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By Brandon Emalfarb (’15), speaking at the ICJA annual open house

As I acclimated into high school at the beginning of freshman year, I was thrilled to learn that Ida Crown Jewish Academy houses Keshet, an organization that provides educational, recreational, vocational and social programs for individuals with intellectual disabilities, and I knew immediately that I wanted to get involved and help. As I began to spot fliers along the walls of the Academy advertising the Keshet peer buddy program, I signed up to have lunch with a Keshet student, and I was pleasantly surprised to be so inspired and influenced. I was paired with a student my age, and on a weekly basis, we eat lunch together, play games and do word searches. Ida Crown Jewish Academy has changed my life by giving me the opportunity to interact with the students at Keshet, allowing me to thrive and flourish during my extra-curricular activities. Many of the Keshet students have had such an impact on my life, and I feel honored to consider myself friends with many of them. I am so thankful to Ida Crown for giving me the opportunity to become involved with the incredible Keshet community, and I know that I will continue volunteering with individuals with special needs throughout college and the rest of my life.

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