Seeing the Light: Blind Volunteers Lift the Spirit at ALEH Jerusalem
Jan 15, 2013
Volunteers at the four ALEH institutions number well into the hundreds. Each volunteer offers a unique blend of compassion and patience for the ALEH residents. But something extra happens each Wednesday afternoon when a special group of volunteers turns up to at ALEH Jerusalem. These are not ordinary volunteers. They are boys and girls with serious visual impairments whose very presence brings cheerfulness to the disabled children at ALEH.
“We also want to be able to give of ourselves,” explains Deena, one of the most dynamic girls in the group. “People don’t understand that every person, despite having the most severe handicap is capable of lending a hand and bestowing love.”
Giving and bestowing love. That is the mantra of this very exceptional group of volunteers. Together with the ALEH residents, these young men and women spend the afternoon singing, strumming on a variety of instruments and dancing in an atmosphere of friendship and acceptance.
The project development leader at the School for the Blind is responsible for the joint program. “The experiences with the ALEH children are beyond description,” she explains. The ALEH residents look forward to the visits of this warm and devoted group of volunteers and the close bond that develops between the blind volunteer and the ALEH resident benefits both parties. “They get along so well and have a common language,” describes Tamar, their teacher. “They understand deeply what a person with a disability is feeling and offer unconditional love. It’s a love that comes straight from the heart.”
Parting at the end of the day is always difficult. But Wednesdays roll around again very quickly and then the dear friends meet again for another round of good cheer.
“Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind.” (William Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night’s Dream )
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