Ask a Shlucha about the biggest sacrifice of Shlichus. Her answer may have nothing to do with shipping kosher food, missing family or paying two mortgages. If she is one of dozens, she and her husband are struggling to raise their child with special needs while serving their community—and often, one or the other suffers.
Unbearably high medical bills and unending calls for attention—familiar tests to any parent of a child with special needs—become drastically harder when paired with Shlichus activity.
Providing care and programming for a child with special needs can exceed $40,000 annually. This week, a group of yungeleit, Shluchim and businessmen unveiled Yaldei Shluchei HaRebbe and yaldeishlucheiharebbe.org so no parent has to choose between their children and their Shlichus.
A recent review suggests that over 125 families on Shlichus are caring for a child with special needs. According to Menachem Mendy Krinsky, chairman of Yaldei Shluchei HaRebbe, “Many Shluchim aren’t aware of the support options available to them. We have created a fund to help them financially, offer programming resources and share information that will help the Shluchim, their children and their communities continue to grow.”
When they sign up, each family is assigned a service coordinator to maintain regular contact and offer practical help. “It could take months for Shluchim to sort through the available government grants or to find local programs that can be enormously helpful to their child,” explains Krinsky. Yaldei Shluchei HaRebbe is researching the programs offered in each of the 50 United States and making the information available to Shluchim.
On the spiritual side of things, a sensitive decision often requires the skill and confidence of an expert rov. Yaldei Shluchei HaRebbe has a growing list of experienced rabbonim who have donated their time and knowledge to help. Many other services target sibling support, physical fitness equipment and homecare.
Yaldei Shluchei HaRebbe is a registered 501(c) non-profit and is an entirely free service that relies on private donations.
Find out more and add your support at www.yaldeishlucheiharebbe.org.