My daughter Adina hasn’t missed a Shutaf camp session yet – she’s been to all 13 of them since our first summer camp in August 2007. She was my reason for creating Shutaf with Beth Steinberg and embarking on this incredible journey together with our staff and all the children who have enjoyed many hours of quality inclusive programming at Shutaf.

Adina’s group, the Chokrim (Explorers) are an inclusive group of young teens who leave camp to go about town, learning independent living skills like riding a bus, paying for a snack, volunteering at a soup kitchen, self defense skills as well as learning about the wider community. Finding out what potential jobs are there? What does a hotel look like behind the scenes?

I love seeing Shutaf lessons brought home. Adina, 15 ½ , has always been hesitant to hold money in her hand, let alone feel confident enough to conduct a purchase on her own. At Shutaf she’s been learning how to make a simple purchase by herself with staff support. What an incredible opportunity.

Yesterday, we were having lunch at a local pizza parlor, enjoying the last day of summer vacation together. After lunch, Adina wanted ice cream for dessert.  I gave her the money and told her to go inside and buy it. Instead of her usual “you do it”, she agreed! Wow! In our world, that’s a tremendous breakthrough, close to a miracle… and it is thanks to Shutaf.

By Miriam Avraham, Shutaf Co-Founder