Makor Disability Services is committed to the philosophy that everyone—regardless of their level of ability—deserves to be met with understanding, support, and respect. Its myriad services include residential homes, day hab programs, and supportive programming for those with intellectual and developmental disabilities. At the core of it all lies one mission: to care for each resident like a family member.

An integral part of that mission is ensuring that every resident is given the opportunities to maximize their potential. For so many, college has been a place for students to expand their horizons, discover possibilities, and tap into their reservoirs of innate abilities. Yet for too long, the experience has been denied to those with intellectual disabilities. All that changed when Dr. Stephen Glicksman, director of clinical innovation at Makor Disability Services, approached Yeshiva University with an idea he’d been dreaming of for years. “Let’s create a college experience for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities,” he said. So, they did.

The Makor College Experience is a three-year, non-degree program for young men, located on Yeshiva University’s campus. It’s the first and only program of its kind: a college experience created exclusively for those with developmental and intellectual disabilities, nestled within the Jewish community. Its curriculum is composed of self-contained classes, community exploration, and coaching sessions designed to help its students further their careers and gain practical life skills. Students are encouraged to discover their varied career options by visiting job sites and consulting with Makor’s staff members. The program is designed to foster students’ professionalism and expand their opportunities, by offering vocational coaching, résumé building, and opportunities for growth.

Yeshiva University’s campus offers far more than a rich curriculum: it offers a community. Students often assume leadership positions, join daily minyanim, and participate in extracurricular clubs. Makor students often find themselves tapping into previously undiscovered passions, be they in the creative, academic, or social arenas. This year has proven to be a challenge in so many respects, but the Makor College Experience continues! Although, due to Covid-19, Yeshiva College is hoping to open its campus to undergraduate students after the yomim tovim, Makor (along with some semichah students) began their year on campus in September. With the proper precautions in place, students have already begun the new school year in earnest.

Makor College Experience students are motivated to learn independent skills, broaden their horizons, and gain career direction. They complete the program with a well-deserved sense of accomplishment, newfound skills, and the drive to succeed in the career of their choosing. They may have developmental and intellectual disabilities, but their diagnoses do not define their prognosis. With the combination of Makor’s support staff and Yeshiva University’s incredible infrastructure, Makor College Experience students are truly given the opportunity to thrive.

Makor Disability Services (previously known as Women’s League) is an organization committed to servicing those with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

For more information on the Makor College Experience, please contact Dr. Stephen Glicksman at Makor, at 347-390-1315 or sglicksman@makorDS.org.

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