MEANING “CONNECTION” IN HEBREW, EDUCATION PROVIDER KESHER SEEKS TO CONNECT STUDENTS WITH LEARNING DISABILITIES TO THE EDUCATIONAL TOOLS THEY REQUIRE FOR A BRIGHT FUTURE.
The organization that began as a way to support children struggling in class almost twenty years ago has become a multi-faceted school with the singular focus of helping a wide range of children with learning disabilities and developmental delays. Kesher opened its first class in 1995 with four students. Today Kesher has over seventy-five students enrolled in its core program hosted on the campus of the Scheck Hillel Community School. That number is increased by more than 100 additional students due to the special education staff Kesher provides to local area Jewish day-schools.
Educating children is all about giving them the tools to succeed in life. Since learning styles and needs differ, not all children learn the same way. Frequently children require extra support to succeed in school. When children have learning disabilities and/or developmental delays, it can be challenging to find the right school to help them reach their full potential. For families seeking an appropriate education system with tailor-made academic skills in a day school setting, Kesher is the answer. Due to the wide range of academic skills that Kesher teachers support, families who previously had limited options of where to send their children now have the ability to choose an appropriate educational environment within a Jewish day-school setting.
Kesher provides a stellar secular and Judaic education for children with diverse abilities from first grade through high school. Kesher’s students learn alongside their peers in a regular day-school setting. This integration gives Kesher’s students the highest degree of success both academically and socially.
Since its inception, enrollment has grown mostly by word of mouth. In order to constantly increase the number of children it can support, one of Kesher’s main goals is to increase awareness of the need, and the services provided, within the greater Jewish community in South Florida. This is done in an effort to inform and educate more parents about the program and to solicit donations from others wishing to support a worthy charitable cause.
The South Florida Jewish community and Kesher’s large support system of lay leaders and volunteers are some of the school’s most vocal ambassadors. Each year Kesher honors young volunteers who patiently give their time and talents to provide academic and social support to students in Kesher. This past year’s volunteer-of-the-year award recipient was Isaac Benoliel (pictured above). Isaac joined previous volunteer award recipients, such as Nicole Scheck, Sarah Fiske, David Woldenberg, Josh Traub, Tzippy Seligman & Carli Scheck to name a few, who have all graciously given their free time to work with Kesher students.
Kesher serves a critical need in the community and changes lives. Providing this type of specialized education is expensive. A large percentage of enrolled students are on financial scholarship. Fundraising to support scholarships is an ongoing challenge. Kesher strives to reach budgeted fundraising goals through key annual events, private solicitations and grant applications to foundations. Kesher mantains the privacy of its children and families. Therefore, much of the conversation about Kesher is kept to a whisper when it really needs to be a shout since it enables children to achieve so many wonderful, and previously unattainable, academic and life accomplishments.