It was a recipe for success, a double helping.
The material trappings: a mansion in Monsey, with beautiful surroundings, including a magnificent fully-equipped shul on premises. The food was plentiful and delicious, beginning with to’ameha on Friday afternoon, a lavish buffet kiddush on Shabbos morning, and a tantalizing melave malka on Motzei Shabbos. Plus the regular Shabbos seudos, of course!
The volunteers were dedicated, determined to give the children a Shabbos to remember. They were guided by professional program directors, Mrs. Leah Brickman for the girls, and Rabbi Shlomo Roth for the boys. Both Shabbatons were designed to be inspiring and enjoyable programs catering to the level and capabilities of every child. No detail was left to chance, ensuring the safety of every child for the duration of the events.
And spiritually – there was davening in the beautiful shul, saying of divrei Torah, all adapted for Project Refuah’s participants. One mother said emotionally, “My son came home so thrilled…among all the other highlights, he told us he acted in a skit highlighting sipurei tzaddikim. We were astonished – when does he ever get to be in a skit? That’s for our other children, in cheder. He repeated the story he’d learned…my husband was overjoyed. He’s learning our derech, the things we want him to learn! Only at this Shabbos…thank you, Project Refuah.”
The boys’ Shabbos concluded with leibedig, Purim-themed dancing on Motzei Shabbos, with live music and costumes, as well as sumptuous melave malka. The joy was palpable, the camaraderie between the children and their counselors firmly established. No one wanted the overnight to be over – but it ended on a high note, with everyone eagerly anticipating future Project Refuah events.
With the goal of restoring a sense of normalcy to the special needs household, by increasing the quality of life for the entire family unit — Project Refuah’s year-round programming engages special-needs children in safe, professionally supervised environments with exciting out-of-house activities and events.
Indeed, the goal is being met met. As parents greeted their children as they came off the bus, they thanked the coordinators and volunteers profusely. More than one parent expressed his gratitude “not just for taking care of my child and giving her such a good time, but thank you for affording me the opportunity to devote time to my other children…Gitty’s siblings were thrilled with the break.”