On Monday March 10, 2014, the National Jewish Council for Disabilities (Yachad) collaborated with the Orthodox Union Advocacy Center to lobby on behalf of the TEAM Act. Over 60 Yachad participants and their staff arrived in Washington late Sunday night to receive training from OU Advocacy staff on how to effectively lobby for the proposed legislation and then headed to Capitol Hill on Monday morning for a briefing by Jesse Hervitz, OU Advocacy Associate Director for Congressional Affairs, tours of the Capitol and meetings with legislative offices such as Representative Ted Cruz and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand.
The TEAM Act is a three-part series of legislation which attempts to bridge the gap that individuals with disabilities often face after aging out of young-adult programs. The trio of legislation would ensure that public funds related to transition are effectively used to support individuals with disabilities in finding meaningful employment, pursuing post-secondary education and contribute to the general community.
Says David Weintraub, Program Director for Senior Yachad; “The mission was a great educational opportunity to the participants – both individuals with and without disabilities – about advocating for causes that they truly believe in. In addition, being able to partner with OU Advocacy to inform and educate our representatives about pro-disability legislation – a human rights issue – was a true collaboration.” Sophie Felder, OU Advocacy Legislative Fellow commented; “It was such a privilege to work with Yachad on this important issue. The students were professional and prepared and were fantastic advocates on behalf of our community.”