Retreat Spotlight: Ohel Children’s Home and Family Services

Retreat Spotlight: Ohel Children’s Home and Family Services

Ohel Children’s Home and Family Services, a full-service agency supporting the social and emotional needs of Jewish families, brought together mothers of children with developmental disabilities for a three-day caregiver retreat at The Uplands this July. The women in attendance came from different backgrounds – from Chassidishe to Modern Orthodox – and are connected through their tireless love and care for their child or children with disabilities. For many, it was no small feat to take time away from family to attend this much-needed retreat. The women recounted afterwards how grateful they were that they did.

Mothers and Ohel staff spent their days connecting with one another, themselves, and nature. They enjoyed relaxing sound baths, nature walks, bonding games, a women’s circle, a bonfire, forest bathing, and creative arts facilitated by Uplands team members. Ohel staff hosted a session on Moving into Adulthood to teach mothers about services available once their children age into the adult system. The heart-opening transformation  of the women was palpable over the course of a short 48 hours.

As the retreat came to a close, Uplands staff offered tools for integrating and building upon their retreat experiences. From breathing techniques to journaling to at-home nature connection, the tools highlighted the ability to cultivate peace, even in small windows of time and space. Attendees expressed how  deeply meaningful and freeing it was to be in a non-judgmental environment where they were able to bond with each other without their usual all-consuming caregiving responsibilities. Mostly coming from city landscapes, many women shared that they felt more connected to nature than they ever had before, and looked forward to continuing to nurture relationships with their natural surroundings. The women left with a newfound commitment to create self-care pockets of rest, recuperation, and peace, empowering them to return to their caretaking roles with confidence.

Thank you, Ohel, for the crucial services you provide to your community, and for bringing mothers together for this impactful experience.

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