Impact: Boston at Brandeis University
Training future leaders on activism, creating social change and building community through exciting cultural activities.
We’re so excited to be able to share all of the wonderful news, tidbits and fun that go on here every summer with even more people. Check back frequently to see the most recent updates!
Site Blog: Hebrew Senior Life
Posted on 07/01/2013 @ 07:40 PM
During one of our days at Hebrew senior life, we visited memory support, which caters to the needs of patients with Alzheimer's/dementia. We created paper flowers with the residents and experienced working with a wide range of memory loss.
Our group has also met many incredible residents whom have shared their life stories with us.
We have explored the topics of aging, death, loss, and legacy. The elders have taught us that loss can be a very difficult experience, but it's reality and we have to look on the bright side, which is that the person has lived a long and plentiful life. Life should be celebrated, not mourned.
In conclusion, we've learned that retirement homes aren't necessarily depressing places to be. They are places where we can live out the rest of our lives and appreciate every moment.
Site Blog: WCI
Posted on 06/28/2013 @ 04:31 PM
Work, community, and independence. WCI was named well. During our 7 days on site at Impact: Boston, we’ve learned what the true definition of community means. Through all of our experiences with the individuals and the staff on location, we’ve gotten the chance to know what working with those who have disabilities is like. However, our group leader, Ben, was also a big part of our experience. Currently in rabbinical school, Ben was a supporter of not only WCI, but also us. All 9 of our group members were able to connect with each other and the individuals on site. We each have our own stories with different people; but we all created memories.
She shook my hand and said that she’d remember me forever, that’s when it hit me that I did make an impact. The memories I made at WCI will forever remain in my heart. –Julia Zwillenberg
When I walked in, on our second Monday I went upstairs hoping that everyone I had connected with in the previous week would still remember me. It was just my luck that people did, one person who stood out to me was J. J was often temperamental and could even be physically hurtful, I never saw that side of him. When I walked in the room he got excited and screamed “Maya, Maya, Maya come sit next to me” J and I talked for over an hour about everything ranging from his excitement over yogurt & spaghetti to his family. He and I got along, and I will never forget how he constantly told me he would miss me, he has impacted me soooo much, and I hope that I helped him in my time at WCI and that he will remember me, that’s my impact.
The individuals are no different than us, they just have a different way of thinking. –Fanya Mozeshtam
There are so many people I have met and stories I could tell about my past week at WCI. But what sticks out the most to me was Friday, playing Wi bowling with C. She was having trouble controlling the remote by herself so I would hold her hand and guide it as she swung the ball. After each time, we high fived and she smiled like it was the best day of her life. Towards the end, when it was somebody else’s turn, she came over and sat next to me on the couch, gave me a pat on the back, and held my hand for the rest of the game. I knew I had made a friend.
WCI is a special place where everyday we affect the individuals and they affect us. We hope to bring these experiences home as our time here comes to an end.
Site Blog: Youth Force
Posted on 06/26/2013 @ 05:00 PM
BBYO parents and friends,
Our site is Dorchester Bay Youth Force, a non-profit organization focused on providing teen jobs and promoting teen wellness in Boston.
Everyday we take a bus to an office in Dorchester Boston, and meet with local teens working for the organization. After learning about community organizing and different projects that they have done to earn back a bigger budget for increase team jobs in Massachusetts.
Yesterday (Tuesday) we went door knocking (yes it is a verb now) to encourage locals to vote in a special senate elections. The people who we interacted surprised me with their friendliness and pride for their neighborhood.
Manny, a teen in Boston came with my group and helped us promote voting. He, to wear extremely patterned-filled socks! He does not qualify for a public bus to high school so he needs to pay for public transportation or walk 1.9 miles. He and other teens are lobbying to increase the budget for teen transportation.
It's awesome to be able to interact with him and other Impact teens from all over the country.
Until next time,
Youth Force Teens
Site Blog: Day 1 at Charles River Center
Posted on 06/26/2013 @ 05:00 PM
On Monday our group had it's first day on site. We first met with some of the staff to learn about the history of how individuals with intellectual disabilities have been treated throughout history.
Over the past 50 years the treatment of people with disabilities has been dramatically altered. Originally there were only two options for families of children with disabilities: keeping them at home or state schools (institutions). Although these were funded by the state, they were often over crowded, under staffed and the residents lived in horrific conditions.
Seeing these issues a group of families with children with disabilities decided to start an alternative option. This alternative eventually developed into the Charles River Center.
The CRC is a home to people with intellectual disabilities and provides them with the opportunity to learn a variety of skills and get jobs. Some of these jobs even help the individuals work on their fine motor skills.
Interacting with the residents and the staff was an eye opener to a part of society we had not gotten to know before. One poem that really moved us was entitled, You and I, by Elaine Popovitch. This poem was read to us by a staff member when we first arrived:
YOU AND I, by Elaine Popovich
I am a resident. You reside.
I am admitted. You move in.
I am aggressive. You are assertive.
I have behavior problems. You are rude.
I am noncompliant. You don't like being told what to do. When I ask you out for dinner, it is an outing. When you ask someone out, it is a date.
I made mistakes during my check-writing program. Someday I might get a bank account. You forgot to record some withdrawals from your account. The bank called to remind you.
I wanted to talk with the nice-looking person behind us at the grocery store. I was told that it is inappropriate to talk to strangers. You met your spouse in the produce department. Neither of you could find the bean sprouts.
I celebrated my birthday yesterday with five other residents and two staff members. I hope my family sends a card. Your family threw you a surprise party. Your brother couldn't make it from out of state. It sounded wonderful!
My case manager sends a report every month to my guardian. It says everything I did wrong and some things I did right. You are still mad at your sister for calling your Mom after you got that speeding ticket.
I am learning household skills. You hate housework. I am learning leisure skills. Your shirt says you are a "Couch Potato."
After I do my budget program tonight, I might get to go to McDonald's if I have enough money. You were glad that the new French restaurant took your charge card.
My case manager, psychologist, R. N., occupational and physical therapist, nutritionist and house staff set goals for me for the next year. You haven't decided what you want out of life.
Someday I will be discharged . . . maybe. You will move onward and upward.
To learn more about the Charles River Center vist their website: http://www.charlesrivercenter.org/
This post was written by Amy Margolin and Lauren Keats.
Hot in Boston
Posted on 06/26/2013 @ 03:00 PM
The theme of Impact Boston thus far has been HOT! Yes the weather has been delivering us 90 degree plus days but that has not stifled the teens’ energy as they finished their third day at their service sites.
After a feeling out period on Monday the groups have been diving in head first as they connect with the people at the sites and eagerly learn about the causes that they are working for. Whether it was building concrete benches with neighborhood kids in the public housing projects of Waltham, walking door to door to advocate for voting in the Dorchester neighborhood with Youth Force or working and advocating for many other causes throughout the greater Boston area, our teens never once relented to the heat.
Another enriching part of the program has been the teens taking the time to study and learn Jewish texts and how they connect to service and advocacy and then turning around and teaching these texts to their peers in group learning that we call Connections. This has been an eye opening experience for our teens on many levels.
We have made sure to keep the teens comfortable by providing fans for their dorm rooms, buying special ice cream and ice pop treats and always making sure that they are hydrated. The spirits have remained high and tonight the heat seems to have finally broken.
Watching the teens faces, listening to them talk with such passion, feeling their energy…that is what is truly the hottest part of Impact Boston, not the weather. Your teens are truly making an Impact while learning more about not only their causes but also about themselves. We have begun to touch the souls of the teens here in Boston, and we are privileged to watch the transformation!
Please continue to follow us on this blog, as well as on facebook and twitter (see hashtag #impactboston2013) and feel free to share all of these wonderful developing stories with friends and family and beyond!
Have a great night!
Jeff, Shimshon, Casey and the Rest of the Impact Boston Family