TEENS SHARE THEIR PERSONAL EXPERIENCES IN ATID
JEWISH COMMUNITY HIGH SCHOOL OF GRATZ COLLEGE’S
INTERGENERATIONAL INCLUSION PROGRAM
ATID (Advocacy, Transitions, Involvement and Development), is an intergenerational inclusion program for all teens. In addition to celebrating the Jewish holidays as a community, the teens together with the elderly residents of Sunrise of Dresher work on Judaic craft and cooking projects, participate in games and engage in discussions on various thought-provoking topics.
“When I think back on my experiences at ATID, I feel proud that I was able to be part of something so great.” MN
Why choose ATID?
“I’ve always dreamed of being close with an older person because I feel as if they have so much knowledge and wisdom. Through the ATID program, this dream could become a reality.” MN
“I chose to do ATID for numerous reasons, the strongest of which was a wish to give back. I wished and I still do to make someone’s life just a little bit brighter by going out of my way to help them. My choice to do ATID was a continuation of this wish…” HK
Is ATID different from other volunteer programs?
“The ATID program has been a really different experience for me. Before beginning this class, I had never really spent a lot of time with elderly people or kids my own age with special needs. I have had so many great experiences spending time with both of these groups of extraordinary people.” MP
“ATID is very different from the other volunteer programs that I have also been involved with. When I first started ATID last year, I did not expect it to be so relaxed and free flowing…ATID not only has a volunteer aspect incorporated into the program, but it also explores and dips into the different holidays of Judaism in many different aspects.” MN
“ATID is original in the way that we help. We do not feed people who cannot afford food or educate people on all the things that people do to hurt each other. Rather we listen and we talk and we work together to learn and possibly make life better for one another. ATID is not a program where you simply give, we all learn from each other as well.” HK
How did experiences at ATID make you feel?
“Every week they (the Sunrise senior citizens) would open up to me more and we would have so much to talk about, forming an even stronger connection. I loved talking with them, telling them about myself and my family while listening to their fantastic stories and the things they remembered from their childhood. …I also enjoyed looking around the table as we did projects and seeing the smiling faces of both the residents and the Gratz students. It would warm my heart and that memory to me is what this experience was all about.” SF
“It is a great feeling knowing that I am contributing to something that these senior citizens cherish so much and so often look forward to. .. and it shows by how bright their faces become when they walk in the door to our class….. It is a wonderful feeling to know that you are giving someone something that they have been internally longing for. Walking into Sunrise always feels very welcoming and warm. .. . I know everyone there cares for me and enjoys my presence and that is what keeps me coming back year after year. … There is nothing, so far in the course of my life, that has been able to make me feel this way….It has never once not felt like home to me and I strongly feel that through doing volunteer work such as this, I find a beautiful place in life for myself.” MN
What have you learned from participation in ATID?
“ATID has been very valuable to me, I’ve learned the realities of old age, good, and bad, and I only hope that if I reach that age that there will be someone to listen to me the way I now listen to others.” HK
“Judaism teaches us that respecting elderly is an important obligation of all of the community. These people are not to be pushed out and hidden but embraced, loved, and respected.” MP
“All in all I thought that this program taught me a lot about myself, about how to interact with different people and how to handle all different situations. I learned a lot, and I took away a lot of great memories and lessons. SF
In what way is ATID an Inclusion Program?
“By helping the special needs kids who come to ATID work with the elderly not only do I help the elderly but it enables me to help the other kids help the elderly, empowering them and helping them to make a difference in the lives of others even as I try to make a difference in their lives. A society is judged on how it treats its elders and those of its citizens who are least able to take care of themselves. By looking at the ATID program I hope that our Jewish society would be judged well.” MP
What will you remember?
“Thursday night classes with ATID are something I will never forget. I have been able to learn new information, form bonds, and create a family within ATID. It is my sincere hope that all of you out there who have the opportunity become involved with ATID…. And, as I like to say, being able to volunteer, especially at Sunrise Assisted Living in Dresher, I have truly found a place for myself in the world.” MN
“In Hebrew, “atid” means future. But, in truth, what is the future if we don’t learn from the past. Every person has a story to share, and the elderly especially have many experiences that the younger generation can learn from. I am glad that I decided to participate in this program, and I hope that it continues to grow and more … students become involved.” SR
Contact: Andrea Oxman, Director, Special Needs Programs
The Jewish Community High School of Gratz College
email@example.com 215.635.7300 x 222