When I was accepted into the Developing Future Leaders Program, I was given a few compelling placement options to apply for. I was pleased to be matched with the position with Tamir which seemed to be both familiar and challenging, and fit well within my chosen field of study at Carleton University.

The responsibilities of the position with Tamir are similar to those of volunteer work I have done in the past. While in high school, I worked in the homes of special needs children for the Friendship Circle of Ottawa. As well, I volunteered with special needs teenagers and young adults in Camp Ramah in Canada’s Tikvah Program. In both of these settings, I thoroughly enjoyed the bonds I created with the program participants.

Doing this work gives me a sense of fulfillment. It feels amazing to know that I am making a difference not only in the city of Ottawa, but in the Ottawa Jewish community as well. My Jewish roots in Ottawa run deep, including education from preschool through grade nine, my synagogue membership, and my continued work with JET. Returning to Ottawa after my time in Israel brought me back to the friendships that I created here.

In my experience, people who have special needs are sometimes misunderstood. I have learned how some of the Tamir house residents may not have always had living arrangements that were ideal for them.  At Tamir, I’m proud to participate in the restoration of their life skills. It brings me joy to provide understanding and support to this population. An involvement with Tamir is a mutually beneficial relationship, wherein the clients can sense that they are being cared for and I feel like I am making a difference in their lives.

I am a Psychology major, and next year my concentration will be Developmental Psychology. The clients of Tamir are typically those with developmental delays or disabilities, and these are usually first noticed in childhood. Spending time with adults with developmental delays or disabilities could be very beneficial to my future career. Interacting with the clients of Tamir helps me learn how social skills training and coping mechanisms taught at a young age could benefit special needs adults. This would make adulthood easier for them, as they would better be able to negotiate relationships with their families and the community at large.

I feel I am providing a necessary service and I am certain to gain great experience during this time. It is my hope to use this newfound knowledge during the continuation of my education, and I hope to continue working with Tamir beyond the time of this internship.

Hannah Luden

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