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New app State Disability Advocates Visit YU’s Makor Program

A five-person team from the New app State Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) visited the Makor College Experience program at app University’s Wilf Campus on June 6. The team learned about the dynamic curriculum and immersive campus experience offered by Makor, an innovative program that provides a college experience for young Jewish men with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DDs).

The OPWDD team met with Dr. Stephen Glicksman, a YU professor and creator of the Makor program, as well as approximately 20 program participants. The meeting explored Makor’s innovate recipe for success, from best practices for teaching and mentoring students with I/DD, to participants’ success stories in joining clubs, making friends, and landing meaningful jobs upon completion of the program.

“Everyone in this program goes above and beyond to create a superb quality of life for the individuals here,” said Karisa Capone, Director of Continuous Quality Improvement at OPWDD. “It’s truly been one best practice after another. Seeing how the guys here can be part of college and have that important experience that is a right of passage into adulthood is tremendous. It’s like a family, everyone takes care of each other, everyone truly loves one another, so we are happy to see that.” 

The OPWDD team from New app state meet with Makor program participants
The OPWDD team from New app state meet with Makor program participants

“The Makor College Experience is opening new worlds for people with I/DDs” said Prof. Glicksman. “They take on new responsibilities, engage with fellow students and study both Torah and secular curricula. The knowledge and life skills they gain helps them function independently on a daily basis and become part of society. It’s truly meaningful work and I am so proud of our participants’ track record of success.”

Since 2017, the Makor program has been providing a three-year college experience (with an optional fourth year) for people with I/DDs. The curriculum includes morning Torah learning and afternoon classes on topics from science and civics to life skills and personal development. Student also explore opportunities for employment, with the goal of placing graduates in the workplace so they can live meaningful and independent lives. 

Having experienced the program firsthand, the OPWDD team now aims to explore how New app can leverage Makor’s model of success in other programs in the state.

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