I Did It, You Can Too!
Team Junee Brooklyn, NY
Team Junee joined Team Yachad for the first time in the 2013 Marathon in Miami, Florida. When June and David, owners of Junees, told all of us about running 13.1 miles for a worthy cause, we were excited and anxious. Now we had to figure out how we were going to train for this race, considering we were having donuts and coffee at the office every morning. With much perseverance and encouragement 12 of us made the commitment to run. Knowing that we were giving back to such a helpful and amazing organization made it so much easier! Yachad is dedicated to helping and including Jewish individuals with disabilities into the community. The staff is understanding and accepting of every person. Our Zumba-thon fundraisers taught by Jaclyn Sarig, owner of Junee Jr, were a hit. When people heard what and who we were running for they did not blink an eye to help! The cause became part of us for months. We were all so motivated. We counted down the days! I don’t think any of us ever experienced such an amazing, uplifting and inspirational Shabbat. Spending the weekend with the rest of Team Yachad was extraordinary. We were truly able to see what Yachad was all about. Waking up at 3:30 to run was the biggest rush we ever felt! Seeing so many people run for what they believed in and how much they cared was outstanding. It felt so accomplishing that, as a team, we were all able to cross the finish line. We definitely have never experienced anything like this in our lives! Now by just having a little taste of what it means to give back to the community, we can’t wait to continue giving. We feel like we were the ones that gained from this whole experience.
Tirza Bayewitz Teaneck, NJ
There is no feeling in the world like crossing the finish line. I worked hard to squeeze in training between my full time job, my three kids, and other community responsibilities because Yachad is so important to me and to my family (my sister Tamar has been a Yachad member for years). Crossing the finish line for me meant proving to myself that I was able to do something extraordinary for a cause that I care about so deeply
Stan Goldstein Woodmere, NY
There is no real finish line, and no end, for those living with disabilities. However, being in a YACHAD environment, TEAM YACHAD, YAD B’YAD, YACHAD SHABBATONS, YACHAD SUPPORT, helps those with disabilities feel elated, good and secure about themselves and their accomplishments, as I did, when I crossed the finish line. There is no better feeling. GO TEAM YACHAD!!!
Aliza Gindi Los Angeles, California
Crossing the finish line was one of the most incredible feelings. As I ran, I did not get tired. I was too excited to be there. As the race began and the fireworks shot up into the air I felt a rush of excitement.I had this feeling that I was about to begin an experience that I have been preparing for, for months in advance (maybe more mentally than physically). As I ran I was not paying attention to the mile signs rather counting the number of Team Yachad shirts in front of me. No matter what point of the race I was at I was surrounded by people who have the same passion for this incredible organization as I do, which made me feel so good. As I approached the finish line, I could feel the soreness kicking in. I did not even think about the pain, but only how proud I felt that I was able to finish this race for the best cause out there. People talk about being a part of something bigger than themselves to change the world, and being part of Team Yachad, truly made me feel like I was part of something bigger that is definitely making a change in this world.
Chani Rubin Passaic, NJ
Crossing the finish line felt absolutely incredible especially because this was my second time. I felt motivated to hear everyone cheering me on. I didn’t think I would be able to make it because I was in so much pain from walking and running all those miles. But I just kept on saying I think I can just the like the little engine that could and when I got to that finish line it the feeling of being able to accomplish those 13.1 miles felt absolutely incredible. I can’t wait to participate and join Team Yachad 2014!
Shlomi Youssoupov Brooklyn, NY
Throughout life I have gone through many challenges. It’s often hard to keep moving forward when things are hard. This marathon taught me that in order to reach your goal, you sometimes need to push yourself to get there one step at a time. The marathon was an awesome experience. I didn’t train before, but I gathered all my strength to reach the finish line as fast as I could I made it in 2:38:27 when the marathon was over all my friends were cheering for me! That was the best feeling ever!
Jackie Schlanger Teaneck, NJ
I joined Team Yachad as a way of acknowledging my gratitude and to give back to an extraordinary organization that we have benefited from. My daughter, Tamar, has been a Yachad member for over 15 years. For once, instead of getting, I was in a position to give-to give thanks to Yachad, to give recognition to the organization and its extraordinary staff and volunteers, and to raise awareness of the vital work and services it provides to the community. Little did I anticipate that once again I would be receiving more than I gave. Spending the pre-race weekend with the rest of Team Yachad, supporters and some of the Yachad staff and board members, I was treated to an exhilarating and uplifting experience. The infectious enthusiasm and commitment that I saw in my fellow team members showed that ‘Kulanu B’Yachad’ is more than a slogan. The encouragement everyone gave to their fellow runners and Yachad members who attended- many of whom were runners too-showed that the message is more than just a slogan, but it is a way of life. On Race Day, at milepost 11 Yachad members and supporters manned a water station. Just the sight of them gave a lift and reminded me why we were running: not just for the accomplishment of a job well done but to show everyone that Yachad members can participate in life’s daily activities in all of it’s forms. Runners, spectators and other volunteers could also see and experience firsthand the message of inclusion that Yachad has been spreading for all of these years. The race was a microcosm of what our Yachad members go through every day as they face life’s challenges and meet them with the support and encouragement of others.