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EXPERTISE WITH MEANING AT ALEH NEGEV
Three new volunteers arrived this week at the ALEH Negev – Nahalat Eran Rehabilitation Village. In sharp contrast to their friends who will be whiling away carefree days at the beach and pool, these impressive young Americans have chosen to spend 6 weeks of their summer vacation volunteering at ALEH Negev.
This is not their first visit to Israel. After proudly coming on Birthright and family trips to Israel, the 3 college students decided this time to do something different. They wanted a chance to have the Israel experience – “to live like Israelis,” as they expressed it – to devote themselves to meaningful work, assuming responsibility for something truly worthwhile.
With the assistance of the Jewish Agency, they registered for the Israel Experts project, a special program enabling college students to specialize in their field of study in Israel. In fact, it is the Israel Experts project which has forged the connection between ALEH Negev and many universities all across the United States.
ALEH Negev offers an ideal opportunity for specialization in the field of rehabilitation. Professionals from all over the world visit ALEH Negev to learn from the innovative techniques, multidisciplinary therapy programs, and caregiving approaches applied on a daily basis in work with Village residents and patients at the ALEH Negev Rehabilitative Outpatient Center. At the same time, Israeli students also find ALEH the perfect setting for specialization in a variety of therapies, rehabilitation and paramedical professions, and other specialty areas. Indeed, the exciting development of cutting-edge rehabilitation methods is taking place right at ALEH Negev, paving the way for the next generation.
Our 3 new volunteers are pursuing Occupational Therapy and Physical Therapy studies in American universities. Their volunteer work brings them 4 days a week to the various centers in the Village. They are accompanied by staff specialists who supervise their work and provide hands-on training in the unique rehabilitative techniques developed at ALEH Negev. The 3 feel that they have been given the chance of a lifetime. Not only is the program a boon to their professional expertise – and an impressive addition to their CV’s, at that – but the exposure to real-life situations and the act of giving to those in need have had a profound impact, spurring them on to greater heights.
“These are only my first few days here,” Emily says, “and I’ve already learned an incredible amount. Just the fact that I’ve been exposed to such a population is amazing. Since my arrival at ALEH, my motivation has soared. I know with certainty that I’ve chosen the right profession.”
“I’ve never been in such a special place,” Eitan tells us. “The staff is remarkable. Their work methods, the way they challenge the residents – a great deal of thought and purpose goes into everything they do. Here I’m beginning to see what real work and true, meaningful action is. I’ve never seen anything like it in my life.”
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