Merav Levmore-Raziel is the Daycare Center Director at ALEH’s rehabilitative and residential center in Gedera. Merav describes what it’s like to care for the daily needs of ALEH’s residents with severe complex disabilities and highlights the dedication of ALEH’s exceptional staff.
Merav Levmore-Raziel never thought that she would work with the special needs population.
“Not many people know that I actually have a degree in archeology,” says Merav with a smile in her voice. “I used to work as a tour guide, showing people around the Land of Israel. But after volunteering with the disability community for eight years, I realized that this work is so much more meaningful, and I switched tracks. Working at ALEH impacts so many people in a positive way. It’s where I can make a real change. So, it just made sense for me to join the ALEH family.”
Merav explains that there are over 100 residents who live at ALEH’s rehabilitative and residential center in Gedera, ranging from 10 to 40 years of age. Some of the residents have lived there for more than twenty years.
“At the center, we organize activities based upon the residents’ level of ability, rather than their ages. One of the favorite activities is our ceramics workshop, complete with a professional firing kiln. The residents love it. What is so special about it is that it’s all their work. We adapt the tools so they can do everything on their own. No matter how long it takes them, we make sure they complete it on their own. Each resident makes the pieces at his or her own their level.”
“The best part is that their work is then sold via the ALEH Boutique to people all over the world. People love to buy the items created by the ALEH residents because they know that the proceeds go right back into this incredible vocational program. And the residents are so proud of their work. It’s something they can excel in, and they feel so accomplished. It also helps them develop crucial motor skills, and we’ve seen the workshop foster real growth over time.”
Merav says that she feels so fortunate to be part of the ALEH family and is consistently impressed with the level of dedication shown by every single staff member. “The residents are divided into three groups, and each group has a counselor, a dedicated educator, and three caretakers as their core team. They come up with so many varied, creative activities and provide 24-hour care and supervision to make sure the residents are safe and have every opportunity to develop and grow. They are so caring and devoted. It’s an amazing thing to see.”
Merav describes her job as very intense and extremely meaningful. “There’s never a dull moment, never a boring day. We have to make sure that the kids are making progress, and the work we do on a daily basis is extremely challenging, physically and mentally. But the families of the residents are so appreciative, and we know that we are working for them. There are so many parents who thank us over and over, straight from the heart. They tell us that they couldn’t survive without ALEH. When we hear that, it gives us energy to keep working.”
“It’s so rewarding to see the kids improve. We treasure every milestone. When we see the difference that our work and efforts have made, it makes it all worthwhile.”
Merav emphasizes that there is really no place else quite like ALEH. “One of the many things that is so unique about ALEH is how the staff genuinely cares about each and every individual in their care, and we go above and beyond to provide the best therapies and equipment, no matter the cost. ALEH is determined to help each child succeed – our end goal is their greatest potentials.”