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Posted on 07/07/2011 @ 08:00 PM

Impact: Boston

Charles River Center

The Charles River Center (CRC) is a nonprofit located in Needham, Massachusetts where children and adults can spend their days socializing, learning skills and reaching their full potential. It was founded in 1956 by parents of children with intellectual and developmental disabilities. These parents bravely worked to keep their children out of the state institutions so they could fully participate, benefit, and become a contributing member of the community.

As a group of Jewish teens with varying backgrounds and experiences, we had many different ideas and first impressions about our two weeks at CRC. Morgan, one of the Impact Participants, was “looking forward to creating bonds with people [she] would never expect to.” Similarly, Claire,, “[hoped] to make a lasting connecting with some of the individuals [she would] be working with.” Though we had many hopes for the program, some of us also admitted to some worries as well.

“I’m probably not going to be good at this but I really want to make a positive impact on these lives,” Emily shared. “I worry that it will be hard to connect with them and directly impact another person’s life,” shared another participant. However, once on site, the group excitement surpassed much of the skepticism and nervousness. We were warmly welcomed by a variety of staff members. We played with the children in the summer vacation program, toured the group homes on site, and met individuals from various day programs.

“I want to have an experience that will last for my entire life by learning from the people I will be working with and the people working at Charles River Center,” said Erin. We have spent the last week learning and making connections that will stay with us for life.

- Natalie, IMPACT: Boston Site Educator, Charles River Center

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