by Lora Slutsky, Nivonim 2005
To a great extent, I credit camp with helping me find my professional path. Through my experience as a Machon/Tikvah chaver (buddy) and Tikvah staff member, and by participating in similar programs in high school and college, I knew I wanted to pursue a career supporting individuals with disabilities.
When I began working in the Atzmayim program I discovered my passion for teaching transition-age youth the vocational and independent living skills needed to be successful in adulthood. This experience at camp guided me toward employment opportunities that helped solidify my interest in this field and encouraged me to pursue a master’s degree in rehabilitation and mental health counseling.
Since July 2015, I have served as the Vocational Coordinator for Have Dreams, an autism resource agency serving Chicago-area children and young adults with an autism spectrum disorder. As Vocational Coordinator, I work with young adult participants in our workforce development programs, supporting them in preparing for, obtaining, and maintaining employment in the community. I use many skills in my current role that I learned at camp.
I feel incredibly grateful for the training, mentorship, and professional development I received as a result of my work with the Tikvah and Atzmayim programs.
Continuing its ongoing support of Ramah’s vocational programs, The Ruderman Family Foundation has granted $150,000 over three years for vocational education at Ramah California, Canada, New England and Wisconsin, and to encourage vocational education inclusion programs at other Ramah camps.