Family Fun Day Raises Awareness of The Clubhouse’s Work with Children with Special Needs
On Sunday, May 23rd, The Clubhouse, a local Jewish organization that provides respite and other services to families with children with special needs, hosted a Family Fun Day at the Brandeis Bardin Institute campus. Packed with activities for all ages, the event drew over 1,200 people from across the spectrum of the Los Angeles Jewish community. Once the venue reached full capacity, the event committee had to close admission, to their regret.
The families who attended represented a wide range of Jewish schools and synagogues throughout the Greater Los Angeles. The attendees enjoyed several concerts with the famous Uncle Moishy, face painting, art projects, a petting zoo and a puppy party, horse rides, moon bounces, archery, rock climbing, a grill and a falafel truck, and concession stands. The event concluded with a concert by Simcha Leiner.
“It was a beautiful whole family event with something for everyone,” says Estee Cohen, who attended Family Fun Day with her children. “I actually never heard of The Clubhouse until the event, so it definitely brought awareness of their program and frankly, that they exist. Looks like a wonderful program.”
Raising awareness of The Clubhouse’s vital work was the goal of the event. While some of the attendees were current beneficiaries and supporters of The Clubhouse, many had learned about The Clubhouse for the first time at the event. In fact, several families with children with special needs signed up for The Clubhouse’s services right at the event, while others inquired about volunteering at The Clubhouse.
“The Family Fun Day brought the community together in a relaxing, enjoyable way,” says Rachel Haberman, a volunteer at The Clubhouse. Chaya Ullmann, one of The Clubhouse’s founders, adds, “The event exceeded our expectations. There were so many people there who were learning about The Clubhouse for the first time. It brought a tremendous awareness and a cool factor to our kids. Instead of making them marginalized, it really brought them into the center in a very positive way.”
Tali Merewitz, event planner for the Family Fun Day, agrees. “We had unbelievable success in showing so many people what The Clubhouse is all about.” Herself a mother of a child with special needs, she says, “The Clubhouse totally changed our lives. There are many wonderful organizations in Los Angeles, but before The Clubhouse, no one provided us with respite. I couldn’t possibly imagine that I could drop my son off where he’d be happy, safe, well taken care of, and enjoying every minute of it.”
Some of the children who currently benefit from The Clubhouse’s programming played an active role at the event. Shmuly Greenfield, together with the volunteer Eli Dror, came on stage and sang together with Simcha Leiner. Before the concert, Rabbi Dovi Block, The Clubhouse’s older boys’ program coordinator, spoke about the kiddush Hashem that takes place at the Clubhouse and the attention and care extended to each child and family.
The Clubhouse team was touched by the large turnout and the support extended by the local Jewish community. “The community is saying to us, ‘We’ve got your back. We’re here to support you. Our community needs such a place,’” says Rabbi Block.