Judy Wolf grew up in a vibrant Jewish neighborhood in Boston during the 1940s where activism was woven into the fabric of daily life. With parents who were ardent Zionists, Judy remembers leading activists coming in and out of the house. "I never knew Jews who weren't committed activists. I just thought that was a part of being Jewish."
In 1991, working with the Jewish Community Relations Council and NCSJ, advocates on behalf of former Soviet Jewry, Judy joined the first Boston delegation to Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine to study the possibility of a sister city relationship. During subsequent visits, Judy and her daughter, Sue Wolf Fordham, noticed that Dnepropetrovsk was an unwelcome place for children with disabilities. Special needs children rarely left their homes and most were institutionalized. In collaboration with Bet Hana Teachers College and Jewish Families & Children's Service, Judy and Sue spearheaded the development of the Educational Resource Center, a center for families with children with disabilities.
Judy notes that it took the enormous compassion and commitment of Sue and many collaborators to build a place where children have access to adaptive toys and innovative curricula. Today the center includes both a library and a school with a handicapped accessible playground. The Educational Resource Center has not only changed the lives of many families in Dnepropetrovsk, it has served as a model for child-centered education throughout the Ukraine. Now many children are joining their peers in a center where a parent once said, "I never knew my child could learn".