-half, it was incredible to look out over the field and see it full of athletes and volunteers all enjoying a variety of sports together. From soccer to softball to bocce, each event was a reminder of how important community is, especially as we look toward a post-COVID world.
I have had the pleasure of volunteering at Yom Sport with JBBBS for several years and I can confidently say it is one of the most special days of the year! To see the joy brought to an athlete’s face when they score a point or win a medal is truly special. This year, JBBBS welcomed back its athletes after two Yom Sport postponements, as the event usually takes place in June. So many came up to volunteers and let them know how much they missed the event and how excited they were to be back. Throughout my time volunteering over the years, I’ve constantly heard athletes and volunteers alike describe what the event means to them.
But this wasn’t just any Yom Sport—it was the 25th anniversary! Twenty-five years! Twenty-five years of thousands of athletes and hundreds of young adult volunteers, recruited by Combined Jewish Philanthropies, coming together to connect in this way. Twenty-five years of team captains cheering on their teams, creating team posters and encouraging everyone to take part. And yes, 25 years of tuna salad sandwiches!
Sitting on the Yom Sport committee, headed by Yom Sport co-chairs Alissa Brill and Dan Greenblatt, I’ve been incredibly proud to serve and plan this event alongside an incredible group of people, some of whom have been on the committee from the very beginning! The leadership, guidance and commitment of my fellow committee members play an instrumental role in the success of the event.
Of course, none of it would be possible without the amazing efforts and leadership of the entire Jewish Big Brothers Big Sisters staff, particularly Jeremy and Lauren, who guided our committee through two-plus years of planning for this milestone year. It is amazing to note that they are the ones on a day-to-day basis who enable JBBBS to have the impact of “transforming lives of children, adults with disabilities and their families.”
I feel strongly that it is important to take time in our day-to-day lives to reflect on, consider and connect with those who have a different life experience or background than our own. That’s what makes the important work of JBBBS special. The connections that are formed and relationships that are forged, not just through Yom Sport, but through JBBBS programming during the entire year, make our community stronger through building friendship, understanding and connections. If you are interested in hearing more about this programming and getting further involved, you can visit jbbbs.org/volunteer.
Finally, it is crucial that I recognize the impact that the volunteers had at this year’s Yom Sport. The CJP volunteers who attended led their Yom Sport teams with enthusiasm, spirit and with the determination of making it the best event of the past two years. The Solomon Schechter teen volunteers who helped out and ran all of the sporting events demonstrated immense maturity, integrity and kindness throughout. It is safe to say that without them, we could not have made it happen. If you have not volunteered for Yom Sport in the past, I strongly encourage you to do so going forward. It is incredibly rewarding for all involved!
After 25 years, it is clear that Yom Sport is still going strong and here to stay. Here’s to 25 more years of this fantastic day!
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