The Weinstein JCC has been at the forefront of creating an inclusive community for its members and the greater Jewish and Richmond community for decades.
Our mission is to build meaningful relationships and experiences through Jewish values and social responsibilities. We strive to create a culture that is welcoming and accepting of all people.
To put this into a Jewish context, inclusion is Kvod HaBriyot (the respect we owe each and every person as a creation of God), and at the Weinstein JCC, we acknowledge and respect people’s differences with a goal of fully including people of all abilities in our JCC experiences.
Since 2004, our mission of inclusion is lived by our commitment to offer a safe and structured day camp experience for children living with Autism. Voices Together allows campers with a range of needs to experience all the fun and activities of a traditional day camp with the flexibility to meet them where they are.
Because of the pandemic, this past year has been particularly hard on our children with autism and other special needs.
Health and safety precautions have kept them from the structure and consistency of their regular school schedule, along with the isolation of not being able to have in-person interaction with their peers, teachers and service providers. Voices Together was more important than ever to reengage these campers!
Research has shown that when children on the Autism spectrum have access to music, their willingness to participate in social activities increases. This research has been evident in past years, as our campers have been more willing to engage with others during and directly following structured music time led by a music therapist.
Intentionally investing in music at camp this year was a way for our campers to have those much-needed social interactions that were vital for them recouping the skills that had been lost during the pandemic.
It was through the Karin E. and Henry S. Fine Legacy Fund at Richmond Jewish Foundation that we were able to purchase our very own musical instruments. Having these instruments in-house allowed us a greater opportunity to provide music throughout the camp day, both in a planful and structured way and also as a therapeutic intervention.
We are forever grateful for the opportunity this grant provided us.
For more information, contact Missy Bunce, Youth, Family, Camping and Support Service director, at (804) 545-8658 or firstname.lastname@example.org.