Global Health & Giving Back

My name is Mikayla, I’m a premed undergraduate student from New York. As part of my university’s Global Health program, I was required to spend two months abroad helping an underprivileged  community. I chose ALEH because I love Israel, and the work seemed relevant to what I was studying. I thought it would be a fun learning experience that could possibly boost my resume in the future.

I was not prepared for the impact ALEH would have on me.

Learning about the challenges faced by people like the residents of ALEH tells you nothing about who these people are. They struggle but they also learn, grow, and have fun. Disability is always part of the residents’ lives, but it is only one part. ALEH taught me about this part while also introducing me to the rest it all, to the good and the bad and the ever-changing parts of the residents’ lives.

I was not prepared for the impact ALEH would have on me.

I saw more than “underprivileged” patients and weary caretakers. I bonded with residents and volunteers and staff members alike, and saw the give-and-take between them. This is the true beauty of ALEH: it is not simply an assisted living facility but a community, where people of all types can have the opportunity to learn, grow, and have fun.

ALEH changed my view of healthcare, set a precedent for what I expect from any patient interactions I have going forward. I am not bestowing help on an “underprivileged” invalid.

I am giving back to my community.

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