Dov Levy Prize: Meet Jenine Shwekey and Chaya Bender

“We discovered that a special child can soar beyond challenges and beyond expectations with the help of a loving hand."

 Jenine Shwekey and Chaya Bender (photo credit: Courtesy of Jenine Shwekey and Chaya Bender / Provided by Seeach Sod)
Jenine Shwekey and Chaya Bender
(photo credit: Courtesy of Jenine Shwekey and Chaya Bender / Provided by Seeach Sod)

Jenine Shwekey and Chaya Bender are the founders and directors of The Special Children’s Center in New Jersey, a state-of-the-art center that services over 350 children with disabilities from the surrounding area. They have also opened centers in Brooklyn and the Five Towns.

Close friends, Shwekey and Bender began volunteering at a special needs facility after school, feeding the children and getting them ready for bed.

“We discovered that a special child can soar beyond challenges and beyond expectations with the help of a loving hand," they said.

Help Jenine Shwekey and Chaya Bender win the Dov Levy Prize and be entered for a chance to win a free ticket to Israel. Learn more.

(Credit: Provided by Seeach Sod)(Credit: Provided by Seeach Sod)

They hold the hands of families from the moment their special child arrives.

“Their pain is our pain; their triumph is our triumph. We share the milestones, the hardships, the struggles, the love and never-ending giving. Their children are our children. Our families, for life. And we are better for it," Shweky and Bender added.

The Center provides round-the-clock respite services every day of the year. Special education staff run therapeutic programs, and over 300 young volunteers come to the Center to give their time, love and their helping hands, helping ease the burden and giving life.

Help Jenine Shwekey and Chaya Bender win the Dov Levy Prize and be entered for a chance to win a free ticket to Israel. Learn more.

“There is a need. We must not say no," they said. "Our community has grown and special needs have grown. We put our hearts and souls into what we do.We believe in miracles.”

About The Dov Levy Prize

Fifty years ago, when Jewish children and adults with disabilities in Israel were either hidden away or left to the care of nuns in Christian facilities, Rabbi Dov Levy fought to provide them with a Jewish education, hand in hand with the most advanced treatments. 

To this day, his Seeach Sod special education network is breaking ground on behalf of individuals with disabilities while fostering awareness and acceptance within society at large.

Throughout the Jewish world, great strides have been made for people with disabilities but there is still a long way to go.

Vote for the people that are truly paving the way for people with disabilities>>

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This article is written in cooperation with Seeach Sod.