ON JUNE 18 more than 400 people attended the annual Hand in Hand dinner which honored 80 volunteers for their dedication to improving the lives of special needs youth and their families. The event, held at the Two River Theater in Red Bank, also honored Drs. David and Mindy Estin of Ocean Township.
“Hand in Hand has a two-fold mission to involve special needs children in a full range of Jewish and social experiences,” said Rabbi Yaakov Greenberg of Chabad of the Shore in Long Branch, who oversees the program. “Every year our phenomenal Hand in Hand volunteers exceed our expectations in their role as friend and mentor to our special needs youth community. They are simply the most important part of the program. The impact they have on the children’s lives is endless and limitless.”
Susan, the mother of a special needs child, credits Hand in Hand for her son’s transition from a non-verbal, introverted 5-year-old to an expressive, socially outgoing 10-year-old boy. “David was non-verbal for a very long time until he was in Hand in Hand,” she said. “His volunteer, Hannah Stamer, has become a part of our extended family.”
From Hannah’s perspective, “Being introduced to the world of special needs kids was one of the best things that’s ever happened to me,” she said. “It has resulted in me wanting to do good in my life in general and in the future.”
To volunteer or for more information, please visit hhnj.org or call 732-229-2424.