Team IVDU California!

IVDU Boys Upper School just returned from their marathon weekend experience and they are flying high!

The Marilyn and Sheldon David Upper Schools are dedicated to helping students be successful in school and be prepared to be independent, contributing, and fulfilled adults in the Jewish community. The marathon experience is an extension of these goals, in which the boys develop new skills and experience living lessons that cannot be replicated in a classroom setting — teamwork, commitment, discipline, fundraising, goal setting, and training. Students discover new strengths as they set and work towards their individual dreams.

“IVDU is one of the Crown Jewels of Yachad. The dedication and devotion of our staff at the Marilyn and Sheldon David boys’ high school is a beacon not only for Yachad but for all those that support individuals with disabilities” said Avromie Adler, Director Yachad International.

This year, thirty-six students raised nearly 100k in funds for IVDU and flew out to California this past Thursday for an action-packed weekend! They went boating and spotted whales and dolphins, explored Sea World, swam with dolphins, launched mini rockets at the beach, and topped it all off with a beautiful Shabbos and a gorgeous 5k run along the ocean!

Marathon participation provides a sense of inclusion in a mission much bigger than anything one student can do individually. It promotes a sense of ambition, of accomplishment, of achievement, and it gives each student the opportunity to say, “Yes, I can,” instead of “No, I can’t.” Many of our students are resigned to being takers, often needing to ask for help, for support, for guidance from others. During marathon season, they are not takers – they are givers! The students know the funds they raise go back to the school to help pay for extra enrichment, and they value the opportunity to give back to their school and to support their fellow students.

The TSA staff at the San Diego airport told our team of fifty-one that we were the most helpful and respectful group they’ve hosted in years. The United Airlines staff made a point to tell us that they were impressed with how well our students managed themselves on a long and crowded flight.

And our students? Theirs feedback says it all! “Life changing,” “Once in a lifetime,” “Better than I could have ever dreamed.” Parents shared similar feedback: “My son can’t stop talking about the whole trip,” “He’s still beaming two days later,” “He came home on such a positive high,” “I haven’t seen him so happy in such a long time!”Even more telling than the verbal feedback is the positive impact that marathon weekend has had on our boys. Friendships were developed or cemented over our trip and have carried over back in New York. Students are spending more time with friends during break, are calling and texting one another outside of school, and are even making plans to spend time together during our upcoming winter break.

Teamwork, joy, and friendships… mission accomplished!