By Yael Greene, NFTY Missouri Valley
“There’s always gonna be another mountain. I’m always gonna wanna make it move. Always gonna be an uphill battle, sometimes I’m gonna have to lose. Ain’t about how fast I get there, ain’t about what’s waiting on the other side, it’s the climb.” ~ Miley Cyrus. “The Climb” was a song I sang during Karaoke session for free time, but it is also the theme song to my story I shall tell you.
When I was three years old, I was diagnosed with High Functioning Autism, and my parents told me about it when I was eight years old. It became the quality I can’t live without. I embraced it, but it came with some issues that I wasn’t a fan of, social issues especially. Bullying came my way when I was a second-grader, and it lasted until the sixth-grade. It wasn’t until my rising seventh-grade summer, at URJ Camp Coleman, that I felt completely safe and happy. And in my heart and mind, that’s when my NFTY journey began.
I, Yael Greene, am new to NFTY Missouri Valley, and I already knew back in my former home of Georgia, that I’d be happy with you all, since I met many of you all at NFTY Convention (which was in my old region, NFTY SAR), and LTI in Kansas City. I recently went to Western Fall Chavurah at Shwayder, and I loved the whole weekend, but one program stood out for me.
The program about disabilities and being inviting to someone who may have one made me reflect on my past and current struggles with Autism. I used to hear the facts I heard during the event only in my house with my mom and dad, and never with people outside my family. I admit it, I was nervous going into it, because I am very sensitive when it comes to how the facts are presented. When my group, along with the group leaders I had, talked about the activities we did and learned about, I felt as if I was on Cloud Nine. I never thought MV would actually talk about it, even though people all over NFTY want to, or they talk briefly about the subject. The facts were presented great, and the acceptance from others made me feel extremely comforted. It was so amazing, I had to share my story when all of Western MVites came together to discuss the entire event. And all the love I got afterwards was overwhelmingly kind, and that was when I knew for sure that NFTY MV is a region I’m proud to come into. I didn’t feel just included, I felt invited, which is supposed to happen. Inclusivity should lead to an invitation of friendship, and that’s what I got, not just that program, but the whole weekend, and at LTI and NFTY Convention.
I’ll end this writing with one piece of advice from “The Climb” again, and before I do, I want to thank you MV for taking this chance to talk about an issue I have always wanted to talk about with NFTY, and for the friends who have come up to me and gave so much love, especially my sister, Leora Greene, for never giving up on me, and being my first best friend.
“Keep on movin’, keep climbin’. Keep the faith baby. It’s all about, it’s all about the climb. Keep the faith. Keep your faith.”