Sue Wolf Fordham can't remember a time she wasn't passionate about social justice. Born in Boston in 1958 to a mother active in international Jewish affairs and a father who spent World War II looking for refuge throughout Europe, Sue felt passionate about issues of justice from a young age. "I always thought if you weren't active in the Jewish community in some way, your parents would find you and make you become active." But no one had to force Sue to work tirelessly on behalf of people with disabilities. After graduating from Smith College, Sue worked on disability issues both as a paralegal and at Boston University Law School. It wasn't until much later when her daughter was born with multiple disabilities that her work took on a more personal meaning.
With the help of the Jewish Family & Children's Service and the community in Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine, Sue and her mother, Judy Wolf, have seen their dream of a school for children with disabilities come to fruition. The Special Needs Initiative in Dnepropetrovsk provides resources for families and teachers, while it seeks to engage young people in a variety of educational and therapeutic activities.
Thrilled with the success of The Special Needs Initiative, Sue decided to tackle issues of disability and inclusion at home. In 2000 Yesodot, a program of Jewish Vocational Service, was born. Once feeling isolated in her own community, Sue has helped families that have children with disabilities find resources and support throughout the greater Boston area.