Hi, ALEH! I just thought I would message you with thanks. I’m from Sydney, Australia, and I volunteered for ALEH two years ago when I was on a gap year program for 5 months in Jerusalem called Israel By Choice.
When I first started at ALEH, I experienced a whirlwind of emotions. At first, I was a bit apprehensive and questioned myself and my abilities. I knew that this experience would be challenging, but little did I realize that it would be the most rewarding experience of my life. When I first got to my class, I met the beautiful children – whose names I still remember: Shimon, Sarah, and Batya.
Within a few weeks into my volunteer experience, I formed an inexplicable bond with all of the children. They taught me the simple act of communication through love rather than voice. They taught me that happiness could be found through any aspect of life. It’s been two years since my time at ALEH, and I can honestly say that there isn’t a day that goes when I don’t think about it.
I think about my kids and how happy they are being in a place like ALEH, where disability isn’t seen as a difference. I feel lucky knowing that I had the opportunity to immerse myself in such a loving and happy environment. But most importantly, I’m thankful. My work at ALEH has allowed me to change career paths, from studying design to social work. It has inspired me to peruse a career with the ultimate goal of empowering those with disabilities and educating those who may not be so familiar with the term.
I would like to thank the whole ALEH family. Thank you for providing such a beautiful, happy place for the kids that are truly the light in this world. I hope to one day return to Israel and reunite with my class again.