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Springboard Blog

Springboard Blog

Redefining Home for the Jewish Disabilities Community by Ben Larson

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Save the Date: February 19th & 20th - Libenu’s Home Heart Soul Fundraiser!

The wait-list is long because the services are crucial.

The retention rate is near 100% because the care is authentic and personal.

The international acclaim and awards have been earned time and again, for good reason.

The impact radiates from each individual to the entire Klal Yisrael, and to society at large.

In just fourteen years since its inception, Libenu has permanently changed the lives of tens of thousands of people.

Libenu’s programs and services provide a lifetime of care and support for people with disabilities. The participants are empowered to engage in meaningful lives as active members of the Jewish community, heads held high - loved, cared for, respected. 

We are not creating a home by simply providing a building where people live. Home is the experience of security, love, support, and acceptance. Our holistic support effort, founded upon our commitment to the dignity, belonging, and empowerment of people with disabilities and their families, is what creates that experience for our participants.

As Libenu cares for individuals with disabilities, provides support for their families, and promotes advocacy, community education, and integration, we are creating a stable social infrastructure where disabilities are not a disadvantage.

From individuals to families to communities, Libenu is building a community that is Home for people with disabilities and their families. This Home is where trueahavat Yisrael can flourish, because every member of the collective Jewish family of Chicago is accepted and valued in our community.

Libenu Photo 1

Just as the heart sustains the body, Libenu’s programs pump vital energy
into the people we serve.

We launched Chicago’s first residential services designed for the Jewish community. Libenu continues to pioneer as a leader among kosher, shomer Shabbat facilities of its kind, with services available to the nearly 176,000 Jewish households in the Chicago metropolitan area. 

The demand for our services is tremendous. The data paints a staggering picture: the number of families in need of services for loved ones with disabilities exceeds 27,000. In serving this unique demographic, Libenu addresses the massive need for respite programs. 

The challenges that caregivers face can be extremely time-consuming, mentally exhausting, and emotionally draining. This leaves little remaining fuel for caregivers to tend to their families and to themselves.

Thus, a fundamental piece of Libenu’s heart is our respite program, Lev. Through the after-school program Lev Respite and overnight program Lev Lilah, Libenu offers the support that caregivers so desperately need. When parents can entrust their child to a safe, supportive, educational program, they experience a unique reprieve from the duties of caring for their child with disabilities. Whether this time is spent caring for themselves or their families, whether it’s their first calm Shabbat in years, caregivers and parents describe the break from their responsibilities as lifesaving.

Libenu’s Lev Respite and Lev Lilah programs provide vital mental health support for parents and caregivers. Every caregiver surveyed has reported that their mental and emotional health has improved in key areas as a result of Libenu’s respite programs. 

The data-driven conclusion is clear. Lev Respite participants are not the only ones who benefit; respite is a critical mental health intervention for caregivers as well. In lobbying on their behalf of these caregivers, Libenu has succeeded in earning grants that fund mental health initiatives - not just for people with disabilities, but for family caregivers as well.

Libenu photo 2

Our Heart is big enough to nourish caregivers and their families.

Libenu’s soul is unique, as are the spirits we nourish. Our commitment to the Jewish community means that inclusivity has no limit. Because of Libenu, families no longer must move out of town to access kosher, shomer Shabbat homes for their sons and daughters. No one is pressured to increase their religious practice, and no one is forced to leave their culture or their family’s tradition at the door. 

The spirit of Libenu is this: every Jew, and every person, has a home here. In so many ways, Libenu has become the home, heart, and soul of the Jewish disabilities community. 

We are lighting the way for others to follow: Jewish communities and secular communities alike all benefit from Libenu’s progress in grant access, legislative reform, and community education. As the Jewish community of Chicago advances, we build a kinder, more humane, more unified future for Am Yisrael and society at large. From individual to family to community, Libenu’s impact extends to everyone. 

Join Libenu to maximize the Home - Heart - Soul impact this February 19th and 20th!