JHP and Brooklyn’s Block Institute: Developmentally Disabled Students Learn Self-Expression Through Photography

The Block Institute, based in Brooklyn, New York, was founded in 1961 by Rabbi Block who decided to work with mentally challenged adults who had been denied the right to attend bar mitzvah classes. Since then, the Institute has established a health clinic as well as several programs for both adults and children. While receiving the care they deserve from the Block Institute, the Josephine Herrick Project (formerly Rehabilitation Through Photography) began a complementary program to help these people tap into their creativity through photography. By providing photo gear and professional photographers to teach classes, the Josephine Herrick Project helped to free the Block Institute attendees from the social stigma of “developmentally challenged” and discover their inner talent. These photography programs became a huge success in more ways than one: not only did the students learn to creatively express themselves, but it gave their therapists and teachers extraordinary insight into how their patients and students view the world around them. This moving short film provides a closer look at what the Josephine Herrick Project has done in conjunction with the Block Institute. We look forward to creating many more successful programs like this one at the Block Institute so we may better understand the world around us through the artistic vision of everyone!